23 unforgettable moments in 2015 World Cup

Sports always give fans moments to cherish, argue, debate and memories that last forever. For cricket, the recently concluded ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was the pinnacle event and the mentioned moments were at galore. The end of the event has left a void but the moments to remember were plentiful.

Suvajit Mustafi lists down 23 such unforgettable moments full of controversies, sportsmanship and truly iconic.

 

 

1:  Umpire’s blunder denies James Taylor an opportunity for a World Cup ton

A disappointed James Taylor argues with the Australian players and the umpire Aleem Dar
A disappointed James Taylor argues with the Australian players and the umpire Aleem Dar

Australians were expected to win the encounter at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which was theirs and England’s opening game of the tournament. While the English batsmen fell like ninepins, it was a young 25-year-old James Taylor, who stood against the Australian attack, battling to salvage English pride. With nine wickets down and Taylor batting on 98, he was adjudged leg-before by the umpire, which the batsman reviewed. The delivery was found to be missing the stumps and hence given ‘not out’. However, Taylor had attempted to take a single and James Anderson was caught short of his crease after Glenn Maxwell hit one direct at stumps. Anderson was given out with Taylor stranded on 98.

According to the game’s rules, the ball was dead immediately after the umpire gave Taylor out, which means that Anderson was given run out after the umpire ruled the batsman out. Irrespective of the decision, Australia would have won, but it denied Taylor a World Cup hundred and left a question mark on the credibility of the men who officiate the game. The on-field umpires here were Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena, while the third umpire was Billy Bowden. ICC did accept the blunder.
 

2:  Calm Virat Kohli up against a temperamental Sohail Khan

Umpire intervenes when Sohail Khan shares his piece of mind with India’s Virat Kohli
Umpire intervenes when Sohail Khan shares his piece of mind with India’s Virat Kohli

When Sohail Khan was selected in Pakistan’s World Cup squad, he made a statement that he didn’t care about ViratKohli’s reputation and also called him a “Tiger at home”. Knowing Kohli’s reputation of feisty temper, it was expected that sparks would fly when Kohli and Sohail would meet face-to-face on both their sides’ World Cup opener at Adelaide. Despite provocations, Kohli remained calm and focused on his job, striking a brilliant hundred. However, it was Sohail who dismissed the batsman and later picked up five wickets.

Later that evening when Sohail came out to bat, Virat mocked him with some comments to the former’s dislike. India were only two wickets from victory. Sohail charged towards Kohli like a raging bull, ready for a fist fight, Kohli kept his composure and just smiled. Without saying, Kohli’s body language said it all, “I have scored a hundred and my side is winning. You said a lot before the match, now save your sinking ship.” It was good to see a volatile Kohli averting a moment that could have turned ugly but it was a little tiff that delighted the fans.
 

3:  John Mooney hits the winning runs

John Mooney pumps up his fists after scoring the winning runs
John Mooney pumps up his fists after scoring the winning runs

Ireland’s John Mooney has made it a habit of scoring the winning runs against the Full Members. In 2011, he hit the winning boundary in Bangalore and justified Kevin O’Brien’s brilliant knock and even against West Indies in this edition, it was him who does it. When Mooney, played the pull, it flew over the wicket-keeper’s head to a boundary. It meant that Ireland opened their World Cup with a triumph over West Indies at Nelson. It was indeed a moment that will be etched in the annals of Irish cricket history forever.
 

4:  Chris Gayle becomes first batsman to score World Cup double hundred

Chris Gayle celebrates his 200 in a manner only he could
Chris Gayle celebrates his 200 in a manner only he could

When he gets going, there are a very few who can match him and unfortunately a woefully out of form Chris Gayle chose Zimbabwe to hit form. The Jamaican batsman hammered a record 16 sixes and became the first batsman in the World Cup history to score a double hundred. In fact, he and Marlon Samuels shared 372-runs partnership, which is the highest in One-Day Internationals (ODI) history.

In the previous game, West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) chief Dave Cameron had re-tweeted an offensive tweet about Gayle, for which the former was heavily criticised. Gayle replied in the most fitting way, slamming a 215 from 147 balls at the Manuka Oval in Canberra.

 

 

5:  Afghanistan mark their first World Cup win

Shapoor Zadran celebrates after hitting the winning runs
Shapoor Zadran celebrates after hitting the winning runs

ShapoorZadran had bowled brilliantly and picked up four wickets to dismiss Scotland for 210 at Dunedin.SamiullahShenwari had probably played the innings of the tournament to bring the Afghans on brink of a memorable win. He was dismissed for 96 and now it was all up to Shapoor again. Four from four were needed, and they had a wicket on hand.

Attempting a yorker, Iain Wardlaw bowled a low full-toss, which Shapoor picked up over the leg for a boundary. The scenes that followed were unbelievable. Shapoor raced to one end of the ground, fell on his knees, arms spread and Shenwari’s joys too knew no bounds as he sprinted to the field. A war torn nation, whose most players spent their growing up years in refugee camp had won their first ever game in the World Cup.The nation of Afghanistan erupted in joy.

 

 

6:  The ‘six’ Kane Williamson and Eden Park will never forget

The six that sealed the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy
The six that sealed the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy

The Kiwis hate losing and there’s nothing worse than a loss against Australia, that too at home. Apart from two crucial points in Pool A, also at stake was pride and the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy. It was decided before the match that the winner of this game would take the trophy and New Zealand, till then had done phenomenally well to stake a claim at the prize. Bowling out Australia for 151, the Kiwis had raced to 78 for one, half way through the eighth over.

It was a hostile bowling spell from Mitchell Starc, who ensured that wickets kept tumbling and from 131 for four, New Zealand were soon reduced to 146 for nine. At one end stood a helpless Kane Williamson, who was batting beautifully and he drew little confidence from the batting abilities of Trent Boult, who had earlier picked up five wickets. Not taking chances, in the first ball of 24th over, Williamson made room and tonked a full-length ball from Pat Cummins over mid-on for six.

In a remarkably calm way, Williamson pulled off a spectacular win and with the victory, the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy came back to New Zealand.

 

 

7:  John Mooney’s catch that turned the match

John Mooney in action against Zimbabwe at Hobart
John Mooney in action against Zimbabwe at Hobart

Zimbabwe needed 32 more to win from 20 balls and on strike was in form Sean Williams, batting at 96. Zimbabwe had done remarkably well to reach 300, after being 74 for four at one stage. Skipper Brendan Taylor was out after a brilliant ton but Williams carried on.

Williams struck one down the leg-side to the deep midwicket boundary. John Mooney fielding there took a catch at the edge of the boundary rope. Replays did suggest that Mooney might have touched the boundary cushion, but he was confident that he caught it and after a lot of replays, the umpires gave it in the favour of the fielding side. That wicket led to the defeat of the African side and ended their qualification chances to the next stage.

The loss obviously upset the fans back home and newspaper Zimbabwe Herald launched an attack on Mooney, targeting the all-rounder’s personal life with a controversial headline, “Alcoholic dumps Zim out of WC”. This article by Robson Sharuko was criticised by both, Zimbabwean as well as Irish players. Skipper Taylor, himself apologised to Mooney on behalf of the daily.

 

 

8:  Mahmudullah becomes the first Bangladesh batsman to score a World Cup century

Mahmudullah celebrates after scoring his maiden ODI hundred
Mahmudullah celebrates after scoring his maiden ODI hundred

Mahmuddulah had never scored a hundred in his ODI career but he chose the grandest stages of all for the feat. Against England at Adelaide Oval, he came out to bat when the side was struggling at eight for two. In what was one of the greatest knocks produced by a Bangladeshi batsman, Mahmudullah struck 103, to help Bangladesh to 275. The moment will be savoured by fans, as the batsman displayed lots of emotions and looked towards heaven.

Bangladesh won the match and that killed England’s hopes to proceed to further stages. Mahmudullah was awarded the man-of-the-match and he also scored another hundred in the next match.

 

 

9:  Chris Jordan’s run out against Bangladesh

Chris Jordan makes a desperate attempt to make it to the crease
Chris Jordan makes a desperate attempt to make it to the crease

Chris Jordan’s skills with the willow are quite well-known and it’s safe to say that had he been around for some time, there was a possibility of an England win. Jordan had to beat a Shakib Al Hasan throw to reach the crease and whether he did that is a matter of debate and one is bound to favour the side, he/she supports.

Replays show that Jordan’s bat had bounced as it hit the ground and while it was well past the line, it was also partially in the air. Historically the benefit of doubt has mostly gone to the batsmen, but even after a very long look, TV umpire Simon Fry gave it in Bangladesh’s favour, who later managed to pull off a 15-run win to seal the quarter-final spot.

 

Bangladesh cricketers celebrate after the famous win against England at Adelaide.
Bangladesh cricketers celebrate after the famous win against England at Adelaide.

 

 

 

 

 

10:  Virat Kohli congratulates Brendan Taylor

Virat Kohli congratulates Brendan Taylor on his career after the latter departs post an incredible innings, which was his last for Zimbabwe
Virat Kohli congratulates Brendan Taylor on his career after the latter departs post an incredible innings, which was his last for Zimbabwe

These were emotional scenes in Eden Park, Auckland. Zimbabwe’s stand-in skipper Brendan Taylor, who was playing his last ODI for Zimbabwe, was just out after playing a remarkable knock of 138 from 110.

While walking out, the crowd acknowledged the cricketer’s feat. Usually with temperamental ViratKohli, one always expects the unexpected but in a gesture of true sportsmanship. The Indian vice-captain walked up to Taylor and congratulated the Zimbabwean cricketer. Even ShikharDhawan and Suresh Raina followed Kohli in the act. Taylor appreciated it and later in the press conference stated, “It was nice from some of the Indian guys – Shikhar, Virat and Suresh came up to me. That really was quite touching for me. They didn’t have to do that. They’re very established players, and yeah, that was a very nice touch that they did.”

 

 

11:  Thanks to Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed becomes the first Pakistani wicket-keeper to score a World Cup hundred

Selfless Umar Akmal celebrates the win with centurion Umar Akmal
Selfless Umar Akmal celebrates the win with centurion Umar Akmal

Historically Pakistan has been a side which has ripped by internal rifts, so it was wonderful to see one player helping the other to achieve a personal landmark. Though it delayed the much needed victory, but such camaraderie is quite rarely seen in Pakistan cricket.

Sarfaraz Ahmed was at 91 and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq got out hit-wicket. At that moment, Pakistan needed only 29 runs to win and Umar Akmal who just arrived at crease was in a hurry to end the match. He then realised that by trying to finish it off his partner Sarfraz, would miss out on the opportunity to get to the three-figure mark. From there on, Akmal relaxed the accelerator and applied brakes on scoring and ensured his partner had the scoring opportunities.During the 46th over, it looked the wicketkeeper batsman could miss his hundred as only five runs were needed to win and he was four short of the milestone. But he ensured he got it by smacking one over mid-wicket and the awaited moment arrived.Sarfaraz became the first Pakistani batsman to score a hundred in the World Cup after eight years and also the first wicketkeeper from the country to achieve the feat in a World Cup. After getting the hundred he didn’t finish it off, in fact he blocked the next four balls of the over so that his partner Akmal got the opportunity to score the winning the run, who exactly did so. This act did surprise the team management, it did delay the victory but the effect in had on developing the bond must be priceless.

 

 

12:  Kulasekara does a Gilchrist

It was the World Cup quarter-final and Sri Lankan wickets fell like ninepins. The score was 116 for six and all NuwanKulasekara had to do was support the in-form Kumar Sangakkara at the other end. Kulasekara is no mug with the bat and could have given the much needed support to the Sri Lankan legend. However, he had nicked the second ball he faced to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. The bowler JP Duminy and the keeper appealed loud but the umpire didn’t hear or see the big deflection, much to surprise of South Africans.

Kulasekara, knowing he had edged that, walked off. Sangakkara, at the non-striker’s end appreciated his teammate’s sportsmanship and patted him on his way back. The moment isn’t much spoken about but it takes courage to do so in a World Cup knockout clash, especially when your side is in trouble. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 133. Kulasekara brought back reminiscence of 2003 World Cup semi-final, when Adam Gilchrist did the same and this time Sri Lanka was the team that benefitted.

 

 

13:  South Africa win their first ever World Cup knockout game

The much awaited moment. Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis celebrate South Africa’s first ever World Cup knockout win
The much awaited moment. Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis celebrate South Africa’s first ever World Cup knockout win

They were robbed off a win in Sydney in semi-final in 1992, when they were asked to score 22 from one ball. Then in 1996, a Brian Lara classic knocked them out in the quarter-final stage. In 1999, the Allan Donald and Lance Klusener mix-up resulted in their ouster at the semi-final stage. A loss at semi-final stage in 2007 and in 2011 it was another choke in the quarter-final. South Africa had never won a knockout match in a World Cup.

The moment came in Sydney, when LasithMalinga bowled a slower one and Quinton de Kock smacked it through the covers to ensure a South African win. The jinx was broken and the better side qualified to the next stage.

 

 

14:  Rubel’s send-off to Kohli

Rubel Hossain gives his piece of mind to Virat Kohli
Rubel Hossain gives his piece of mind to Virat Kohli

In the World Cup 2011 opening game, ViratKohli playing in his first World Cup match struck a hundred. There was a moment when he abused RubelHossain when the bowler gave him glaring looks. Kohli with a hundred came on top that time.

Four years down the line, in a World Cup quarter-final, Rubel got the better off Kohli and dismissed him for three. The bowler didn’t hold back after dismissing India’s best batsman and charged towards him, giving him a piece of his mind. However Rubel’s team-mates pulled him back and averted an ugly situation that could be.

 

 

15:  When Mashrafe Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed redefined chest-bump

Mashrafe Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed celebrate the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane
Mashrafe Mortaza and Taskin Ahmed celebrate the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane

Over the years, fall of wickets have been celebrated in the most amusing fashions but this was an unseen moment. The bowler Taskin Ahmed celebrated the fall of AjinkyaRahane’s wicket in the quarter-final with his skipper MashrafeMortaza in the most unique way.

The duo celebrated the moment by jumping and bumping their chests against each other. Not once, but a couple of times, but the celebration didn’t really end well as both men landed on the ground on their butts. In a crucial tournament like that, and with both key players in question, could they afford an unwanted injury?

 

 

16:  Rubel denied Rohit Sharma’s wicket; a furore in Bangladesh

The ‘no-ball’ that wasn’t
The ‘no-ball’ that wasn’t

Rohit Sharma was batting on 90, when he dispatched a full-toss from RubelHossain straight to fielder at deep mid-wicket. The umpires ruled in a “no-ball” and replays showed it was a contentious decision. They could have let the third umpire judge it but they did not. Rubel was denied Rohit’s wicket, who went on to score 137.

Bangladesh lost the quarter-final game and this decision along with a few others caused a furore in the country. Umpire’s effigies were burnt and later the then ICC President Mustafa Kamal, who too is a Bangladeshi, cried foul play. It led to his resignation from the post. Even Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused the umpires and reasoned it the cause for her side’s exit from the tournament.

 

 

17:  Wahab Riaz hugs Shane Watson

After a fierce contest, Wahab Riaz hugs Shane Watson and congratulates him on the win
After a fierce contest, Wahab Riaz hugs Shane Watson and congratulates him on the win

WahabRiazprobably bowled the most inspiring spell of the tournament — in the quarter-final against Australia. He dismissed David Warner and Michael Clarke, and went on to torment Shane Watson. He bowled with fire and venom, and missed Watson’s helmet on several occasions. By Watson’s own admission that it was the deadliest spell of bowling he had encountered. It was a feisty battle, which Wahab had almost won, had Rahat Ali hold onto the simple catch at deep square-leg.

There were war of words and Wahab mocked Watson’s inability to counter the former’s pace. Australia managed to pull it off and after the match; a teary Wahab hugged Watson and congratulated him for the win. It was an intense battle on the field and once over, true sportsmanship prevailed.

 

 

18:  Daniel Vettori’s catch at Wellington quarter-final to dismiss Marlon Samuels

Daniel Vettori takes a spectacular catch
Daniel Vettori takes a spectacular catch

At 36, there were slim chances for Daniel Vettori to even make it to the New Zealand side for the World Cup. A fragile body and years in exile from international cricket didn’t stop the Kiwi legend playing one of the most vital roles in his side’s success in the tournament.

In the quarter-final at Wellington, Martin Guptill’s 237 took the Blackcaps to a score of 393. West Indies needed quick runs and they did so with Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels having launched an onslaught on the Kiwi bowlers. Samuels made room and carved a Trent Boult ball over backward point. It seemed as if it was safely following its route for the maximum but came in between – Vettori. In a stunning effort, the veteran timed his jump to perfection, and plucked the ball with his left hand. Even landing down he maintained his balance and didn’t fall over the rope. The whole of New Zealand side rushed towards him and the celebrations that followed was one of its kinds.

 

 

19:  Grant Elliott gives the sport another ‘spirit of the game’ moment

New Zealand’s Grant Elliott lends his hand to Dale Steyn after his heroic knock
New Zealand’s Grant Elliott lends his hand to Dale Steyn after his heroic knock

Two balls, five runs to win, Grant Elliott on strike and the bowler is Dale Steyn. Expect the unexpected, Elliott, who was the last man to be included in the Blackcaps squad for the World Cup, smacks the fast bowler for a six. New Zealand break the semi-final jinx and sail to the final. For South Africa, the scenes are distraught.

While New Zealand players celebrated with the Eden Park erupting, many of the South African players broke down on the field. The bowler Steyn was lying down on the turf with hands on his head, distraught and then came the arms of comfort from Elliott as he pulled the bowler up. Even in the joy of win, Elliott had not forgotten the spirit of the game and respect for the opponent. The above photograph immediately gained a cult status and has been compared to the Brett Lee and Andrew Flintoff moment in Ashes 2005. Undoubtedly, this was the moment of the mega-event.

 

 

 

20:  Teary-eyed MS Dhoni speaks at the presentation ceremony after India’s semis loss at SCG

Close-up of Dhoni’s eyes
Close-up of Dhoni’s eyes during the presentation ceremony

It’s never a good feeling to part with something you are very close with. After remaining the World Champions for four long years, India had to give it up. They lost to Australia in the semis and there were speculations that it might be Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s last appearance in national colours.

When Dhoni was asked in the presentation ceremony that if he would continue playing this form, the Indian captain paused for a while. His eyes were teary, voice choked, but the smile remained. It was a rare display of emotion from the Captain Cool, as he said, “I’m 33, I’m still running, still fit. Next year, T20 World Cup, will be time to decide about 2019 or not.” Indeed it’s never easy to part with something that’s a part of you, same is the case with Dhoni and Indian cricket.

 

 

21:  Glenn Maxwell leaves interview to hug Sachin Tendulkar after World Cup win

It was one of the greatest moments in Glenn Maxwell’s life when he won the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. After the win, he and George Bailey were giving interview to Simon Doull, when Sachin Tendulkar was passing the ground with the presentation ceremony contingent from near proximity. Maxwell left the interview mid-way and rushed towards the cricket legend and hugged him, before sprinting back to the interview.

Tendulkar and Maxwell have been a part of Mumbai Indians squad. It was heartening to see a young player show so much respect to one of the greatest of the game.

 

 

22:  N Srinivasan booed, while Sachin Tendulkar cheered in World Cup final presentation ceremony

ICC Chairman N Srinivasan and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar at the presentation ceremony in the World Cup final
ICC Chairman N Srinivasan and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar at the presentation ceremony in the World Cup final

Even one and half years after his retirement from the sport, Sachin Tendulkar still continues to rule the hearts of the fans. Not just in India but all over the globe. In the presentation ceremony of the World Cup final, while Mark Nicholas introduced the dignitaries on the stage, Tendulkar received a hero’s applause. The whole of Melbourne Cricket Ground cheered for the Little Master, while standing next to him was ICC Chairman N Srinivasan, who was booed by the same crowd.

Over the last few years, Srinivasan has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Here, he was representing the cricket’s governing body but the fans let him know that how much he is despised even in a far away land.

 

 

23:  Teary Michael Clarke remembers his “16th player” Phil Hughes after the World Cup win

Michael Clarke entering the ground with black arm band in memory of the late cricketer Phillip Hughes
Michael Clarke entering the ground with black arm band in memory of the late cricketer Phillip Hughes

It was a fitting farewell for Michael Clarke from limited-overs cricket. It was a difficult summer for him. At one end injuries threatened the end of his career and at the other the death of his best friend Phil Hughes. After winning the World Cup, in his farewell speech, he remembered Hughes, who passed away in November last year.

Clarke had moist eyes and remembered Hughes in his post-match speech. Pointing towards his arms he said, “It’s got PH on it, I’ll wear it every time I play for Australia. Been a really tough few months and everyone would say we played this World Cup with 16 players. Tonight is dedicated to our little brother. Hughesy used to party as well as any of them.”

 

 

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)