The ICC Cricket World Cup has been the stage for some of the most thrilling and unexpected moments in the history of the sport. The ICC World Cup, cricket’s premier event, has seen its fair share of stunning upsets.
These moments, where underdogs triumph over favourites, are etched in the annals of cricket history. From India’s shocking loss to Zimbabwe in 1983, Kenya’s surprise win over the West Indies in 1996, to Ireland’s memorable victory against England in 2011, these upsets remind us that in cricket, as in life, unpredictability reigns supreme.
These underdog successes add a thrilling dimension to the tournament, proving that cricket is a sport where rankings and reputations can often be rendered irrelevant, making each World Cup a celebration of the sport’s enduring unpredictability.
Here is a list of 4 such historical upsets that were witnessed in ICC World Cups.
India vs West Indies 1983 World Cup Final
The 1983 ICC Cricket World Cup final between India and the West Indies remains one of the most iconic upsets in cricket history. The West Indies, the reigning champions and cricket giants, were expected to breeze through. However, Kapil Dev’s unforgettable knock of 175 and a brilliant Indian performance turned the tables.
India posted 183 runs, and their bowlers defended it brilliantly, dismissing the formidable West Indies for just 140. This historic victory not only marked India’s first World Cup win but also cemented its status as a cricketing powerhouse. The 1983 final is a testament to cricket’s ability to produce thrilling upsets.
India vs Zimbabwe 1999 World Cup
India, a cricketing giant, was the favourite, while Zimbabwe was considered the underdog. However, on May 19, 1999, in Leicester, Zimbabwe defied all odds. Led by Alistair Campbell. As Zimbabwe came to bat first, Andy Flower and Grant Flower played a crucial role and helped their team to reach the 252-run mark.
However, it was the bowling duo Henry Olanga and Heath Streak, who picked up a total of 6 wickets stopping the Indian side at 249 and scoring a win in the match.
Ireland v England 2011 World Cup
The 2011 Cricket World Cup match between Ireland and England was one of the biggest upsets in the tournament’s history. At the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, Ireland chased down England’s imposing total of 327/8 to win by three wickets. England got off to a flying start, with Kevin Pietersen scoring a quickfire 59 off just 50 balls.
Jonathan Trott also made a valuable contribution, scoring 92 runs. However, Ireland’s bowlers managed to take wickets at regular intervals to restrict England to a total that was below par. Ireland’s run chase got off to a poor start, as they lost their captain William Porterfield to the first ball of the innings.
However, Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce steadied the ship with a partnership of 64 runs. After Joyce was dismissed, Kevin O’Brien came to the crease and played one of the most electrifying innings in World Cup history by scoring 113 runs in just 50 balls. It was a memorable inning and a historical win for Ireland.
South Africa v Netherlands 2023 World Cup
A recent addition to the list is the fixture between the Netherlands and South Africa that took place at HPCA Stadium. Batting first, the Netherlands had a poor start with four of their top-order batters losing their wicket at a score of 34 runs.
It was skipper Scott Edwards who came to the rescue and scored 78 off 69 balls gave a push to the overall score and took it to 245. It was a shock to see Proteas batters unable to play the Netherlands bowling attack and unable to build partnerships. South Africa was stopped at 207 and the Netherlands scored a comfortable win.