The countdown to the 2019 ICC World Cup in England is well and truly on as the top 10 teams in international cricket get ready to tussle it out for its biggest prize.
Over the course of its history, the World Cup has thrown up some colossal encounters between evenly matched team as well as some of the biggest upsets in cricket.
Here, we take a look at five of the biggest upsets in the history of the ICC World Cup.
Kenya v West Indies (1996)
Minnows Kenya produced the biggest shock of the 1996 edition held in the subcontinent when they beat a star-studded West Indies line up comprising of Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh and Courtney Ambrose.
Batting first, Kenya were bowled out for just 166 runs with Walsh picking up three wickets for the Windies. However, it all went pear shaped for the Caribbean side in what should have been a straightforward chase with only two batsmen getting into double digits.
Rajab Ali and Maurice Odombe snared three wickets apiece as Windies were bundled out for just 93 runs inside 36 overs with Kenya pulling off the unlikeliest of victories by 73 runs.
Ireland v England (2011)
When it comes to the most recent upsets in the history of the World Cup, there are none bigger than Ireland’s shock victory over England in the 2011 World Cup.
The clash between the two sides at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru seemed to be following a familiar script with England racking up a daunting 327-8 following a 92-run knock from Jonathan Trott.
Ireland were in tatters after being reduced to 111-5 before Kevin O’Brien produced one of the best innings in World Cup history. The Irishman slammed the fastest ton in the competition’s history (50 balls) before Alex Cusack (47) and John Mooney (33) played important hands down the order to seal Ireland’s first-ever win over England.
In the end, Ireland won by three wickets and five balls to spare at Bengaluru.
Ireland v Pakistan (2007)
1992 champions Pakistan were sent packing early from the competition after falling to a shock defeat to minnows Ireland at Jamaica.
On the occasion of St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland scripted their first major upset in international cricket on a seaming track at Jamaica. Batting first, Pakistan were shot out for a mere 132 with Kamran Akmal’s 27 being the highest individual score.
In reply, Ireland lost both their openers cheaply skipper Niall O’Brien remained defiant with a superb 72 which ensured that his side crossed the finish line with three wickets to spare despite a late collapse.
It was a tournament of upsets with both Pakistan and arch-rivals India exiting the competition before the knock-out stages.
Bangladesh v Pakistan (1999)
Playing in their maiden World Cup campaign in 1999, Bangladesh wasted no time in making an impact with the Tigers scripting a shock win over Pakistan at Northampton.
Led by a 42-run knock from Akram Khan, Bangladesh managed to post a respectable 223-9 after being made to bat first by Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram.
Pakistan’s run-chase started off on a disastrous note with Bangladesh pacer Khaled Mahmud blowing away the top-order. Pakistan were reduced to 42-5 in no time and despite a minor resistance from the lower order, were unable to go the distance.
The Men in Green were ultimately bowled out for 161 as Bangladesh celebrate an emotional win over their subcontinent rivals.
India v West Indies (1983)
India’s victory over the might West Indies side of 1983 remains arguably the biggest upset in World Cup history given the magnitude of the occasion. The all-conquering Windies side were favourites to land a third title in a row after they had clinched the inaugural edition in 1975 followed by the 1979 edition.
India were still finding their feet in one-day cricket and had done extremely well to reach the final after winning just the solitary one match in the previous two editions in 1975 and 1979. However, Clive Lloyd and the likes of Sir Viv Richards were left stunned as Kapil Dev’s India defended a paltry total of 183 at the iconic Lord’s.
Windies were bowled out for just 140 in the run-chase with Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath picking up three wickets apiece. Richards top scored with 33 for the Windies but his knock was ended by an excellent catch by Kapil Dev and that proved to be the trigger of a dramatic collapse.
Shadab, who had missed the 2018 edition, was picked up by Guyana Amazon Warriors in the first round of the draft. Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and England’s Alex Hales were two other big names picked up in the draft with the former being snapped up by St Lucia Stars while the latter went the way of Barbados Tridents.
19-year-old Pakistan pacer Mohammad Hasnain bagged his maiden CPL contract with the youngster being picked up by defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders. Meanwhile, senior Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz was retained by his franchise Barbados Tridents.
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who played for St Kitt and Nevis Patriots in the previous edition, has now moved to Barbados Tridents. Niroshan Dickwella found a taker for his services as well with the Sri Lanka wicketkeeper batsman being picked up by St Lucia Stars.
West Indies veteran opener Chris Gayle returned to his home franchise Jamaica Tallawahs as a marquee player while Kieron Pollard made a return to Trinbago Knight Riders. Windies skipper Jason Holder was chosen as the marquee player for Barbados while Nicholas Pooran will play the same role for Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Big-hitting Andre Russell was retained by Jamaica Tallawahs along with veteran Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.
The 2019 edition of the CPL is set to get underway in September this year. Several big names such as Afghanistan leg-spin sensation Rashid Khan and Australia’s Chris Lynn have chosen to give the tournament a miss this time after signing up for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam as marquee players.
The 33-year-old has not played an ODI for almost two years now with his last appearance coming in June, 2017 and was not expected to be picked for the World Cup after being ignored in the 23-man initial probable squad.
The left-armed pacer’s international career seemed to be fading after Arthur’s scathing comments about him last year with the South African publicly questioning Wahab’s ability to win games for Pakistan.
“He (Wahab) has not won us a game in two years,” Arthur had then told ESPNcricinfo.
“I expect players that have been around for a long time to be winning us games and setting standards. Otherwise we will invest in younger players who have long futures.”
Having earned the most unlikeliest of recalls, Wahab is now hoping to prove Arthur wrong when the 2019 World Cup gets underway later this month.
“I can’t explain in words the pain I have gone through, but I don’t want to live in the past. That’s history now,” Wahab stated ahead of his departure for England.
“Now it’s about what we are going to do in the World Cup. Obviously, it’s the coach’s duty to get the best results from the players, and he wants players that can win matches for the team.
“I also wanted to be in the team, the only difference is I missed two years of (international) cricket. Now I am in and want to prove him (Arthur) wrong and justify my opportunity.”
Eyebrows were raised over Wahab’s inclusion in the World Cup squad despite the pacer not featuring in Pakistan’s recently concluded ODI series against hosts England. The biggest casualty of Wahab’s recall to the ODI setup was fellow left-armed pacer Junaid Khan who failed to find a place in the final World Cup squad despite being named in the preliminary team.
Junaid had later made his disappointment clear with a cryptic tweet following his World Cup snub and Wahab has empathised with the 29-year-old’s plight.
“Every player wishes to play for Pakistan and the World Cup is the biggest challenge in your career,” said Wahab.
“Obviously, he will be saddened and very frustrated, and must be thinking he had been treated unfairly. But when I was out for two years, I was thinking the same.
“At the end, this is the Pakistan team and its selectors, coaches and captains make the decision. I am sure this wasn’t meant to hurt someone but it’s for the country, and whatever they think is good for Pakistan.”
Wahab had been Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup edition with 16 scalps in seven games at an average of 23.