ICC World Cup: Biggest Upsets in the ODI World Cup

The Men’s ODI World Cup has seen some of the biggest upsets since its inception and continues to do so in the 2023 edition as well. Interestingly there have been upsets in every edition of the World Cup barring the 2019 World Cup which did not have any associate nation as a participant. It all started in 1979 when Sri Lanka which was an associate nation back then beat India. 

If we talk about the 1983 edition it had a few major upsets and the one which straightaway comes to mind is that of eventual champions India beating mighty West Indies twice. But the upset that is not talked about much is Zimbabwe beating Australia in the same edition. In this article, we will look at the Top 5 biggest upsets in the Men’s ODI World Cup

West Indies vs Kenya 1996 World Cup

It is considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the World Cup. Kenya came into the 1996 World Cup with no expectations and was not given the slightest chance of winning against a strong West Indies side which had some big names repressing them in the multi-nation tournament hosted jointly by India and Pakistan. The Kenyan team batted on expected lines as they failed to play their full quota of fifty overs and were bowled out for 166 with 37 extras contributing the majority of runs.

But that drama that unfolded in the second innings of the match was something nobody would have dreamt of as the West Indies were bowled out for 93 runs giving Kenya a memorable win. 

West Indies Richie Richardson said after the match"I'm the captain, but the players are also responsible, the whole set-up is responsible ... we're in a very, very deep hole and we're almost at the bottom"

"Our only hope of winning was to get Lara early," recalled Hanumant Singh, the former India Test player who coached Kenya. "And you could say he contributed to that end."

Pakistan vs Bangladesh 1999 World Cup

Bangladesh has a history of beating big teams in multinational tournaments. It all started when they beat Pakistan in their first World Cup. Batting first the Bangla tigers posted a competitive total of 223-9 in conditions which were helping the Pakistani bowlers. In reply, Pakistan lost early wickets and was reduced to 42 -5 and was in desperate need of a partnership. But to the credit of the Bangladeshi bowlers they did not let the batters settle and kept on picking wickets which helped them register their first win in the World Cup. For Pakistan, it was a wake-up call as they went on to reach the final of the tournament. 

“In a cricketing sense, Bangladesh won fair and square. They played better cricket than us on that day. If I can remember correctly we won the toss and elected to bowl first. The idea for us was to practice chasing the game. we were winning matches batting first most of the time,” 

- Wasim Raja

India vs Bangladesh 2007 World Cup

Bangladesh’s second moment in the sun at the ICC Cricket World Cup came in the West Indies in the 2007 World Cup when they beat a strong-looking Indian team which almost knocked them out of the tournament in the first match itself. Choosing to bowl first India lost early wickets and were five down for 157 which eventually led to a lower-order collapse as the Men in Blue were bowled out for 191. The score wasn’t big enough to challenge Bangladesh as they completed the chase with five wickets in hand. Rahul Dravid who was the Indian captain in that match said that he forgot that he was a cricketer after that heartbreaking loss. In the words of Dravid, “It's a long time since I was a player. I almost forgot that I was actually a cricket player at one stage to be very honest with you.”  

South Africa vs Bangladesh 2007 World Cup

The 2007 World Cup was a memorable tournament for Bangladesh as they reached the Super 8 stage of the tournament for the first time and also rolled over a strong South African side that had the likes of Graeme Smith Herschelle Gibbs Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers. Bangladesh posted a challenging total of 251 runs on the board and bowled South Africa for 161.

England vs Ireland 2011 World Cup

This match is the perfect example of an “explosive” ODI. England, who were far from embracing the ethos of white-ball cricket the way they have since the 2015 World Cup, for once put up a bit of a big-hitting display and smashed 327/8. Ireland was yet to become full members and it looked like a cakewalk for England, especially when James Anderson dismissed captain William Porterfield off the first ball of the chase. Ireland had a couple of good partnerships for the second and third wickets but were eventually reduced to 111/5 in the 25th over. From this point though everything changed largely thanks to Kevin O'Brien, who put on a display of power-hitting that had rarely been seen in ODI cricket before. 

He eventually scored a century in 50 balls, the fastest in the history of the tournament. That record stood until Aiden Markram broke it this year. O'Brien eventually ended unbeaten on 113 off 63 balls and Ireland, incredibly, ended up with a score of 329/7, beating England by 3 wickets with five balls to spare.

Image Credit: ESPNCricinfo 

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