Top 25 World Cup Matches (Part 2 – 20-16)

June 13, 2019

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With ICC 2019 Cricket World Cup in full swing, we are back with the second part of the series, ‘Top 25 World Cup Matches’. You can also read part one here and then find out five of most memorable encounters and relive the moments below. 

20 | March 1992, Pakistan vs England, Final, Melbourne

England and Pakistan played a classic final in the 1992 edition. It was the first time when nine teams were playing in the Cricket World Cup. There were also colored clothing, white balls, and day-night fixtures for the first time. The format was for each team to play all the other eight teams once in the group stage with the top four qualifying. Pakistan started poorly and won only one of their first five matches. But they maintained their unpredictability, recorded a string of wins to be in the top four and then beat the favorites New Zealand in the Semi-final. England were a strong outfit and they were deservedly in the final too.

Pakistan batted first and once the openers were gone the veterans Imran Khan (72) and Javed Miandad (58) built a partnership of 139 runs. Although they were slow in building the innings later Inzamam-ul-Haq (42) and Wasim Akram (33) added some quick runs to take them to 249.

England did not have a good start and slumped to 68/ 4 when Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb built a partnership and runs started to come. At 141/4 it was anyone’s game. Imran brought back Wasim hoping for some reverse swing and Wasim delivered! In two consecutive reverse swinging deliveries, he got rid of Lamb and Chris Lewis and shut the door for England. There was some contribution from England lower order but that was not enough and most fittingly Imran Khan took the last wicket to win Pakistan’s first Cricket World Cup by 22 runs.

19 | March 2007, Pakistan vs Ireland, Group Stage, Jamaica

Ireland announced themselves on the world stage with a tied match against Zimbabwe in 2007 World Cup. Their second match was against Pakistan. A bunch of amateurs was no match against a strong Pakistan team led by Inzamam-ul-Haq that included Mohammad Yousuf, Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik, Umar Gul and Azhar Mahmood, etc.

However, Pakistan lost their first wicket in the first over and kept losing wickets. Andre Botha delivered a brilliant spell of 8-4-5-2. The fast bowler Boyd Rankin took three for 32 and off-spinner McCallan took two wickets. The captain Trent Johnson also took one with a very tight spell. Pakistan could never recover and finally got all out for 132.

Apparently, Johnston gave an inspiring speech in the dressing room during the break. The batsmen came prepared to give a strong fight. Mohammad Shami got Jeremy Bray and Eoin Morgan within first six overs. William Porterfield held one end and added 49 runs in partnership with Niall O’Brien. Porterfield went after scoring 13 off 50 balls. On 70/4, Kevin O’Brien came out to join his brother Niall and they added 38 runs before Niall was gone. The sixth and seventh wicket fell on 113 with another 20 runs needed. This brought the captain Johnston to the crease. Slowly he and Kevin collected the runs. Finally with six runs required Johnston hit Azhar Mahmood for a maximum over long-on to complete the Irish dream.

18 | October 1987, India vs Australia, Group Stage, Chennai

India and Australia played another very close match during the 1987 Cricket World Cup. This was India’s first match in the 1987 edition. The excitement was high and the match was being played in Chennai, one of India’s traditional venues. Australia were sent in by India and scored 270/6. Primary contributions were made by the top three as Geoff Marsh scored 110, David Boon 49 and Dean Jones 39. For India, Manoj Prabhakar took two wickets as Roger Binny, Ravi Shastri and Maninder Singh scalped one each.

For India, openers Sunil Gavaskar and Krish Srikkanth added 69 before the debutant Navjot Singh Sidhu came and scored brilliant 73 runs with 4 boundaries and 5 sixes. Srikkanth scored 70 and with 256/6 on board, India were favorites to score the remaining 14 runs required. But Kapil Dev and Binny were gone on that score followed by Prabhakar getting dismissed after five more runs. The keeper Kiran More and the last man Maninder Singh added four runs. Steve Waugh was bowling with India required two runs off last two balls and then Waugh gave the final blow. He bowled out Maninder to give Australia a win by just one run. It was a great start by a young Australian side that went on to win the tournament for the first time.

17 | March 2003, England vs Australia, Group Stage, Port Elizabeth

England met the all-conquering Australia in their last group stage match of 2003 Cricket World Cup. England required at least one win to keep their super six chances alive. Batting first they started strongly as for once Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee failed to take a wicket in their opening spell. But Andy Bichel came as first change and started picking up wickets straight away. Bichel was in the eleven due to an injury of Jason Gillespie and the ended up taking Nick Knight, Michael Vaughn, Nasser Hussain and Paul Collingwood in quick succession and suddenly from 66 for no loss England were reduced to 87/5. Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff added 90 runs but they invested 148 balls in their partnership. England crawled to 204/8 as Bichel ended with 10-0-20-7, the second best bowling figures in Cricket World Cup history.

Although the target was small, it was not an easy pitch to bat on. Within the first 10 overs Australia were 48 for 4 as Andrew Caddick ran through the Australian top order. Darren Lehman and Michael Bevan added 63 runs but after the fall of Lehman there was another collapse and on 135 for 8 the match looked over. The hero of first innings Bichel came to bat and joined the great finisher Bevan. Australia required 70 off 74. Bevan and Bichel slowly developed a partnership and started collecting runs, and finally, Bevan completed the chase in the 50th over with a boundary. After 7/20 Bichel remained not out for 34 and it was one of the greatest all-around performances of the Cricket World Cup.

16 | March 2015, New Zealand vs South Africa, Semi Final, Auckland

New Zealand had a dream run in the 2015 World Cup as Brendon McCullum’s men played a fearless brand of cricket to easily reach the semi final. They faced a strong South African team for a place in the World Cup final. South Africa had some of the best players in the world including captain AB de Villiers, Hasim Amla, Faf du Plessis, and Dale Steyn. For New Zealand, except McCullum, the responsibility was on Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Ross Taylor, and Tim Southee.

South Africa batted first and could score 281/5 in a rain-affected innings of 43 overs. Du Plessis scored 82, de Villiers 65 and there were also contributions from David Miller and Rilee Rossouw.

Due to DLS, the revised target for New Zealand was 298 and only once such a high target was chased down at that venue. But throughout the tournament McCullum batted in a different plane. He came out all guns blazing and added 71 runs in first six overs with Martin Guptill. McCullum’s smashed 59 off 26. Once McCullum was gone South Africa slowly crawled back to the game and with 149/4 in the 22nd over on board it was anyone’s game. Corey Anderson was batting with Grant Elliott at that time. Elliott was a South African born middle order player who utilized his full potential for his adopted country New Zealand. Anderson played a stable innings of 57 but it was Elliott who played the innings of his life. Finally, with three runs required from last two balls, Elliott hit the 5th ball of the 43rd over by Dale Steyn for a four and sent the crowd to delirium. The South Africans were heartbroken and Kiwis went on to Melbourn to play their first World Cup final.

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Author: Shreyasi Talukdar

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


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