Top 25 World Cup Matches (Part 1 – 25-21)

June 4, 2019

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In this series, we will look into some of the most memorable matches in the Cricket World Cup. An exhibition of some great skills from the players, some nail-biting finishes and some moments which became the part of the cricketing folklore forever.

25 | March 2007, South Africa vs Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Providence

2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean was mostly remembered for the many controversies on and off the field and poor organization.

However, the second match in Super Eights was a dramatic one thanks to Lasith Malinga. Batting first, Sri Lanka scored 209 driven by a couple of the fifties from Tilakaratne Dilshan and Russell Arnold. South Africa chase was on track as after a good start by Captain Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis was anchoring the chase. At 206 for six, only four runs were required and Kallis was batting with experienced Shaun Pollock.

Till then Malinga was not that effective, conceding 49 runs in less than 8 overs. But on the fifth ball of his eighth over he fooled Pollock with an outstanding slower ball to get his leg stump. At least Sri Lanka was fighting but with four more wickets to go, it was still heavily loaded for South Africa. But Malinga again got one as his Yorker to Andrew Hall was lobbed up to the cover fielder. Vaas bowled an effective 46th over and conceded only one run. Malinga was back next over with Kallis on strike. But a very fast, full ball outside off got the nick from Kallis and pouched by Sangakkara. The hat-trick was completed and with only three to defend, Sri Lanka were back in the match. The excitement increased more as Malinga produced another Yorker to get rid of Makhaya Ntini. It was the first time in ODI for a bowler to take four consecutive wickets. More importantly, South Africa only had one wicket to score the three runs required.

However, Charl Langeveldt, who earlier took five wickets in the match, survived 10 balls and a Robin Peterson edge in the 49th over went to the boundary to give South Africa the win after some very nervy moments.

24 | February 1992, Zimbabwe vs Sri Lanka, Group Stage, New Plymouth

In 1992, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka both were considered as minnows and when they met in the third match of the Cricket World Cup at the small town of New Plymouth in New Zealand, no one thought how exciting this would become.

Zimbabwe was still a non-test playing nation and they unleashed their young 24 years old wicketkeeper to the World. Andy Flower making his One-day debut played an outstanding innings of 115. His century and a blistering 83 of 45 balls by Andy Waller took Zimbabwe past 300 runs. 312 was a massive score then and no team had completed a 300 plus chase.

But Sri Lankans started bravely. The openers Athula Samarasekera and Roshan Mahanama added 128 before a middle order struggle took them to 212 for 5. They had only 11 overs to go and more than 100 runs to score. Thankfully for Sri Lanka, at one end they had Arjuna Ranatunga. Ranatunga was in great form leading up to the World Cup. He shouldered the responsibility to shield the tail-enders and kept playing his shots to ensure the required rate is never out of reach. By the time his ninth boundary took Sri Lanka to victory, he was on 88 of 61 balls. It was one of the greatest run chases in the Cricket World Cup which saw the then second highest match aggregate and indicated that even the weaker teams are coming up the ladder with their skill and confidence.

23 | March 1992, Australia vs India, Group Stage, Brisbane

Australia and India delivered some very close matches over the year and this encounter between the two struggling teams in the 1992 Cricket World Cup was a confusing one with all the rain rules in place. Three overs were reduced in India’s innings and their target was revised to 236 for a win and 235 for a tie. For Australia, Dean Jones and David Boon contributed with 90 and 43 respectively.

Mohammad Azharuddin’s 93 and Sanjay Manjarekar’s 42-ball 47 gave India hope. But it all went down to their tail-enders to complete 13 runs in the last over. Kiran More’s two boundaries took them close but with a couple of wickets in next three balls, it was four required for a win and three for tie. Javagal Srinath’s lofted shot was spilled by Steve Waugh and Indians completed two runs but his fast, accurate throw to stand in wicketkeeper David Boon found India’s number eleven Venkatapati Raju short of his crease and Australia finished the match with a one-run win. It was their second one-run win over India in consecutive World Cups.

22 | March 2011, England vs South Africa, Group Stage, Chennai

England and South Africa delivered a low scoring thriller during the group stage of the 2011 Cricket World Cup. England already had an eventful World Cup which saw them playing a tie against India and a loss to Ireland. The win was required for them but they could only post 171 on the difficult strip in Chennai. Ravi Bopara and Jonathan Trott scored slow fifties as the South African spinners Imran Tahir and Robin Peterson shared seven wickets between them for 60 runs.

South Africa started strongly and at 63 for no loss looked favorite to win but English bowlers kept trying a finally got their reward as Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Kallis were gone in space of 19 runs. As the ball gets older, James Anderson produces a wonderful spell of reverse swing bowling. With the score of 124, South Africa lost AB de Villers, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis with Anderson getting the wickets of first two and Ian Bell Running out Faf. With six wickets down, the rate of scoring went down drastically and despite a 31-ball 20 from Dale Steyn, Stuart Broad finished the match with two wickets in the 48th over. Broad finished with four for 15 as England won the match by 6 runs.

21 | May 1999, India vs Zimbabwe, Group Stage, Leicester

India started poorly in the 1999 Cricket World Cup with a close loss to South Africa and on the eve of their second match against Zimbabwe the terrible news of the death of Ramesh Tendulkar, father of Sachin reached the team. A devastated Tendulkar left for India and the rest of the squad went to Leicester to face South Africa.

The entire team’s concentration must have been affected as the Indians bowled without discipline. They conceded 51 extras including 21 wides and 16 no balls. That was 37 balls or 6 overs equivalent of extra bowling and as a result, their over rate was poor and four overs were docked from their quota of 50 overs during the chase.

However, India were on track to chase as the Sadgopan Ramesh, playing as the replacement for Tendulkar, scored 55. Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh made good contributions in the middle overs and later was on the crease with Javagal Srinath to chase seven runs in last two overs with three wickets in hand

However, Indians suddenly lost their head among all the tension and panicked. Instead of going for singles Singh and Srinath went for big shots and lost their wickets. It was the last man Venkatesh Prasad on strike and India still needed four runs to win. Henry Olonga, who already took two wickets in that over calmly got rid of Prasad as his third wicket in the over and gave Zimbabwe one of their most famous wins.

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Author: Shreyasi Talukdar

A PR person who is chasing her passion for cricket through writing.

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