Slaying Goliath

Ten biggest one-day upsets

Bangladesh's stunning defeat of Australia will probably go down as the biggest one-day upset of all time. Here we pick the top ten

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

June 18, 2005

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Bangladesh's stunning defeat of Australia will probably go down as the biggest one-day upset of all time, a rare upset achieved when the minnow batted second. Here we pick the top ten



Mohammad Ashraful engineered Bangladesh's historic triumph at Cardiff © Getty Images
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1 Bangladesh beat Australia by 5 wickets, NatWest Series, Cardiff, June 18, 2005
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The day the team with the worst ODI record - by some distance - upstaged the mightiest XI in world cricket. Before the match, Bangladesh had won only nine of their 107 one-dayers - including just two against teams outside Zimbabwe and non-Test playing nations - but they made hay under the Cardiff sun thanks mainly to a sensational century from Mohammad Ashraful. Still smarting from a heavy defeat from England in the first game, they restricted the power-packed Australian line-up to 249 before executing their run-chase to perfection.

2 Kenya beat West Indies by 73 runs, World Cup, Pune, February 29, 1996
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When Kenya took on West Indies in the league stage of the World Cup in 1996, nobody even expected a contest. It wasn't. Kenya shocked the world with a thumping 73-run win as West Indies collapsed for a paltry 93. The unheralded Rajab Ali opened the floodgates with an accurate opening spell, including the crucial wicket of Brian Lara, before Maurice Odumbe, their captain, choked the middle order with his nagging offspin. Only two West Indian batsmen managed double figures in what was then termed the greatest upset in history.

3 India beat West Indies by 43 runs, World Cup final, Lord's, June 25, 1983
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India, with just 17 wins in their first nine years in one-dayers, were considered fortunate to just be at a World Cup final. And there was surely no way they could even stand up to the mighty West Indies - eviscerating bowling line-up and all. At the halfway stage, when India were bundled out for 183, it was all going to script. But a combination of canny seam bowling, electric fielding, acrobatic catching and a complacent West Indian batting effort meant that India overcame gargantuan odds and stood atop the world.

4 Zimbabwe beat Australia by 13 runs, World Cup, Trent Bridge, June 9, 1983
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If there is one man in England who might understand what the Bangladeshis felt after their heady triumph at Cardiff it might be Duncan Fletcher, the English coach. Twenty two years back, Fletcher and his band of Zimbabwean debutants - it was their first-ever ODI game - stunned Australia in the World Cup opener at Trent Bridge in 1983. Fletcher entered when the innings was on the verge of collapse, spanked 69 in quick time and guided them to a fighting total. Australia were cruising along at 61 for no loss in reply, but Fletcher returned, snapped up four vital Australian top-order wickets that set up the historic triumph.



Maurice Odumbe: orchestrator of a few Kenyan upsets © Getty Images
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5 Bangladesh beat Pakistan by 62 runs, World Cup, Northampton, May 31, 1999
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This one might have started out as a meaningless World Cup encounter when Bangladesh faced another Goliathian opponent, but turned out to be a bolt from the blue. Bangladesh had never beaten a Test-playing nation: in fact, they had rarely looked like putting up a fight, but they put up a brave front against an awesome bowling line-up - Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq - and mustered a competitive 223. Soon they had Pakistan on the rack at 45 for 5, and the Khaled Mahmud-led bowling attack summoned all the discipline and accuracy to pull off a sensational victory.

6 Kenya beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs, World Cup, Nairobi, February 24, 2003
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The day Kenya dazed Sri Lanka with a taste of their own medicine - they set a competitive total, got a few early breakthroughs through the medium-pacers and then asphyxiated the opposition with the spinners bowling an irritating length on a wearing pitch. Kennedy Otieno anchored the innings with a patient 80 as Kenya reached 210. Martin Suji removed Sanath Jayasuriya early and then Collins Obuya, the legspinner, turned national icon in an instant with his 5 for 24. The Sri Lankan batsmen were flummoxed by his prodigious turn and, with the other spinners restricting the run-flow at the other end, they fell way short of the mark.

7 Zimbabwe beat England by 9 runs, World Cup, Albury, March 18, 1992
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Another World Cup and another league game that mattered little - but nobody had told a Zimbabwean chicken farmer. Eddo Brandes's impersonation of Bob Massie at Albury, when he swung the ball viciously, masterminded an English collapse in the face of a measly target of 134. Brandes ended with 4 for 21 and, despite the lower-order resistance, England fell nine runs short in what was the biggest reversal of the World Cup.

8 Bangladesh beat India by 15 runs, Dhaka, December 26, 2004
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The Dhaka skies sparkled in celebratory mood as Bangladesh upstaged India and pulled off their first-ever home victory. After years of agony, including embarrassing defeats to Canada and Kenya in the 2003 World Cup, Bangladesh dealt India the sucker punch on Boxing Day at Dhaka. Aftab Ahmed held the innings together with a well-paced 67 before Mashrafe Mortaza rocked the high-voltage Indian top order with some cut and swing. Sridharan Sriram and Mohammad Kaif appeared to have things in control but some scintillating Bangladesh fielding kept up the pressure before India were undone in the nervy final moments.

9 Canada beat Bangladesh by 60 runs, World Cup, Durban, February 11, 2003
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Bangladesh, a Test-playing nation, were humbled by a plumber from Canada as they crashed to an ignominious defeat in the World Cup encounter at Durban. Canada, composed of amateurs, were returning to the international fold after a gap of 24 years but stormed past Bangladesh in their opening game by successfully defending 180. Bangladesh couldn't even get close as Austin Codrington exploited the seaming conditions and ended with a memorable five-wicket haul.

10 Kenya beat India by 69 runs, Gwalior, March 6, 1998
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Kenya's astonishing victory over West Indies was a distant memory and all that was expected of them in this game was to shrivel up in the sauna of Gwalior against India. But Ravindu Shah, who kickstarted the innings with a blazing 70, Maurice Odumbe, who blasted the spinners out of sight, and Hitesh Modi, who hussled a rapid fifty, all had other ideas and Kenya amassed 265. Their bowlers kept a tight leash, despite having to endure a scorching temperature of nearly 45 degrees centigrade, and India wilted under pressure in a stunning reversal.

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo

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