Rajab Ali (centre) ran through the formidable West Indies line-up for Kenya to register one of ODI cricket’s biggest upsets in World Cup 1996 © Getty Images
One-day cricket has seen some memorable upsets with the smaller sides trumping the strong teams. Nishad Pai Vaidya revisits 14 memorable giant-killing acts in this series.
Zimbabwe recently beat Australia by three wickets in a One-Day International (ODI) at Harare. It was only their second ODI win against Australia in 31 years, the first one coming during the 1983 World Cup in England. One-day cricket has seen some smaller nations make a big name with their occasional giant killing acts. Most of these performances have come in World Cups, where they have been given the platform to rub-shoulders with the big sides. Let us revisit some of the most famous upsets in ODI history:
1. Sri Lanka vs India at Manchester, 1979 World Cup: Sri Lanka win by 47 runs
Sri Lanka was a fledgling cricketing nation in 1979 and were three years away from gaining Test status. However, they did surprise their neighbours with a victory at the World Cup in England. India put Sri Lanka in to bat and they put up a competitive 238 in 60 overs. The pillars of the Sri Lankan batting Sidath Wettimuny (67), Roy Dias (50) and Duleep Mendis (64) led Sri Lanka’s challenge. The Indian innings was played a couple of days later as the innings couldn’t start on the same day and Sunday followed. Led by Tony Opatha, Stanley de Silva and Somchandra de Silva, Sri Lanka bowled India out for 191 and registered a huge upset.
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 238 for 5 in 60 overs (Sidath Wettimuny 67, Roy Dias 50, Duleep Mendis 64; Mohinder Amarnath 3 for 40) beat India 191 in 54.1 overs (Dilip Vengsarkar 36; Tony Opatha 3 for 31, Somchandra de Silva 3 for 29) by 47 runs.
2. Australia vs Zimbabwe at Nottingham, 1983 World Cup: Zimbabwe win by 13 runs
Up against the formidable Aussies, the World Cup debutants led by Duncan Fletcher pulled off an amazing victory. Put in to bat, the Zimbabweans scored 239 for six after tottering at 94 for five. Fletcher’s innings of 69 not out was the catalyst with a cameos from Iain Butchart and Kevin Curran. In reply, Zimbabwe would Australia under immense pressure with some brilliant fielding and disciplined bowling. Fletcher was on song with the ball as well as he took four for 42 with Australia falling short by 13 runs. What an introduction to the highest level!
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 239 for 6 in 60 overs (Duncan Fletcher 69*; Dennis Lillee 2 for 47, Graham Yallop 2 for 29) beat Australia 226 for 7 in 60 overs (Kepler Wessels 76, Rodney Marsh 50; Duncan Fletcher 4 for 42) by 13 runs.
3. England vs Zimbabwe at Albury, 1992 World Cup: Zimbabwe win by nine runs
England were already through to the semi-final of the 1992 World Cup when they met Zimbabwe for their last league game at Albury. Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth dismissed Zimbabwe for a paltry 134, a target that shouldn’t have challenged them. But, Eddo Brandes made waves with the ball as he dismissed Graham Gooch first ball. Brandes went on to take four off the top five and England had slumped to 43 for five. Neil Fairbrother and Alex Stewart tried to rescue the England batting but they were bowled out for 125 in the last over.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 134 in 46.1 overs (Dave Houghton 29; Ian Botham 3 for 23, Richard Illingworth 3 for 33) beat England 125 in 49.1 overs (Alec Stewart 29; Eddo Brandes 4 for 21) by 9 runs.
4. Kenya vs West Indies at Pune, 1996 World Cup: Kenya won by 73 runs
The biggest upset of the 1996 World Cup. A formidable West Indies side was expected to steam-roll Kenya quite easily. Once the bowlers combined to bowl Kenya out for 166, the result was a foregone conclusion. But Rajab Ali had other ideas. Ali dismissed Richie Richardson and Brian Lara early in the innings to set the cat amongst the pigeons. Lara was famously caught clumsily by the bulky Tariq Iqbal behind the stumps. From being shocked at 33 for three, West Indies continued to slump and were ultimately bowled out for 93. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was the top scorer with 19.
Brief scores: Kenya 166 in 49.3 overs (Steve Tikolo 29; Courtney Walsh 3 for 46, Roger Harper 3 for 15) beat West Indies 93 in 35.2 overs (Shivnarine Chanderpaul 19; Rajab Ali 3 for 17) by 73 runs.
5. India vs Kenya at Gwalior, Coca-Cola Triangular Series 1998: Kenya win by 69 runs
The Coca-Cola Triangular series of 1998 had India pitted against Bangladesh and India. India making it to the final was expected and it was supposed to be a tussle between Bangladesh and Kenya for being the other finalist. Astonishingly, the Kenyans managed to pull one back against India at Gwalior, though the hosts fielded a full-strength side. Maurice Odumbe, Ravindu Shah and Hitesh Modi struck fifties to take Kenya to 265. Then, a batting line-up comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Rahul Dravid, Nayan Mongia, Robin Singh, Mohammad Azharuddin and the debutant Jatin Paranjape collapsed under pressure to be bowled out for 196. A couple of days later, India returned the favour with a nine-wicket victory over Kenya in the final at Kolkata.
Brief scores: Kenya 265 for 5 in 50 overs (Ravindu Shah 70, Maurice Odumbe 83, Hitesh Modi 51; Anil Kumble 2 for 27) beat India 196 (Rahul Dravid 33; Steve Tikolo 3 for 29, Maurice Odumbe 3 for 14) by 69 runs.
6. Bangladesh vs Pakistan at Northampton, 1999 World Cup: Bangladesh win by 62 runs
This upset brought Bangladesh cricket into the limelight and played a huge role in them getting their Test status a year down the line. Pakistan put Bangladesh in to bat and led by Shahriar Hossain and Akram Khan, they posted 223. Saqlain Mushtaq managed to take five wickets for 35. In reply, Pakistan wilted as they were reduced to 42 for five. Khaled Mahmud’s dibly-dobly bowling in swinging conditions did the trick early as he took three wickets. Though Azhar Mahmood and Wasim Akram tried to put up a stand of sorts but Pakistan were bowled out for 161 to hand Bangladesh their maiden win against a big side.
Brief scores: Bangladesh 223 for 9 in 50 overs (Akram Khan 42; Saqlain Mushtaq 5 for 35) beat Pakistan 161 in 44.3 overs (Azhar Mahmood 29, Wasim Akram 29; Khaled Mahmud 3 for 31) by 62 runs.
7. Bangladesh vs Australia at Cardiff, NatWest Series 2005: Bangladesh win by five wickets
The Australians were in woeful form as they commenced their tour to England in 2005. They had lost a tour game to Somerset and were then beaten comprehensively by England in the only T20 International. But, against Bangladesh, in their tri-series opener, one expected them to cross the line comfortably. Ahead of the game, Andrew Symonds was left out due to disciplinary issues. The Bangladesh seamers had Australia in trouble early on and after a a sound partnership from Damien Martyn and Michael Clarke, they recovered to post 249. Bangladesh kept chipping away at the total, but Mohammad Ashraful took control of the game with Habibul Bashar to put Bangladesh on course. Ashraful was dismissed for exactly 100 with Bangladesh on the brink of making history. Some fearless batting by Aftab Ahmed helped Bangladesh win the game in the last over. The celebrations would be remembered for years to come!
Brief scores: Australia 249 for 5 in 50 overs (Damien Martyn 77, Michael Clarke 54; Tapash Baishya 3 for 69) lost to Bangladesh 250 for 5 in 49.2 overs (Mohammad Ashraful 100, Habibul Bashar 47; Jason Gillespie 2 for 41) by 5 wickets.
To be concluded.
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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)