In a stunning turn of events, Afghanistan claimed their second-ever victory in a men’s Cricket World Cup, outclassing the defending champions in every aspect of the game. This unexpected win has put England’s title defence in jeopardy, but it’s not the first time we’ve seen such surprises in the tournament. Let’s revisit some of the most memorable Cricket World Cup upsets:
1999: Zimbabwe Triumphs Over India
Andy and Grant Flower, the backbone of Zimbabwe’s innings, led their team to a total of 252. India, despite being the favourites, suffered due to erratic bowling, which included 21 wides and 16 no balls. India seemed to be on track towards their target in the 33rd over, but a sudden collapse put them in a precarious position. Zimbabwe’s Henry Olonga then took the remaining wickets in one over, leading to a shocking defeat for India.
2011: Ireland’s Unexpected Victory Over England
England, despite having been on the receiving end of several World Cup shocks, seemed to have the upper hand against Ireland. Jonathan Trott’s 92 and quick fifties from Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell put England in a commanding position with a total of 327. However, a remarkable innings from Kevin O’Brien turned the tables, leading Ireland to a surprising three-wicket victory in the final over of the match.
1999: Bangladesh’s Surprise Win Against Pakistan
Bangladesh managed to score 223 runs, thanks to Akram Khan and Shahriar Hossain’s hard-fought innings. Pakistan’s chase fell apart quickly, and despite efforts from Captain Wasim Akram and Azhar Mahmood, they fell 62 runs short, resulting in an upset for the team.
1996: Kenya Stuns West Indies
West Indies, a powerhouse team featuring cricket greats like Brian Lara and Richie Richardson, were unexpectedly defeated by Kenya. Despite a promising start, the West Indies innings fell apart, and they were all out for a meagre 93.
1999: Zimbabwe’s Historic Win Over South Africa
South Africa, with a star-studded line-up, were expected to sail through to the semi-finals when they faced Zimbabwe. However, Neil Johnson’s 76 led Zimbabwe to a total of 233, setting the stage for a thrilling contest. A stunning collapse left South Africa struggling, and despite efforts from Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener, they fell 48 runs short, giving Zimbabwe a memorable victory.
2007: Bangladesh Overcomes India
India set a competitive target of 192, thanks to Sourav Ganguly’s 66 and Yuvraj Singh’s 47. However, fifties from Tamim Iqbal and Shahriar Nafees, along with an impressive debut from Shakib Al Hasan, led Bangladesh to an unexpected victory. This defeat marked the beginning of a disappointing campaign for India.
2003: Kenya’s Home Soil Victory Against Sri Lanka
Kenya, playing on home soil, shocked the 1996 champions Sri Lanka. Kennedy Otieno’s 60 led Kenya to a decent total of 210. Sri Lanka seemed to be in control, but Kenya’s Collins Obuya turned the match around with a flurry of wickets, leading to a surprising victory for Kenya.
2023: Afghanistan’s Stunning Win Over England
Despite a shaky start to their title defence, England was expected to easily defeat Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Mujeeb Ur Rahman had other plans. Gurbaz scored 80 from 57 balls, and Mujeeb added 28 late runs, leading Afghanistan to a total of 284. Mujeeb then took 3/51, helping Afghanistan secure a thrilling 69-run victory.