January 26, 2015

You're not so big now, brother

As the World Cup looms ever closer, a reminder of some days when things didn't go quite according to plan

Emerald is the new pink: Kevin O'Brien and his team-mates celebrate their win over England in 2011 © Getty Images

Kenya beat West Indies
Still probably the biggest World Cup shock of all, this defeat of West Indies in Pune on Leap Year Day 1996 kicked off a memorable few years for Kenyan cricket. They had made only 166, but West Indies slumped to 33 for 3 when Brian Lara's edge lodged between the thighs of the portly wicketkeeper Tariq Iqbal. Wickets kept falling, and the Windies were stunned for 93.

Ireland beat England
Nobody gave Ireland much chance after England ran up 327 for 8 in Bangalore in 2011. Needing 6.5 an over, Ireland dipped to 113 for 5 at halfway, needing a further 215. Impossible, surely? Not for Kevin O'Brien, who slapped a century in just 50 balls. He departed with victory tantalisingly close, but John Mooney ensured a wild night for the men in green.

India beat West Indies
Not such a shock these days, perhaps - but back in 1983, West Indies were odds-on for a third successive World Cup victory, especially after restricting surprise finalists India to 183 at Lord's. However, India's gentle seamers made inroads against batsmen who were probably over-confident that victory was inevitable - and when Viv Richards was well caught by Kapil Dev, running back at midwicket, the trouble really started. West Indies were all out for 140… and one-day cricket was never quite the same again.

Zimbabwe win their first ODI, beating Australia at the 1983 World Cup © Getty Images

Zimbabwe beat Australia
Zimbabwe's first official one-day international pitched them in at the deep end: against Australia, at Trent Bridge in 1983. But, led by a combative allrounder called Duncan Fletcher (whatever happened to him?), Zimbabwe came out on top. First Fletcher spanked 69 not out to lift his side to a competitive total of 239, then took 4 for 42 as the Aussies fell just short.

Bangladesh beat Pakistan
A welcome shock in a 1999 tournament otherwise devoid of them, Bangladesh overcame Pakistan in Northampton by the wide margin of 62 runs. Pakistan were already assured of advancing to the next phase and didn't seem to bothered by their defeat: Wasim Akram, their captain, said "I'm happy we lost to our brothers." One man with mixed feelings about the result was Gordon Greenidge, Bangladesh's coach for the tournament: he had been sacked shortly before the game.

Ireland beat Pakistan
St Patrick's Day, and a green pitch in Kingston - the omens were on Ireland's side in their first World Cup in 2007, and they duly stunned Pakistan, bowling them out for 132. A wobble in which three wickets tumbled for five left Ireland an anxious 113 for 7, but they squeaked home, leaving Jamaica awash with Guinness. As Pakistan had already lost to West Indies, and Ireland had tied with Zimbabwe, it meant Pakistan were out of the competition almost before it had started. That night, to compound their misery, Pakistan's coach Bob Woolmer died in his hotel room.

Bangladesh's victory over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup gave them Test status © Getty Images

Bangladesh beat India
While Ireland were eliminating Pakistan, over in Trinidad, Bangladesh were effectively ousting India from the 2007 tournament, beating them for only the second time in one-day internationals (the overall score now is 24-3). India's 191 never looked enough, and Bangladesh sailed home with few alarms. There were fifties for Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim - both under 18 at the time - and another for Shakib Al Hasan, not 20 then.

South Africa beat Australia
Again, not a surprise these days - but this match in Sydney in 1992 was South Africa's World Cup debut, after they were squeezed into the competition late on. Allan Donald seemed to have started the match with the wicket of Geoff Marsh, but the umpire thought otherwise. But it didn't make much difference: no Australian passed 30, then Kepler Wessels put his former team-mates to the sword with 81 not out in a nine-wicket win. Australia had already lost to New Zealand, and this result left them playing catch-up; they eventually failed to qualify for the later stages of their own party.

Canada beat Bangladesh
Bangladesh's win over Pakistan in 1999 had helped them acquire Test status, but their first match in 2003, in Durban, set the tone for a woeful tournament. Canada managed only 180 but Bangladesh were never in touch: Austin Codrington, for a few days the world's most famous dreadlocked plumber, took 5 for 27 as they were shot out for 120. Bangladesh's Cup went from bad to worse: in their next match, against Sri Lanka in Pietermaritzburg, they were 5 for 4 by the end of the first over of the day.

Kepler Wessels put one over his former team-mates at the 1992 World Cup © Getty Images

Kenya beat Sri Lanka
Elsewhere in 2003 the big story was Kenya's advance to the semi-finals. They were helped by New Zealand conceding their match over security fears, but Sri Lanka braved the trip to Nairobi - and probably wished they hadn't: an unfortunate bout of food poisoning didn't help them as they slid to a 53-run defeat. Collins Obuya, who later played a few matches for Warwickshire, took 5 for 24 with his crafty legspin.

Zimbabwe beat England
England were the form team at the start of the 1992 World Cup, and although they had just lost to New Zealand they were expected to polish Zimbabwe off in Albury, on the Victoria-NSW border. That looked even more certain when Zimbabwe were rolled for 134. But skipper Graham Gooch fell first ball to Eddo Brandes, who later inflicted a similar duck on his old schoolmate Graeme Hick, and England were eventually all out an embarrassing nine runs short. Zimbabwe also beat South Africa in Chelmsford in 1999.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2014. Ask Steven is now on Facebook

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