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{January 29, 2011}   Top Ten upsets of World Cup History

10. Ireland beat Pakistan, 2007

This would rank very high in the list of greatest upsets in World Cup history:

The shock result meant that Pakistan, winners in 1992 and runners-up in 1999, were out of the tournament at the preliminary stage – an early exit no one would have bargained for especially as two of the four teams in the group were Ireland and Zimbabwe.

West Indies had defeated Pakistan and Ireland had tied with Zimbabwe in the earlier matches and a Pakistan win over Ireland was taken for granted. And yet Ireland’s part time cricketers won by three wickets on the Duckworth/Lewis method to make sure of a place in the Super Eight.

Put in to bat, Pakistan put up a shoddy show and were bowled out for 132 in the 46th over. That Kamran Akmal’s 27 was the top score underlines the irresponsible batting.

WB Rankin was the most successful bowler with three for 32 but Andre Botha was more impressive with two for five from eight overs, four of which were maidens.

Mohammed Sammi kept Pakistan in the game with some quick wickets but wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien stood firm and defied the varied Pakistan attack for a vital 72.

Light rain which slightly revised the target as 128 from 47 overs was not a dampener for Ireland who were home with three wickets and 5.2 overs to spare.

 

 

9. Kenya beat Zimbabwe, 2003

For a non-Test playing nation figuring in the Super Six was a bonus but Kenya went one better and qualified for the semifinals. This surprise victory over Zimbabwe clinched them a place in the last four and it was their third win over Test teams in the tournament.

They had earlier got the better of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. But this win was probably the sweetest. As captain Steve Tikolo enthused ”today is the biggest day in every Kenyan’s life”. The Kenyan safari had gone from strength to strength and this was their most convincing win.

Opting to bat, Zimbabwe were shot out for 133 in the 45th over. Medium pacer Martin Suji caused the early damage while leg spinner Obuya took care of the middle order – each finishing with three wickets.

Andy Flower played a lone hand with a patient 63 while Douglas Marillier scored 21 at No 9. With history beckoning Kenya they stuttered losing three wickets for 62.

But Thomas Odoyo (43) and Maurice Odumbe (38) had enough skill and experience and figured in an unbroken fourth-wicket partnership of 73 runs to seal Kenya’s unexpected place in the semifinals.

 

 

8. Kenya beat Bangladesh, 2003

On the basis of their one-day record, Kenyans have often felt that they deserved to be elevated to Test status ahead of Bangladesh and this result only succeeded in augmenting that feeling.

Kenya had performed well thus far: their victory over Sri Lanka confirming their above par showing. But few thought they were capable of toppling a second Test team within five days. Consistent scores down the order saw Kenya opting to bat to finish with 217 for seven in 50 overs. Maurice Odumbe top scored with a timely unbeaten 52 off 46 balls.

Bangladesh stayed in the hunt thanks to Tushar Imran (48) and Akram Khan (44) and at 151 for five with 12 overs remaining, victory was within their grasp. But Odumbe returned to haunt them this time with the ball.

He took four for 38 to cause a sharp late-order collapse and Bangladesh were bowled out for 185 in the 48th over with skipper Steve Tikolo chipping in with three for 14 from 5.2 overs.

With this Bangladesh lost all of their last 30 completed ODIs while Kenya’s qualification for the Super Six was confirmed. Incidentally Kenya recorded their sixth victory in seven games against Bangladesh.

 

 

7. Kenya beat Sri Lanka, 2003

Winning their first three matches comfortably, Sri Lanka set the pace in group B. Kenya on the other hand had gone down tamely by ten wickets to South Africa and had only beaten lowly Canada by four wickets.

They were given little chance against a supremely confident Lankan side and yet at the end of it all it was the Kenyans who had emerged winners by 53 runs.

Put in to bat, Kenya managed 210 for nine in 50 overs. Opening batsman and wicket keeper K.O. Otieno top scored with a bright 60 and there were some valuable contributions down the order.

But most of the batsman found it difficult to negotiate Muthiah Muralitharan who finished with four for 28. However, it hardly seemed the kind of total which would bother the batting might of the Lankans.

At 71 for two, they did seem to be on course. But leg spinner Collins Obuya triggered a middle order collapse and only Aravinda de Silva offered some resistance while top scoring with 41.

Left-hander Russel Arnold chipped in with an unbeaten 25 late in the order but it was too little too late and Sri Lanka were bowled out for 157 in 45 overs.

Obuya finished with five for 24 and the man of the match award. This result more than anything else saw Kenya join Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the Super Six from the group.

 

 

6. Canada beat Bangladesh, 2003

Nearly four years after upsetting the World Cup formbook when they surprised Pakistan, Bangladesh were themselves humbled by an associate member.

Canada were playing their first full international since 1979 and contained players born in eight different countries. Opting to bat, Canada were off to a decent start and were at one stage 70 for two.

Ian Billcliff top scored with 42 but thereafter there was a steady decline and Canada were bowled out for 180 in the last over.

Such a total should not have presented problems for Bangladesh, by now elevated to Test status but they started none too confidently. Still at 106 for four in the 21st over, they were on course but then they collapsed inexplicably losing their last six wickets for 14 off 44 balls amid a flurry of panicky strokes.

Canada’s hero was Austin Codrington, a 27-year-old apprentice plumber from Jamaica. He unplugged the Bangladesh batting with his wobbly medium pacers finishing with five for 27 – the third best figures by a player making his ODI debut.

The defeat ensured that Bangladesh would finish at the bottom of the table in the group.

 

 

5. Zimbabwe beat South Africa, 1999

If Pakistan were the ‘hot’ team in one group South Africa looked similarly unbeaten in the other group. They registered comfortable victories over India, England, Sri Lanka and Kenya to make sure of a place in the Super Six and along with Pakistan had emerged as one of the favourites for the title.

There remained one more group match against Zimbabwe who had started off well with victories over India and Kenya. But then they had faltered going down to Sri Lanka and England.

Moreover Zimbabwe had never defeated South Africa at any level and the odds were firmly stacked against them. Opting to bat they got off to a good start with openers Neil Johnson (76) and Grant Flower (19) putting on 65 runs in 14 overs.

Valuable contributions down the order saw Zimbabwe finish with 233 for six in 50 overs but few would have thought that the target would trouble an inform South African team.

However, Johnson and Heath Streak struck quick blows finishing with three wickets each and before one was aware of it South Africa were 40 for six.

Daryl Cullinan (29) and Shaun Pollock (52) shared a seventh-wicket partnership of 66 runs and Lance Klusener hit out boldly for a bright unbeaten 52 at No 9.

But the initial damage was too heavy to make up and South Africa were bowled out for 185 in the 48th over.

Zimbabwe joined South Africa and India in the Super Six.

 

 

4. Bangladesh beat Pakistan, 1999

As the group matches unfolded Pakistan were perhaps the ‘hottest’ team in the competition. They scored successive victories over West Indies, Australia, Scotland and New Zealand; had already made sure of a place in the Super Six from group B and were installed as one of the favourites for the title. There remained the formality of a match against Bangladesh.

Making their debut in the competition, Bangladesh had gone down tamely to Australia, New Zealand and West Indies and had only an unremarkable 22-run victory over fellow debutants Scotland on the plus side.

Moreover, Bangladesh had never defeated a Test side.

Put in to bat they performed commendably to run up a reasonable total of 223 for nine in 50 overs. Akram Khan was the top scorer with 42 while opener Shahriar Hoosain got 39. Forty extras including 28 wides also helped in boosting the total.

In form Pakistan batsmen should normally have reached their target quite comfortably but they were rocked by Khaled Mahmud who removed Shahid Afridi, Salim Malik and Inzamam in a trice.

The run out of Saeed Anwar did not help matters and at 42 for five, Pakistan required a miracle. The late order fought hard with Azhar Mahmood and skipper Wasim Akram – both of whom got 29 adding 55 runs for the sixth-wicket and Moin Khan and Saqlain Mushtaq not succumbing easily.

But the shocking start was always going to make the final target insurmountable and Pakistan folded up for 161 in the 45th over leaving Bangladesh to celebrate their ”greatest day in cricket history.”

 

 

3. Kenya beat West Indies, 1996

An enthusiastic bunch of cricketers from Kenya came over to the sub continent to play in the World Cup for the first time but their performance initially did not match their keenness.

They went down to India, Australia and Zimbabwe and with group matches against West Indies and Sri Lanka still to come, it was taken for granted that they would return winless.

And when they were all out for 166 in 49.3 overs after being put in to bat, a victory for West Indies seemed only a matter of time. Steve Tikolo top scored with 29 while Hitesh Modi and Thomas Odoyo chipped in with 26 and 24 respectively. Courtney Walsh and Roger Harper took three wickets each.

What happened over the next couple of hours was quite incredible as the West Indians collapsed in a heap. Rajab Ali took the wickets of skipper Richie Richardson and Brian Lara while Maurice Odombe removed Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jimmy Adams.

Keen fielding saw Keith Arthurton and Curtley Ambrose run out and the tail did not offer resistance. Only two batsmen Chanderpaul (19) and Harper (17) reached double digits as West Indies were shot out for 93 in 35.2 overs, leaving the jubilant Kenyans victors by 73 runs and with the right to compete with the major teams.

 

 

2. Zimbabwe beat England, 1992

Since their shock win over Australia in 1983, Zimbabwe had done nothing of note in the World Cup. They had lost the remaining five matches and then four years later in the sub continent, they lost all their six group games.

In 1992 in Australia and New Zealand their stock fell further and they lost their first seven matches. Their last group game was against England who had already qualified for the semifinals and the match seemed to be a mere formality.

This feeling gathered momentum when Zimbabwe were dismissed for 134 in 46.1 overs with Dave Houghton top scoring with 29 and Ian Butchart chipping in with 24.

Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth took three wickets each and the match seemed set for an early finish. It ended early all right but not in the manner almost everyone predicted.

Eddo Brandes brought Zimbabwe right back in the game with an opening spell of four for 16 as England slumped to 43 for five. Neil Fairbrother (20) and Alec Stewart (29) gave England a ray of hope by adding 52 runs for the sixth wicket but once this stand was broken, the tail offered little resistance and England sensationally were shot out for 125 in 49.1 overs to leave Zimbabwe shock winners by nine runs.

Brandes finished with four for 21 and played the starring role in shaping the biggest upset of the fifth World Cup.

 

 

1. Zimbabwe beat Australia, 1983

Not unexpectedly the bookies gave odds of 1000 to one on Zimbabwe winning the World Cup. After all they were making their debut and as the only non-Test playing nation among eight participating teams, it would have been great for them to even extend the teams in their group – reigning champions West Indies, Australia and India.

And yet by the end of the opening day of the World Cup the bookies were quivering with fear for Zimbabwe in the biggest shock in the competition’s short history – Zimbabwe beating Australia by 13 runs.

Put in to bat, Zimbabwe were off to a bad start losing five wickets for 94. But skipper Duncan Fletcher and Kevin Curren (27) turned things around with a sixth-wicket partnership of 70 runs in 15 overs, and this was followed by an unbroken stand of 75 runs in 12 overs between Fletcher (69) and Ian Butchart (34) and Zimbabwe were able to post a reasonable total of 239 for six in 60 overs.

The fearsome pace quartet of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson, Geoff Lawson and Rod Hogg were handled with a degree of confidence.

Still a target of 240 at four an over seemed within Australia’s reach but accurate bowling and keen fielding made their task tough. Even the star-studded batting line-up that started with Graeme Wood and Kepler Wessels and continued with Graham Yallop, Kim Hughes, David Hookes, Allan Border and Rod Marsh were not up to it – thanks in the main to Fletcher who followed his invaluable knock by bagging four for 42 off eleven overs.

Australia were restricted to 226 for seven in 60 overs and the World Cup had started not with a bang but an explosion. It didn’t matter that they did not win another match – Zimbabwe’s place in cricket history was assured.

 


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