Five of the Greatest Matches In ICC Cricket World Cup History
The New Year is upon us and during a great sporting year that lies ahead, the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the standout events on the calendar. The ten top ODI sides from around the globe are heading for the UK in a long tournament that runs from the 30th of May, all the way through to mid-July.While we’re all looking to pick a winner and take a profitable Satta, it’s a good time to look back at some of the greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history.
2019 will produce its fair share of thrilling encounters. But will any be able to compare with these greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history, in terms of sheer excitement?
What Are The Greatest Matches in ICC Cricket World Cup History?
2015 Australia v New Zealand: Group Stage
These co-hosts and cross-Tasman rivals would eventually meet in the 2015 final. But before that, Australia and New Zealand would play out one of the greatest cricket world cup games of all time. Drawn together in Pool A, both sides were expected to qualify for the knockouts. They duly began with comfortable wins in the early stages.
By the time the teams reached Eden Park on February 28, progression was virtually assured. But there would be no easing off in a game between such great rivals. Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. But the decision seemed to have backfired when the batting lineup slumped to 106-9. A last wicket partnership of 45, led by Brad Haddin, took the Aussies to 151. Trent Boult returned best Kiwi figures of 5/27.
In reply, a typically quick-fire 50 from Brendon McCullum meant that New Zealand were cruising at 78-1. However, a hostile spell from Mitchell Starc induced a middle order slump and wickets fell steadily in the small run chase. Fortunately for the Kiwis, there was plenty of time left in the game. Kane Williamson was left standing as he lost partners at the other end.
With just one wicket left and Trent Boult at the crease, Williamson slapped Pat Cummins for six to seal the narrowest of victories. Australia eventually earned their revenge by beating New Zealand in the final. By then, the two teams had already produced one of the greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history in this thrilling group game.
1999 Australia v South Africa: Semi Final
Australia may have lost that group game to New Zealand in 2015. Still, 16 years earlier, they were on the right end of another tight finish. The teams traveled to Edgbaston for this 1999 semifinal. With one of their strongest teams ever, South Africa were highly fancied to make it to the final itself.
Those taking a Satta on Hansie Cronje’s side would have been encouraged as Shaun Pollock took five wickets to restrict the Aussies to just 213 all out from 49.2 overs. South Africa’s reply started positively enough as Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs put on 48 for the first wicket. After a flurry of quick wickets, Jacques Kallis and Jonty Rhodes steadied things in the middle order.
Then came the moment of drama. With the scores level on 213, Lance Klusener attempted a risky single to mid off and with Alan Donald failing to hear his partner’s call, the pair were stranded at the same end as Adam Gilchrist whipped off the bails to conclude a simple run out. Australia progressed to the final by virtue of a better finish in the Super Sixes, Meanwhile, South Africa simply acquired the ‘chokers’ tag that has dogged the side ever since. Sadly, it landed them on the list of the greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history.
2011 England v Ireland: Group Match
England may be the favourites for those taking a Satta on the outright winner of the 2019 Cricket World Cup. But over the years, they have been on the wrong end of some notable upsets. The Netherlands have claimed victory over the English in the T20 tournament. But in the 50 over version, Andrew Strauss’ side played their part in Ireland’s greatest ever cricketing moment.
We could have arguably included England’s tie with India in the same tournament. For sheer drama, however, this group game eclipses that fixture on the list of greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history. In the match at Bengaluru, played on March 2, England batted first and made a healthy 328-7. These were the days when 300 was still an above average score in 50 over cricket. After Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen all made half centuries, England were looking comfortable at the break.
Will Porterfield was bowled by Jimmy Anderson from the fourth ball of Ireland’s reply. Few would have given his side any chance of an upset. Paul Stirling and former England ODI player Ed Joyce steadied things. But at 111/5 in the 25th over, there could surely be only one winner.
Enter Kevin O’Brien, who went on to play one of the greatest ODI innings of all time. The big all rounder smashed a brilliant 113 from just 63 balls, flaying the English bowling to all parts and picking up 13 fours and six sixes along the way.
O’Brien was run out with 12 runs still needed from 11 balls. Still, he had effectively already won the game with this Man of the Match display. John Mooney and Trent Johnson had to get their side over the line with five balls to spare. Many regard this as the biggest World Cup upset of all.
2015 New Zealand v South Africa: Semi Final
Our fourth game of the greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history focuses on the 2015 tournament. Once again, we’re looking at a New Zealand side who arguably were the best team over the length of the competition. Many readers will argue the case for different games to be included. However, in terms of great comebacks, this effort from the Kiwis will be tough to beat.
In a rain affected game, South Africa made a strong start. In their allotted 43 overs, AB De Villiers side made 281/5. It was a more than competitive total and one that was made even harder for New Zealand when the Duckworth Lewis calculations altered their target to 298 from those same 43 overs.
The reply started positive enough, thanks to yet another half century from Brendon McCullum. But at 149/4 and with their top order all in the hutch, New Zealand were an outside Satta at this stage. The Kiwis’ middle order were big hitters, but not known for staying at the crease for any length of time. Corey Anderson started the charge to fire up their fans. The left hander made 58 from 57 balls, but it was Grant Elliott who really sealed this game. He eventually made an undefeated 84 from 73 deliveries.
New Zealand needed 12 from the last over, but with Dale Steyn bowling, South Africa remained marginal favourites. With just two balls left, the Kiwis still needed five runs. With viewers wondering if Elliott would look to farm the strike, he smashed Steyn for six over long on to seal the win with one ball to spare. New Zealand were through to their first major final. Meanwhile, the choking curse had hit again for the devastated South Africans.
1983 India v West Indies: Final
When the 1983 tournament returned to England in 1983, the World Cup had only ever seen one winner. The great West Indian team of the 1970s had lifted the inaugural trophy in 1975, and again in 1979. This was a squad carrying some of the greats of the game including Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Gordon Greenidge. It’s fair to say that if you were taking a Satta on the 1983 final, the Windies would have got your vote.
India had, however, impressed during the group stage and had actually beaten the West Indies by 34 runs at Old Trafford and had unexpectedly qualified ahead of 1975 finalists Australia. The team then eased past a subdued England in the semis. They were given little chance in the final, which took place at Lord’s on June 25.
West Indies were obvious favourites. Their bowling attack, which was widely recognised as the best in the world at that time, restricted India to just 183 all out in 54.4 overs. Eight of India’s batters made double figures. But with wickets shared among the pace attack of Roberts. Marshall, Holding and Garner, the top score was a modest 38 from Kris Srikkanth.
Live Satta betting wasn’t as commonplace in 1983. But the Windies would have started their chase of 184 at a very short price. The early wicket of Gordon Greenidge, bowled by Balwinder Sandhu for just one, seemed unlikely to have any effect as Haynes and Richards took the score to 50/1.
From there, however, Madan Lal started the rot and together with Mohinder Amarnath, the pair shared six wickets as the Windies collapsed. Richards’ 33 was the top score. With the last pair together needing 44 to win, Amarnath pinned Michael Holding LBW to seal a dramatic victory.
India had truly arrived on the World Cup stage. Although they’ve enjoyed much success ever since, that 1983 triumph in one of the greatest matches in ICC Cricket World Cup history laid the platform for the great ODI sides that followed.