Most memorable games
The men’s Cricket World Cup has produced many memorable matches over its 11 prior editions, despite its inadequacies and formatting errors.
The three hosts of the BBC World Service program Stumped, Charu Sharma, Jim Maxwell, have combed through their collective memory banks to come up with a list of games that includes seismic upsets, nail-biting finishes, and games whose significance went well beyond cricket.
Here are Stumped’s picks for the top 10 Cricket World Cup games ever played.
Take a look, then share your thoughts in the space provided below. You can access the complete podcast here.
10. New Zealand v South Africa, 2015
The fortunes of both sides bounced back and forth in this rollercoaster of a semifinal, leaving the result up in the air until the very end.
After rain, New Zealand was suffering at 149-4 in the 22nd over of their 298-run, 43-over chase, but Grant Elliott and Corey Anderson brought them back into the game as the boisterous Eden Park crowd roared for each run.
Elliott sent Dale Steyn into the Auckland night sky when five needed to be scored from two balls, sending New Zealand into their first World Cup final.
Since it was literally “hero or zero,” Elliott said, “that was perhaps the most stressful time of my career in terms of a single moment.”
“To achieve what appeared unreachable at the start of the tournament was a pretty great feeling,” said the player. “I didn’t want to leave it to the last ball, so wherever the ball was I was going to have a go at it. Fortunately for me it was in a nice place and the rest was a lot of relief.”
9. Pakistan v England, 1992
Pakistan won its first World Cup after Wasim Akram defeated England, spurred on by Imran Khan’s advice to fight like “cornered tigers.”
In front of a packed house at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Pakistan posted 249-6 thanks to half-centuries from Imran and Javed Miandad.
And even though England recovered from a shaky start, Wasim bowled two inswinging yorkers in quick succession to dismiss Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis, effectively guaranteeing England’s third loss in a World Cup final.
A bus ride that ordinarily takes 20 minutes took seven hours to get us back to Lahore, according to Wasim.
I’ve never seen anything like that before, and I don’t think I ever will. “The streets were packed, and we simply crawled along. It’s something you dream about.”
8. India v Australia, 1987
In one of the World Cup’s closest matches ever, Australia edged off defending champion India by one run in Chennai.
When a teenage Steve Waugh bowled Maninder Singh to claim the victory, India needed two runs in the space of two balls to reach their total of 271.
If Dean Jones from Australia had not persisted in trying to make up for a perceived injustice during Australia’s innings, the result would have been drastically different.
Jones stated, “I was facing the left-arm orthodox Maninder Singh, and I hit one down the ground. “We all grumbled because Ravi Shastri was on the boundary and it appeared to me clearly that it crossed over his arm and carried past the rope. However, Ravi claimed that it was four.
“I turned to [umpire] Dickie Bird, who stated he had to rely on the fielder’s word.
“Soon after, I was dismissed and hurried into Hanif Mohammed, the match referee, to complain. He responded by saying that we’ll talk about it at the end of the innings.
“When Dickie Bird entered their dressing room, he offered Ravi one more chance. They adjusted the score from 268 to 270 after he remarked, “Let him have it for six.”
“I don’t think that’s ever happened before,”
7. India v Zimbabwe, 1983
Even though Kapil’s match, as it has come to be known, was never broadcast on television, it will always be remembered by everyone who went among the Tunbridge Wells rhododendrons.
When World Cup rookies Zimbabwe reduced India to 17-5, a significant upset appeared to be in the cards.
The captain of India, however, had a different plot in mind. His incredible 175 not out in just 138 balls helped India reach what ultimately proved to be the winning score of 266-8.
We were in complete control when we took a break for lunch at the end of 40 overs, but then Kapil suddenly transformed the game, according to Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Dave Houghton, who witnessed the vicious assault firsthand.
It wasn’t like we dropped him or he had a tight shave; he didn’t misfire a ball. Everything he went for he struck like a missile out of the earth or like a tracer bullet along the ground.
6. India v Sri Lanka, 2011
India won the World Cup on home turf by defeating Sri Lanka in a thrilling championship match.
When it appeared like his team was languishing in its attempt to catch Sri Lanka’s 274-6, captain MS Dhoni moved up the order and expertly timed his team’s run-chase.
As Dhoni secured the victory with a six that soared far into the bleachers and set off wild celebrations in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, Gautam Gambhir’s 97 seemed little more than a footnote.
Coach Gary Kirsten remarked, “It felt weird, the end of a tremendous three-year journey with the Indian team.
We’d been quite up and down leading up to the World Cup, but it all came together very nicely. They were a very brilliant group of cricketers, and all we really needed to do was fly in formation.
5. West Indies v India, 1983
Few gave India optimism in the 1983 World Cup final with holders West Indies in the opposing Lord’s dressing-room, especially when they were skittled out for 183.
But once more, it was skipper Kapil who provided the drive for a renowned triumph.
In a match that is frequently cited as having sparked India’s infatuation with the sport, his magnificent catch to dismiss a raving Viv Richards sparked the first of many pitch invasions.
Roger Binny, who finished with 18 wickets to lead the competition, remarked, “We all knew that Viv was such an arrogant player, that he wasn’t going to hang around and would get after us.”
However, the proper player received the ball because Kapil Dev, a superb fielder, never appeared to be about to drop it.
“It fulfilled a dream. The realization that we had defeated the West Indies took some time to set in. At the time, they were unbeatable. For the sake of the nation, we did it.
4. Sri Lanka v Australia, 1996
Only 15 years after becoming a full member of the ICC and attaining Test status, Sri Lanka defeated Australia in another final in a massive upset.
With both the bat and the ball, Aravinda de Silva led Sri Lanka to victory. He took three wickets in Australia’s dismal 241-7 before going on to score a brilliant unbeaten 107 to lead his team to victory.
Arjuna Ranatunga, an influential captain, was ultimately responsible for scoring the winning runs and guiding Glenn McGrath to the third-man boundary to start the celebrations.
Hashan Tillakaratne, a batter for Sri Lanka, remarked, “We returned to Sri Lanka the following morning, and from the airport it was party time!” “When we arrived, there was a sizable welcome ceremony at the airport, and we were then requested to proceed to the president’s residence.
“There were large crowds lined the streets to support us as we traveled there. It was a great and amazing feeling. And that was only the beginning. The parties and receptions lasted for weeks.
3. Ireland v England 2011
An Irishman with pink hair completed one of the most astounding innings in World Cup history on March 2, 2011, in Bangalore, to secure a renowned victory over England.
Given Ireland’s plight at 111-5 just before Kevin O’Brien came to the bat, his 50-ball hundred was extraordinary under any circumstances, but it was much more so in this case.
Ireland romped to their intimidating target of 328 with five balls remaining thanks to O’Brien’s masterful dismantling of an attack led by James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Graeme Swann.
Everything I hit that day came out of the center, and when it didn’t, it went over the heads of the fielders, according to O’Brien.
You need a little bit of luck in big events, and thankfully for me and the Irish squad, we had it that day when Andrew Strauss dumped me on 91.
2. Australia v South Africa 1999
Even after 20 years, this competition and its stunning finish continue to defy belief.
South Africa needed nine runs to go to its first World Cup final going into the last over, and when player of the tournament Lance Klusener hit the opening two balls of the over for four, the outcome appeared certain.
Nervousness then crept in. Allan Donald remained put at the non-end striker’s when Klusener started off for a single from the fourth ball of the over after almost running himself out off the third ball.
Donald did begin to run, but by the time he did, Damien Fleming’s underhanded throw had already made it to Adam Gilchrist’s gloves, completing arguably the most famous run-out in cricket history.
Fleming recounted, “I don’t know if Lance called but he simply started jogging. I caught the ball because it was close enough to my right hand, which allowed Donald to stay in his crease, and then I underarmed the ball to poor Adam Gilchrist at a speed of roughly 1 centimeter per second.
“Gilly eventually got it and struck the stumps. We all play sports because what came afterwards was absolute ecstasy.
1. 1975 Australia v West Indies
Some of the top Test cricketers of the day competed in the first World Cup final, where they honed their abilities in the brand-new format of one-day cricket. It was an exciting match.
The images that will live on are Clive Lloyd’s explosive hundred and Viv Richards’ outstanding fielding, but the Australians significantly contributed to the momentous event.
Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee’s extraordinary last-wicket partnership kept Australia’s hopes alive until the penultimate over, when Deryck Murray ran out Thomson and let thousands of jubilant West Indian fans onto the revered Lord’s field.
The captain of Australia, Ian Chappell, remarked that the day was excellent for cricket. “The World Cup is here to stay,” I definitely believed after watching the final because the two strongest teams advanced.
Lloyd said, “We made a lot of people happy. In those days, the average fan could get a ticket, and many West Indians attended the game. I’m grateful that triumph served as the catalyst for the rest of our incredible run.