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10 Greatest Upsets in Cricket World Cups (ODI & T20I)

The ODI World Cup and T20 World Cup are the biggest stages in the international cricketing circuit. All the qualifying teams battle it out against each other to chase absolute glory and become the world champions.

In this thrilling race, we have often witnessed teams register remarkable victories over other opponents. Sometimes, we have even seen underdog teams thrash heavyweights, leaving everyone gobsmacked.

This article will take you through the 10 greatest upsets recorded across the ODI and T20 World Cups.

India beat West Indies | 1983 ODI WC

No one in their wildest dreams would have thought about India reaching the final before the 1983 Cricket World Cup kicked off. But here they were up against the defending champions, the West Indies, in the summit clash.

Put in to bat first, India managed to score a below-par total of 183. It looked like the Windies would gun down the target and clinch the trophy for the third time in a row.

But Indian bowlers put on a collective effort, bundling out the mighty Windies for 140 runs. The 43-run victory in the final stunned the whole world as India lifted their maiden ODI World Cup.

Kenya beat West Indies | 1996 ODI WC

The West Indies were yet again on the receiving end, this time against the African outfit, Kenya. Playing in the group stage match of the 1996 Cricket World Cup, a bunch of amateur Kenyan cricketers challenged the 2-time world champions.

After being asked to bat first, Kenya were wrapped up for a paltry 166 runs. The pace-spin duo of Courtney Walsh and Roger Harper starred with the ball for the Windies, picking up 3 wickets each.

In response, the Caribbean side couldn’t get the desired start and were reduced to 22 for 2. They were banking on Brian Lara, but once he was out on 33, the Windies batting lineup fell like a pack of cards.

The Kenyan bowlers bowled out the Windies for 93 runs and pulled off a stunning upset by 73 runs.

Ireland beat England | 2011 ODI WC

The 2011 Cricket World Cup witnessed one of the greatest upsets in cricket history. Ireland left their neighbour England shocked by chasing down a huge total.

Batting first, England posted 327 runs on the board, riding on the back of good performances from the top order. While chasing the target, Ireland lost their captain, William Porterfield, on the very first ball.

Then Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, and Niall O’Brien stabilised the chase with crucial cameos. But they lost a bunch of wickets in quick succession, leaving them at 111 for 5.

Then Kevin O’Brien stood up and hammered a 50-ball hundred, taking the Irish side closer to victory. Alex Cusack (47 off 58) and John Mooney (33 off 30) provided the finishing touches to take Ireland home by 3 wickets.

USA beat Pakistan | 2024 T20 WC

Playing in their first-ever T20 World Cup, the USA handed an appalling defeat to 2009 World T20 champions Pakistan. After being invited to bat first, Pakistan posted a decent total of 159 runs on the board.

In response, the USA were almost on track in the chase, but the match went down to the wire. With 5 runs needed off the last ball, they scampered a four, ending the match in a thrilling tie.

That meant the winner would be decided based on the Super Over. The USA held their nerves, outclassing Pakistan in the one-over eliminator.

Zimbabwe beat Australia | 2007 T20 WC

Australia were red-hot favourites to dominate the inaugural T20 World Cup, but they were stunned by Zimbabwe in their first match.

After electing to bat first, Australia’s star-studded batting lineup bowed down in front of Zimbabwe’s bowling attack. They could muster 138 runs in 20 overs.

In reply, Zimbabwe’s batters stitched a few crucial partnerships, which kept them afloat in the match. Brendan Taylor (60* off 45) steered his team to a memorable win under pressure, scoring the winning runs with a ball to spare.

Bangladesh beat India | 2007 ODI WC

The 2007 ODI World Cup was full of upsets, and Bangladesh pulled one of those against their neighbour, India.

India decided to bat first, but the decision didn’t go well. They were rocked by Bangladesh early on, leaving them at 40 for 3. Sourav Ganguly (66 off 129) and Yuvraj Singh (47 off 58) tried to pull up the team, but India was bundled out for 191 runs.

In response, Tamim Iqbal (51 off 53), Mushfiqur Rahim (56 off 107), and Shakib Al Hasan (53 off 86) powered Bangladesh to a remarkable victory, completing the chase with 5 wickets and 9 balls to spare.

Afghanistan beat England | 2023 ODI WC

Before the contest between Afghanistan and England, the former had endured 2 losses, while the latter had registered 2 crushing wins. So the odds were with England going into the match.

Put in to bat first, Afghanistan got off to a flying start, with openers putting up a 114-run partnership. They lost a few wickets in quick succession, but small, crucial partnerships between wickets helped them reach 284 runs.

While pursuing the target, England kept losing wickets at regular intervals and never looked in the chase. Afghanistan’s spin trio of Rashid Khan (3/37), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (3/51), and Mohammad Nabi (2/16) strangled the English batters and bowled them out for 215, registering a significant victory over England.

Netherlands beat England | 2009 T20 WC

By now, you must have seen England have endured a fair number of upsets in ICC events. And their record against their European counterparts is even more disappointing

England were taking on the Netherlands in the 2009 T20 World Cup opener at a packed Lord’s Cricket Ground. Batting first, England’s openers provided them with a thumping start, scoring 102 for the first wicket. But other batters couldn’t carry the momentum and ended up with a decent total of 162 runs.

In pursuit of the target, the Netherlands had a tumultuous start, but Tom de Grooth (49 off 30) rose like a hero. Peter Borren (30 off 25) and Ryan ten Doeschate (22* off 17) ably supported him from the other end.

The match went into the last over, with the Dutch team needing 7 to win. They managed 5 singles on 5 balls, and the equation came down to 2 required off 1.

Edgar Schiferli hit the ball towards Stuart Broad and took off for a single. Broad tried to hit the stumps, but he completely missed it, and Dutch batters took another run to pull off a brilliant upset.

Hong Kong beat Bangladesh | 2014 T20 WC

Hosts Bangladesh had booked their spot for the next round of the 2014 T20 World Cup, while Hong Kong were looking to end their campaign with a win.

Put in to bat first, Bangladesh faced early jolts as they lost 2 wickets in the first over. They recovered well at the halfway mark, scoring 85 for 4. But Hong Kong made a rocking comeback and bundled out Bangladesh for 108 runs.

In response, Hong Kong also kept losing wickets regularly, but Irfan Ahmed (34 off 28) and Munir Dar (36 off 27) brought them back into the game. With 6 needed off 6 balls, Hong Kong batters collected 5 runs in the first 3 balls and finished the proceedings in style by smashing a six.

Namibia beat Sri Lanka | 2022 T20 WC

The opening match of the 2022 T20 World Cup witnessed an exceptional performance from Namibia to hand Sri Lanka an atrocious loss.

Batting first, Namibia had a rough start, but their middle and lower-order batters put up excellent cameos, powering their team to 163 runs.

Namibia’s bowlers took some inspiration from their batters and delivered a collective bowling effort. The Namibian bowlers had the upper hand over Sri Lanka from the start and didn’t let loose, bowling them out for 108 runs.

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