Here are some such memorable matches through the years:
2015 World Cup
At the beginning of the tournament, probably only few gave even a small chance to the teams from Ireland and Bangladesh. But Mahmudullah’s century helped Bangladesh reach a respectable total of 275 against England. When the English batted, Rubel Hossain took four wickets to restrict England for 260.
Paul Stirling and Ed Joyce may not be the most celebrated names in world cricket. When their efforts helped the Ireland team reach West Indies’ target of 307 to win the match by four wickets, the squad earned the respect of their peers. In earlier editions of the World Cup, they had managed similar feats too.
England were at the receiving end of their neighbours’ fiery performance after a sensational 113 by Kevin O’Brien off 63 balls. It helped Ireland scale the target of 327 that England had set. The Bengaluru crowd had not seen such power hitting for a while and the counterattack against the fast bowlers left the English team stunned.
2007 World Cup
It was a tournament that saw several upsets, with Bangladesh leading the charge.
A top order collapse found India wanting against Bangladesh as they were bowled out for 192, with Mashrafe Mortaza getting four of the wickets. Bangladesh made heavy weather of the chase but reached the target, beating India by five wickets. During the Super8, Abdul Razzak bowled his heart out for the ‘Tigers,’ taking three wickets. The South Africans were bowled out for 184, after being given a target of 252 to win.
Ireland bundled out Pakistan for a measly 132 to set up a famous victory. Despite the tight Pakistani bowling, Niall O’Brien hemmed the Irish innings together with a polished 72 to take the Irish team past the target to win by three wickets.
In an important group match, 210 was not a mighty total for Sri Lanka to reach. Kenya had fallen to the guile of Mutthiah Muralitharan, whose four wickets wrecked the middle order. When Sri Lanka batted, they found Collins Obuya’s leg breaks tough to handle. He got 5/24 and the Lankans were bowled out for 157.
Zimbabwe’s win against India was a thriller. The Flower brothers guided Zimbabwe to 252 in 50 overs. India appeared to be headed for a clumsy win when three wickets in the 45th over from Henry Olonga turned the tables on India. Zimbabwe won by three runs.
Zimbabwe’s modest 233 against neighbours South Africa was not considered a big total to defend. But when the Proteas chased, six of their top seven batsmen failed to reach double figures. They were 40/6 and a spirited fightback only delayed the inevitable, and they lost by 48 runs.
Bangladesh’s laborious 233/9 would hardly have been a challenge for Pakistan. But having half the side gone in the first 12 overs with just 42 runs on the board made it difficult for Pakistan. The top five batsmen failed to reach double figures and they were bowled out for 161, leading to delirious celebrations by fans.
It was their first World Cup and Kenya wanted to make sure their performance counted. When they were bowled out for 166, it seemed they were written off. But Rajab Ali and Maurice Odumbe had other plans. With three wickets each, Kenya bowled out West Indies for 93. Only two of their batsmen reached double figures.
Zimbabwe were bowled out for 134 on tough pitch at Albury, Australia and it seemed like just another day at work for England. Eddo Brandes got Graham Gooch off the first ball. A little later, half the English side were back at 43. The sixth wicket partnership put up a fight but could only delay the inevitable as England were bowled out for 125, losing the last five wickets for 30 runs.
Two surprise results on the same day. June 9, 1983 made the cricketing world sit up and take notice. Zimbabwe played Australia in their first World Cup match ever and could muster only 239/6. Their amazing fielding helped restrict the Aussies at 226/7, leaving them victorious by 13 runs. It was a result no one could have imagined.
India put up 262/8 against West Indies, who had never ever lost a World Cup match since 1975. When West Indies chased, Roger Binny caused the damage to the top order batsmen while Ravi Shastri cleaned up the bottom half. West Indies were bowled out for 228. India repeated their act in the final and defended 183 to bowl out West Indies for 140 and win the tournament.