Cricket’s Greatest Upsets That Shocked the World

Witness underdog magic! Relive legendary cricket matches where minnows toppled giants, proving David can always slay Goliath.

Imagine the scene: a sun-drenched cricket pitch, tension crackling in the air. Underdog players, eyes blazing with determination, face off against a cricketing titan, a Goliath brandishing the sword of experience and expectation. This is the essence of cricket’s greatest upsets, moments where the script is flipped, where David slingshots a stone and topples the seemingly invincible giant. These are not just matches; they are rebellions, testaments to the unyielding spirit of the human underdog, etched forever in the annals of cricketing lore.

1. 1983 World Cup Final: India’s Fairytale Triumph

1983 Cricket World Cup
1983 Cricket World Cup (Photo Source: X)


Facing the mighty West Indies, the undisputed kings of cricket in 1983, a young Indian team led by the charismatic Kapil Dev entered the World Cup final as ranked underdogs. The Windies, boasting fearsome fast bowlers like Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner, were heavy favourites. Yet, fueled by Kapil Dev’s electrifying swing bowling and fighting spirit, India restricted the Windies to a modest 183. Chasing the target, they rode on Mohinder Amarnath’s crucial 46 and Kapil Dev’s all-round brilliance to clinch a historic victory by 43 runs. This unexpected triumph not only brought the World Cup to India for the first time but also ignited a passion for cricket that continues to burn brightly today.

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2. 2011 World Cup: Ireland’s Green Wave Crushes England

2011 World Cup match between Ireland vs England (Photo Source: X)
2011 World Cup match between Ireland vs England (Photo Source: X)

In a David vs. Goliath clash for the ages, Ireland, playing in their first-ever World Cup match, took on the formidable England, led by the enigmatic Kevin Pietersen. Chasing a challenging 327, Ireland’s opening batsman Kevin O’Brien unleashed a whirlwind century, smashing sixes with audacious ease. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Ireland kept their cool, with Niall O’Brien and John Mooney playing cameos to keep the scoreboard ticking. With just one over remaining, they pulled off the unthinkable, winning by 3 wickets and sending England crashing out of the tournament in the group stage itself. This stunning victory remains one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history and a testament to the fighting spirit of Irish cricket.

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3. 2023 World Cup: Afghanistan’s Spin Sensational Upsets England

2023 World Cup match between Afghanistan vs England (Photo Source: X)
2023 World Cup match between Afghanistan vs England (Photo Source: X)

The 2023 World Cup saw another chapter in the glorious book of cricketing upsets. Afghanistan, a nation battling immense challenges, took on the reigning champions England in a group-stage match. England, boasting a star-studded batting lineup with the likes of Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, were expected to dominate. However, Afghanistan’s spin wizard Rashid Khan weaved his magic, bamboozling English batsmen with his googlies and leg breaks. The English were restricted to a below-par total of 255. In reply, Afghanistan’s openers provided a solid foundation, and despite a middle-order wobble, they held their nerve to chase down the target with relative ease, winning by a convincing 69 runs. This victory was a monumental moment for Afghanistan cricket, showcasing their talent and potential on the world stage.

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4. Kenya’s Cinderalla Run in 1999 World Cup:

Kenya's Cinderalla Run in 1999 World Cup (Photo Source X)
Kenya’s Cinderalla Run in 1999 World Cup (Photo Source X)

No list of cricketing upsets is complete without mentioning Kenya’s incredible journey in the 1999 World Cup. The East African nation, playing in their maiden World Cup, surprised everyone by defeating giants like Sri Lanka and West Indies in the group stage. Their fairytale run continued as they reached the semifinals, only to be narrowly defeated by Pakistan. Nevertheless, Kenya’s fighting spirit and unexpected success captured the imagination of fans worldwide.

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5. Bangladesh’s Rise as Giant Slayers:

Bangladesh Cricket Team (Photo Source: X)
Bangladesh Cricket Team (Photo Source: X)

Bangladesh, a cricket-loving nation, has witnessed several iconic upsets in recent years. They famously defeated India in the 2007 World Cup, sending shockwaves through the cricketing world. Since then, they have consistently challenged established teams, with notable victories against England, Australia, and New Zealand. Bangladesh’s emergence as a force to be reckoned with is a testament to the development of cricket in the country and a sign of things to come.


These are just a few examples of the countless cricketing upsets that have etched themselves in the game’s rich history. Each story is a reminder that on a cricket field, anything is possible. So, the next time you witness a seemingly one-sided cricketing clash, remember these stories. Remember the roar of the Indian crowd in 1983, the jubilant faces of the Irish in 2011, and the quiet determination of the Afghans in 2023. Remember that anything is possible on a 22-yard pitch, that dreams can defy odds, and that even the smallest nation can become a cricketing giant. Because in the end, that’s what cricket’s greatest upsets are all about: the triumph of hope over expectation, the sweet music of defying the impossible. So, keep dreaming, keep hoping, and keep your eyes peeled for the next time David steps onto the pitch, ready to slay another Goliath.