Over the years, the Cricket World Cup has produced some memorable moments. So, it was difficult to choose the top 10 and rank them in that order.
The thin border between success and failure is also strongly emphasised, even if the list includes certain highlights from specific people. Of course, there are other instances that received honourable mentions for those that came close to making the final cut.
Kapil Dev’s legendary trophy-lifting at Lord’s following India’s historic victory against the West Indies in 1983 just didn’t fit. As we are approaching the 2023 World Cup, there have been many unforgettable moments on the pitch, and we’ve picked the top 10 here from the past World Cups.
10. The 175-run Stand Kapil Dev made for India against Zimbabwe in 1983
Against Zimbabwe in 1983, the legendary Indian batsman put in a remarkable performance. When Kapil Dev took to the field in the game at Tunbridge Wells, his team was 9-4 and had little hope of reaching a respectable score after falling to 78-7.
However, Kapil Dev helped India reach 266-8 with a 175 not out from 138 balls, and the next-best batsman scored 24. In response, Zimbabwe was shut down for 235.
9. Martin Guptill’s Record Inning in 2015
In the 2015 World Cup’s quarterfinal between New Zealand and the West Indies, Guptill’s innings of 237 not out set a new World Cup record for the highest individual score. He etched his mark in the record books with an astonishing 137 runs from his final 52 deliveries.
8. Herschelle Gibbs Dropped a Catch in 1999 and Six Sixes in 2007
South Africa suffered a lot as a result of an odd event between Australia and South Africa during their Super Six match. Steve Waugh was on 56 when Gibbs got him, and in his rush to celebrate by throwing the ball up, he misplaced it.
“How does it feel to have lost the World Cup?”, Waugh allegedly asked Gibbs. Although Waugh went on to score 120 runs and the Australians won with two balls remaining, Gibbs said the catch should have stood.
Now, let’s talk about his record of hitting six sixes in an over.
During the group game against Basseterre in 2007, the right-hander made cricket history by hitting six sixes in a single over. The bowler on the receiving end of the record was Daan van Bunge, the leg-spinner having little defence as Gibbs repeatedly threw him over the rope.
The vicious show of strikes brightened a day when rain forced a delayed start to the events. A short boundary at Warner Park could have helped. South Africa still made 353-4 despite the match being reduced to 40 overs apiece.
Jacques Kallis produced an undefeated hundred, but Gibbs’ efforts were more impressive. Before Luuk van Troost stopped him, Gibbs made 72 from 40 balls and only hit one other maximum during his innings.
7. Kapil Dev’s Superb Catch in 1983
Up until Viv Richards excused himself, the powerful West Indies were headed for their third World Cup victory. Kapil Dev had to rush back from mid-on and take a catch from over his shoulder after a mistimed shot. A superb grab caused the West Indies to crumble, allowing India to win the World Cup.
5. South Africa Suffered Due to the Rain in 1992 and 2003
South Africa has never had great luck with the weather during World Cups. When the restrictions for adverse weather conspired against them in 1992, they were denied the chance to go to the final.
They were on track to defeat England in Sydney, but due to play delays, they eventually found themselves needing an impossibly high score of 21 from only one ball. The Duckworth-Lewis technique was implemented for the 2003 competition to ensure that the side batting first did not obtain an unfair advantage.
A similar instance happened in the 2003 World Cup. The Proteas were the hosts and needed to defeat Sri Lanka in their last group match to advance to the Super Six.
Although a six from Mark Boucher off Muttiah Muralitharan appeared to put them ahead of the requirement, the possibility of rain distracted them as they attempted to accomplish a target of 269 runs. However, they only had 229 on the scoreboard, which was the Duckworth-Lewis method’s par total.
But Boucher believed that it was sufficient. The next delivery, the final over, produced zero runs for him. After that, the officials removed the players from the pitch, leaving South Africa to sit and observe as their hopes of triumph were dashed.
4. Ireland Surprises England in 2011 thanks to Kevin O’Brien
It only seemed to make sense that Kevin O’Brien’s tremendous strokes versus England in Bangalore in 2011 would narrow Ireland’s loss margin. His nation was on the verge of a legendary victory over their adversaries by the time he had completed making massive shots.
In the Group B match, the all-rounder entered the field with his team trailing England’s big score of 327-8 by 106-4. A magnificent demonstration of power hitting then ensued. O’Brien scored 113 runs off the 63 deliveries he faced.
He scored a total of 13 fours and six sixes, leaving England with no chance to counter his aggression. O’Brien recorded the fastest century in the tournament’s history when he reached three figures from 50 balls with a dash from two out to deep square leg.
3. The 1996 Semi-Final and Sachin Tendulkar
Before Sanath Jayasuriya got rid of Sachin Tendulkar with a stumping, India was cruising to victory against Sri Lanka in this match being played in Kolkata. However, this victory was short-lived.
After seven wickets were lost for a total of 22 runs, the fans began throwing things onto the pitch of play and setting chairs ablaze. After the game was stopped due to bad weather, the victory was given to Sri Lanka.
2. Australia Beating South Africa Against the Odds in 1999
At the 1999 World Cup, Australia and South Africa tied in a thrilling semifinal match at Edgbaston. Even if simply reporting the scores does not fully convey the situation, both teams were bowled out for 213.
Batting second, South Africa’s pursuit had stagnated because of Shane Warne’s genius, but in the last overs, Lance Klusener turned the tide back in the Proteas’ favour.
Klusener blasted the first two deliveries, bowled by Damien Fleming, to the boundary when he needed nine runs from the penultimate over and had only Allan Donald as company. South Africa failed to cross the finish line, leaving them needing just one run from the remaining overs to secure their place in the Lord’s final.
As a result of uncertainty about a potential game-winning single, Donald and Klusener ended up stranded at the same end of the field, and he was run out after the fourth ball of the over.
As a result of their victory over their opponents in the Super Sixes (when Herschelle Gibbs dropped that catch), Australia advanced. They proceeded to destroy Pakistan in the championship game to win the trophy.
1. Sachin Tendulkar was Carried Throughout Mumbai in 2011
Sachin Tendulkar’s World Cup career had a fairytale ending when he retired as a champion on his home pitch. The Little Master was ultimately able to win the title in his sixth and last tournament when India defeated Sri Lanka’s total of 274-6 with 10 balls remaining.
Sachin Tendulkar was undoubtedly the focus of the celebrations, despite having only scored 18 runs with the bat. During the lap of honour, the seasoned batsman was carried by his teammates around Wankhede Stadium, his home field in Mumbai.
Through Cricket Country, Virat Kohli quite elegantly encapsulated what the occasion meant to the player and the nation as a whole: “Tendulkar has carried the weight of the nation for 21 years. We need to start carrying him around”. No player has amassed more runs in World Cup competition than Tendulkar’s 2,278 total.