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World Cup Moment That Changed History

There are pivotal moments in sport which can cause the outcome to change dramatically. In cricket it can be a crucial spell of bowling or a quick-fire cameo, a missed run out chance or a dropped catch or sometimes even a player missing out a game can have a dramatic impact on the results.

Cricketnext Staff |July 7, 2019, 9:03 PM IST
World Cup Moment That Changed History

There are pivotal moments in sport which can cause the outcome to change dramatically. In cricket it can be a crucial spell of bowling or a quick-fire cameo, a missed run out chance or a dropped catch or sometimes even a player missing out a game can have a dramatic impact on the results.

Such moments are always remembered by sports fans and some of these moments or events have become unforgettable. We take a look at some of these events that have come in World cup games thus proving very crucial to a side’s fate in the world cup.

Kapil’s running catch to dismiss Vivian Richards, 1983

India had scored an underwhelming 183 batting first in the final of the 83 edition of the world cup. West Indies were expected to win easily and as the famous anecdote goes, many wives of the Indian cricketers left the ground to do some shopping, leaving messages for their husbands to join them once the formalities were done with. West Indies started in expected fashion and though they lost Greenidge early, Vivian Richards looked in ominous mood and was making short of the total by scoring at faster than a run a ball. He was on 33 of just 27 balls  and the team score at 57/2 when he hooked a short ball from Madan Lal, the ball would have eluded most fielders but not Kapil Dev, who made good ground running back towards the boundary and pouched a difficult catch. It led to a batting collapse and the West Indies were soon 77/6. Something they did not recover from and went on to lose the match. Something also to do with the pressures of chasing in a big final that gets to the batters.

The lack of a genuine 5th bowler,1979

England, packed with a side full of batters kept going along nicely in the 1979 world cup where they made players like Geoffrey Boycott bowl seam up and it proved to be a good move. They then also got players like Graham Gooch to bowl a few overs along with Boycott and expected the duo to fill in the 5th bowler’s quota. This worked well in the Semifinals too where Boycott and Gooch combined for 12 overs and figures of 1/32. They tried the same recipe in the finals against the West Indies as well but the pressures of bowling in the final finally told on non-regular bowlers and they also had Richards batting well at the other end along with Collis King. The Windies from struggling at 99/4 tore into the 5th bowler’s quota and scored 86 from the 12 overs from Gooch, Boycott and Larkins. The highest runs they got from a regular bowler’s quota was 55 from 12 overs of Chris Old ( econ. 4.58) This propelled the Windies to 289/6 which proved a winning total

The Gatting Reverse Sweep, 1987

Australia and England were unlikely finalists of the 1987 world cup. They defeated Pakistan and India in the Semis respectively to deny the much anticipated India v Pakistan Final in the first world cup held at the subcontinent. Australia scored a competitive 253 and England were going along nicely at 135/2 with England captain Mike Gatting and Phil Athey looking comfortable at the crease, sharing a partnership of 69 runs. Aussie captain Alan Border brought himself on to try and break the partnership. He was not a regular bowler and Gatting tried to reverse sweep him, only to top edge the ball and be dismissed. England kept losing wickets regularly thereafter and lost a match which seemed in their grip.

A world cup of what Ifs and those two deliveries, 1992

There were many moments and events that shaped the 1992 world cup dramatically. Indian fans will often wonder what would have happened had the match against a ‘weaker’ Sri Lanka side not been washed off and how was it that a rain delay resulted in India losing 3 overs to chase the Aussie target but the target only reduced by 2 runs. Rain aided the Pakistanis too who seemed to be staring defeat when they were dismissed for 70 by England who were sitting pretty at 24/1 when the rain came and washed out the match. It allowed for Pakistan to get 1 point and ensured that they ended the league stage on 9 points, 1 above Australia who had a better run rate, and qualify for the Semis

But the three most Significant moments were –

  1. In the First Semi Final – Martin Crowe, who had been the inspirational leader on the field for the New Zealand side had to sit out due to Injury. They duly missed his tactical nous on the field with bowling changes and field placements and could not do much to counter a rampaging young Inzamam ul Haq and Moin Khan. Inzy smashing 60 from just 37 balls, Moin 20 no. of just 11 balls.
  2. In the second Semi Final marred by rain interruptions  – England scored 252 batting first and South Africa needed 22 of 13 deliveries with 4 wickets in hand when there was yet another rain interruption which led to the number of deliveries needed to get the target reduced to 1 but the target remained at 22 leading to a bitter exit for the South Africans.
  3. In the final, a late flourish from Pakistan ensured that they put up a competitive 251 on the board. England, a side full of all rounders like Ian Botham, Chris Lewis, Derick Pringle and Dermott Reeve were going along nicely at 141/4 when Neil Fairbrother and Alan Lamb looked in control. It was then that Wasim Akram was brought back for a spell and he took two wickets of successive deliveries to break the back of the England chase. 141/4 became 141/6 and England never really recovered from that.

The Jadeja Assault, 1996

The 96 edition was blessed with a mouth watering Quarterfinals between arch rivals India and Pakistan.

Pakistan were the defending champions and a side full of superstars but Wasim pulled out of the match due to Injury and Aamir Sohail was made stand in captain . India were playing on home soil and won the toss and elected to bat. They kept losing wickets regularly but thanks largely to a 90 from Sidhu, they looked on course to get a total around 240-250. Ajay Jadeja had different ideas and led an attack against the likes of Waqar and Aaqib Javed never seen before, smashing 45 runs from 25 balls to post a 287 on the board. He also inspired the likes of Kumble and Srinath to hit big and they scored 22 of 10 deliveries combined. In spite of an early assault by the Pakistanis led by the stand in captain, in the end, Jadeja’s innings proved to be the game changer.

When Reputation precedes logic, 1996

When India met Sri Lanka during the league stages of the 1996 world cup match in Delhi they put up a respectably 271 to defend. But the manner in which Sri lanka easily chased the score down, led by the rampaging Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana, remained in the minds of the Indians by the time the teams met again in the Semi finals. The Sri Lankans had also easily chased down the target of 235 set by England with nearly 10 overs to spare in the quarters. So when Indian captain Azharuddin won the toss he was clear he did not want Sri Lanka to chase. Its always a good idea to put up a score during a big match and let the score board pressure take its toll on the opposition, but Azhar decided otherwise on a pitch that began to crumble as the match went on and started turning square. The groundsman had released a statement before the match that the team winning the toss must bat first, given that the match was being played on a newly laid pitch. It made chasing an imposing 251 very difficult for the Indians, particularly when Tendulkar got out. They duly went on to lose the match.

 Don’t Swing when you are winning, 1996

During the 2nd Semi Final, West Indies had Australia on the mat, for 90% of the game, it’s the 10% which proved crucial. Australia batted first and were 15/4 before recovering to score  207 which was well under par on a batting beauty in Chandigarh. The West Indies sure made it look like a batting track with Shivnarine Chanderpaul batting beautifully in the company of Lara and Richardson. He was scoring at a brisk pace too and the score was 165 for 2, the target just 44 runs away, before he got out to an aggressive shot, caught by Fleming of Magrath. This led to one of the most dramatic batting collapses as Warne, Fleming and Magrath turned on the pressure and the Windies lost their remaining 8 wickets for only a further 37 runs to lose by 5 runs. Captain Richie Richardson could only watch haplessly from the other end.

 The words “You’ve just dropped the world cup mate” or something similar, 1999

It was during the final super six match of the 1999 world cup between Australia and South Africa. A match that Australia had to win to qualify for the Semi finals. If they did so, they would have to face each other again in the Semis and the South Africans too did not want that. Batting first they scored 271 and Australia soon found themselves struggling at 48/3 when Steve Waugh walked into bat. Herschelle Gibbs quipped “lets see how he takes the pressure now”. When batting on 56, Waugh hit the ball straight to Gibbs at midwicket who clutches to the ball but as he went to throw the ball in the air, he dropped it to the ground. This led Waugh to say something to him which has been rumoured to be the words above, though even Waugh could not recall exactly what he said in his own autobiography.

Whatever may have been the words, the drop proved costly as Waugh went on to score a match winning 120 no. and seal Australia’s ticket to the Semi Finals.

C’mon, C’mon, 1996

In the semifinals between the 2 sides 4 days later (in what is known as perhaps the best World cup match ever played), the Australians scored only 213 batting first. South Africa were cruising in reply and reached 48 in 12 overs. The Aussies on the field seemed flat with the South African openers going so well. They needed a lift. Shane Warne could sense it too and he stepped up. He first took out Gibbs bowling him and then shortly after bowled the other opener Gary Kirsten and almost shouted “C’mon, C’mon” to the rest of his teammates almost to gee them up and get them going. It certainly did its bit and Australia came back to tie the game in dramatic fashion and marched on to the finals.

The opening blitzkrieg, 2003

India V Pakistan matches are always an occasion and so was the group match between the two sides in 2003 which was a must win for the Pakistanis and on winning the toss they certainly batted like that and racked up 272 runs. They had a solid bowling attack and fancied their chances. But the Indian openers took them to the cleaners and attacked the Pakistanis from the very start. Sachin and Sehwag scored 50 runs in 5 overs, carting the likes of Wasim, Waqar and Akhtar all over the field and beyond it. Sachin kept up the same tempo even after Sehwag’s departure and laid the platform for an easy Indian win in the end.

When par is not enough, 2003

South Africa came to their final league match of the 2003 edition at home, needing a win, having won 3 games and lost 2 of the 5 played so far. They were chasing 269 for a win against Sri Lanka and were going along nicely when it started raining. They realized that the Duckworth Lewis Method Par score at the end of 45 overs ( when it started raining) was 229. They were already on 229 with a few deliveries left in the 45th over after which in all likely hood play was going to be called off, so the batters in the middle, played out a few dots so as not to lose another wicket. When they came off the field, they realized that the par score meant that the match was tied and they only got half the points they would have needed to leap frog into 3rd place and progress to the super six. Rain and calculation mistake/ law interpretation cost them again.

These were some events/ non events that changed the course of a world cup match. One could argue that Dhoni going up the order in the 2011 world cup final to secure the chase for his team should be a part of the list but perhaps India would have won that match even if Yuvraj had come into bat before him, such was Yuvraj’s form.

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 India 8411 263
4 Australia 5471 261
5 South Africa 4407 259
see more