With a primary emphasis on well-established cricketing nations, the 2023 International Cricket Council (ICC) One-Day International (ODI) World Cup is set to commence in India on October 5. Over the years, this grand tournament has delivered astonishing upsets, with teams like Ireland and Kenya shocking cricket enthusiasts by defeating powerhouses such as England and Sri Lanka.
This upcoming edition will witness the participation of 10 teams, comprising New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands, who will vie against each other in 45 pool matches. While the tournament primarily spotlights the established teams, underdogs like the Netherlands and Afghanistan might present a formidable challenge, considering the World Cup's history brims with surprising outcomes.
As we eagerly await the commencement of this mega-event, let's take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most remarkable upsets that have left fans in awe over the years.
Bangladesh vs Pakistan (1999)
One of the strongest Pakistani teams, which had reached the final of that year's major tournament by defeating teams like Australia, New Zealand, and West Indies along the way, suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of Bangladesh. This was Bangladesh's first-ever World Cup appearance, and they hadn't even been granted full Test status at that time.
Although the match was essentially inconsequential in terms of the tournament's outcome, Bangladesh managed to score 223 for nine in their allotted 50 overs. As soon as their innings concluded, it became apparent that Pakistan would face a challenging chase on a tricky wicket.
After losing five wickets for just 42 runs in the first 12 overs, the Pakistani team found it increasingly difficult to regain their footing and were ultimately bowled out for a total of 161 runs. While this defeat didn't have a substantial impact on Pakistan, it marked a significant turning point for Bangladeshi cricket.
Kenya vs Sri Lanka (2003)
When discussions turn to the most remarkable underdog story in cricket history, particularly in the context of the World Cup, the name of the Kenya national team and the year 2003 invariably come to the forefront.
Kenya's enchanting journey in the 2003 World Cup saw them advance all the way to the tournament's semi-finals, achieved through sheer hard work and unwavering determination. During their remarkable run, they encountered the formidable Sri Lankan side, which had clinched the World Cup just seven years prior.
Having batted first, Kenya managed to muster only 210 runs while losing nine wickets in their allotted 50 overs. The Sri Lankan team, equipped with several top-notch batsmen, seemed confident about chasing down this target. However, they encountered the magic of Collins Obuya, who claimed five wickets while conceding just 24 runs. Obuya's exceptional performance led to the dismissal of all the visiting team's batsmen for a mere 157 runs, marking one of the most significant victories in their cricketing history.
Ireland vs Pakistan (2007)
On March 17, 2007, a Group D clash between Pakistan and Ireland took place, coinciding with St. Patrick's Day, a significant religious and cultural celebration in Ireland.
The rainy conditions in Jamaica played into the hands of the Irish fast bowlers, causing havoc for the Pakistani batsmen. The Men in Green were dismissed for a mere 132 runs in 45.4 overs, with only four players managing to reach double digits among the 11 in the Pakistani lineup.
Due to the rain, Ireland was set a revised target of 128 runs to win in 47 overs. While the newcomers were expected to struggle in the wet conditions and against Pakistan's formidable bowling attack, Niall O'Brien masterminded the run chase and earned the Player of the Match award.
This unexpected victory sent shockwaves through the cricketing world, as Ireland progressed to the Super Eight stage of the tournament, while Pakistan's campaign came to an early end in the opening round of the mega event.
Bangladesh vs India (2007)
Even with a formidable Indian squad boasting match-winners and cricket legends like Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, and others, they found themselves unable to counter Bangladesh's formidable bowling attack, led by Abdur Razzak, Mashrafe Mortaza, and Mohammad Rafique.
The story began with Ganguly's decision to bat first on a pitch in Trinidad that heavily favored bowlers. Unfortunately for India, it turned out to be one of the worst captaincy decisions, as not only did they lose the match, but they were also eliminated from the mega event with this defeat.
India struggled to reach a total of just 191 runs, with the skipper and Yuvraj leading the scoring with 66 and 47 runs, respectively. Mortaza, Rafique, and Razzak wreaked havoc with the ball, claiming all 10 wickets.
During their chase, Tamim Iqbal provided Bangladesh with a scintillating start, racking up a quick 50 runs with nine boundaries. Despite some hiccups in their batting, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan provided crucial stability, notching 56 and 53 runs respectively, which ultimately proved to be match-winning performances.
This historic victory marked Bangladesh's most significant win in their cricketing history, sending shockwaves through the cricketing world as they eliminated one of the tournament's favorites.
Ireland vs England (2011)
In what seemed like an imminent defeat for Ireland, Kevin O'Brien's unwavering resilience, bravery, and courage transformed it into one of the most indelible victories in World Cup history.
The stage was set in the 2011 World Cup Group B match between Ireland and England. England's Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott, and Ian Bell had contributed solidly, propelling their team to a formidable total of 329 runs. During Ireland's chase, their batsmen struggled significantly, finding themselves at 111-5 in 24.2 overs, with a heavy loss looming.
However, stepping in at number eight, Kevin O'Brien emerged as the savior for Ireland, delivering what could arguably be considered the best innings of the 2011 World Cup. He blazed his way to 113 runs from just 63 deliveries, including 13 fours and six sixes. O'Brien's extraordinary performance anchored the pursuit of the colossal target, which was ultimately achieved in 49.1 overs, with John Mooney striking a crucial four off James Anderson to seal the remarkable victory.
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