Afghanistan beat Pakistan by 8 wickets – here are some of greatest upsets in Cricket World Cup history

The Cricket World Cup has witnessed some of the greatest and most astonishing victories in the history of the sport

Sakshi Gupta
Tuesday 24 October 2023 06:28 BST
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India prepare for Pakistan World Cup clash

Afghanistan on Monday inflicted a second upset by humbling Pakistan in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, marking their second victory in three matches.

After opting to bat at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, Pakistan put up 282 for 7 in 50 overs. Afghanistan chased this total down with ease as the side had eight wickets and an over to spare, dealing a blow to Pakistan’s chances of making it to the semi-final of the 2023 World Cup.

Afghanistan also created the biggest upset of the tournament when they beat defending champions England on 15 October in Delhi. The Central Asian country’s 69-run victory over England also ended their 14-match losing streak, which also included a winless World Cup 2019 campaign.

The 2023 World Cup has so far witnessed one other major upset, that was South Africa’s loss to the Netherlands on 17 October.

The Temba Bavuma-led team, that had scored 428 and 311 in their opening two matches against Sri Lanka and Australia, were bundled out for 207 by Netherlands, that eventually bagged an astonishing 38-run win at HPCA Stadium.

This was Netherlands’ third win in the ODI World Cup, 16 years since their match against Scotland in the West Indies. Their first victory in the tournament came against Namibia in the World Cup 2023.

The Cricket World Cup has witnessed some of the greatest and most astonishing victories in the history of the sport. From underdog teams knocking out giants to defending champions facing shocking losses, these moments over the years have defined the coveted tournament’s rich history.

Be it Zimbabwe’s shock win in 1992 or Afghanistan’s victory in 2023, these matches have spotlighted the game’s unpredictability.

England captain Jos Buttler looked glum after their defeat by Afghanistan (Manish Swarup/AP)

Here are the five big upsets in the Cricket World Cup:

India end West Indies’ reign in 1983

India defended their below-par total of 183 against cricketing giants West Indies at Lord’s in 1983 to clinch their maiden Cricket World Cup. Kapil Dev-led India won the final by 43 runs as they stunned two-time defending champions West Indies, having walked into the tournament with just 17 wins in their first nine years as a One-Day International (ODI) team.

The talented West Indian pace department of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, and Malcolm Marshall spared no one as Kris Srikkanth top scored for India with his knock of 38 runs. But then, the Indian duo of Mohinder Armanath (3 for 12) and Madan Lal (3 for 31) steamrolled the flashy West Indies batsmen, with Viv Richards managing the top score of 33 for the side.

Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev, second from left, hugs Indian bowler Madan Lal while the rest of the Indian team celebrate at Lord's after Gavaskar had caught West Indian, Larry Gomes, for five of the bowling of Madan Lal during the Prudential World Cup Final in London, 25 June 1983. India won the World Cup for the first time in 1983

Zimbabwe shock England in World Cup 1992

Approximately 6,000 spectators were in attendance at Lavington Sports Ground in Albury, a city that sits on the New South Wales and Victoria border, when Zimbabwe shocked England. Everything looked in control for the Englishmen when their bowlers, taking advantage of the favourable conditions, restricted the Zimbabweans to 77 for 6 before bowling them out for 134.

Defending an under-par total of 134 against a dominant side like England never looked on the cards for Zimbabwe. But when the English skipper Graham Gooch fell lbw to Eddo Brandes on the first delivery of their innings, the opponents thought maybe they still had a chance. Brandes, the eventual Player of the Match, claimed four wickets for just 21 runs in his spell of 10 overs as the Englishmen were cleaned up in just 19 overs, nine runs short of their target.

Kenya overpower mighty West Indians in 1996

Kenya vanquished the mighty West Indians at the World Cup of 1996, in what was regarded as one of the greatest upsets of the time. Batting first, Kenya managed to put up just 166 runs on the board. A chase for the Caribbean side looked like a cakewalk in Pune, but the script for the day turned out to be in the African side’s favour.

Opening bowler of Kenya, Rajab Ali, made an early and important breakthrough as he dismissed West Indies’ key man Brian Lara for just eight runs. Only Roger Harper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who took 48 balls to score 19 runs, touched double figures for the West Indies who were all out for just 93, handing Kenya a massive and memorable 73-run victory.

World Cup 2007 – a campaign of upsets

The World Cup 2007 witnessed more than one upset, two of those inflicted by Bangladesh. The Bangla Tigers defeated South Africa and India, while Ireland knocked Pakistan out of the tournament. The Bangla Tigers defended their just enough total of 251 against South Africa, while they produced an all-round performance against Team India in Port of Spain.

After bowling a star-studded India out for 191, thanks to a four-wicket haul from Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh chased down the target with nine deliveries and five wickets to spare. Team India later lost to Sri Lanka as well and were eliminated from the tournament.

The World Cup 2007 was also scarred by the passing away of Pakistan’s head coach Bob Woolmer, who died suddenly in Jamaica, just a few hours after his team lost to Ireland and were out of the tournament.

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