5 Biggest Upsets ODI World Cup

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The ODI World Cup 2023 is now at its business end, and we already have a couple of upsets. First up, it was Afghanistan that beat England in Delhi, and then it was the Netherlands that would go on to beat South Africa and Bangladesh. But these “upsets,” or rather wins, have rekindled the earlier memories of some older fans who have seen many such upsets in ODI World Cup history.

The 5 Biggest Upsets in ODI World Cup

In 13 editions of the ODI World Cup, there have been many big upsets in the World Cup. The so-called “minnows” have had their days, with many former champions suffering embarrassing defeats. Here’s our pick of the top five upsets in the ODI World Cup: 

  • Kenya beat West Indies by 74 runs (1996)
  • Zimbabwe beat India by 3 runs (1999)
  • Bangladesh beat Pakistan by 62 runs (1999)
  • Bangladesh beat India by 5 wickets (2007)
  • Ireland beat England by 3 wickets (2011)

Let’s now take a closer look at each of these five memorable World Cup encounters: 

Kenya vs West Indies (1996 World Cup)

In one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, Kenya defeated West Indies by 74 runs in the 1996 World Cup group stage match in Pune. Batting first, Kenya was bowled out for 166 thanks to three-wicket hauls from Roger Harper and Courtney Walsh. But what looked like an easy run chase became a disaster for the West Indies. Apart from Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Harper, none of the batters registered two-digit scores. The Caribbean outfit was bowled out for 93. Maurice Odumbe and Rajab Ali were Kenya’s heroes with the ball.

 Zimbabwe vs India (1999 World Cup)

India suffered one of the shocking defeats in the 1999 World Cup. Against Zimbabwe, India decided to field first. The conditions were seamer-friendly, and therefore, the decision was a no-brainer. Grant Flower and his brother Andy Flower ensured Zimbabwe scored a respectable 252. In reply, only Sadagopan Ramesh and Ajay Jadeja resisted for India against a decent bowling attack. With five runs needed off seven balls, Henry Olonga trapped Venkatesh Prasad in front to pull off one of Zimbabwe’s biggest wins in their World Cup history. 

Bangladesh vs Pakistan (1999 World Cup)

Bangladesh produced one of their iconic wins in the 1999 World Cup group stage. At Nottingham Trent Bridge, Pakistan won the toss and put the Tigers to bat first. Bangladesh struggled before Saqlain Mushtaq, who would pick five wickets, yet they reached 223 in their 50 overs. Pakistan, in reply, crumbled like a house of cards as they lost five wickets for just 42 runs. Despite the best efforts from the lower order, Pakistan was bowled out for 161. Khaled Mahmud was Bangladesh’s hero with 3/31, which included the wickets of Shahid Afridi, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Saleem Maik. 

Bangladesh vs India (2007 World Cup)

It was the 2007 ODI World Cup opener for both the teams. India had batted first, and despite Sourav Ganguly’s’ 66, the ‘Men in Blue’ were bundled out for 191. Mashrafe Mortaza took four wickets, while Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Rafique grabbed three each. India was expected to push Bangladesh in the chase, but Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib would negate any such threat, helping their team win a famous win. India never recovered from the defeat, as they crashed out of the tournament in the first round. 

Ireland vs England (2011 World Cup)

It looked like any other ODI World Cup game when England took on Ireland in the 2011 World Cup group stage match. England had batted first, and riding on Jonathan Trott’s 92 and Ian Bell’s 81, they scored a humongous 327/8 in Bengaluru. Ireland found themselves in a massive bother in the run chase, losing five wickets with just 111 runs on the board. Kevin O’Brien walked in, and the rest, as they say, was history. He smashed a counter-attacking 113 off 63, and by the time he was out, a win remained a formality. John Mooney hit the winning runs in the first ball of the final over. It remains Ireland’s best ODI win in history. 

Concluding Thoughts

The ODI World Cups are one of the most exciting tournaments in the world. What makes it interesting is the drama that it produces. These upset wins by the smaller teams attract a lot of eyeballs and, hence, make the tournament so dramatic. Not only are such performances a big statement to critics of the smaller teams, but they also ensure that the big teams have to turn up with their A-game. Also, these wins are essential for the tournament’s long-term health, which has been in question since the emergence of T20 cricket.

Also Read: Top Five Captains with most wins in ODI World Cup History