The years between 2020 and 2030 are filled with big-ticket ICC tournaments. There are the 2023 and 2027 ODI world cups. The 2021 T20 world just concluded and there is another one next year. This will also be followed by the ICC Champions Trophy making a comeback in 2024 and 2028. Additionally, there are 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029. All in all, this decade is full of mega ICC tournaments.
In the just-concluded final of the 2021 ICC T20 world cup, Australia pulled off a spectacular heist. Not many people gave the team a chance to win but they proved their detractors wrong. In the past, there have been instances when teams have pulled shockers out of nowhere and gone on to win trophies.
With ICC attempting to democratize the game and bringing many countries into its fold, the hope remains to see more such upsets in the long run. For the moment, let’s revisit 5 instances where teams that were not expected to win the trophy went on to win the cup.
1. India – 1983
The 1983 men’s ODI world cup was the watershed moment for this country. It galvanized the entire nation and gave rise to the cricket frenzy among the masses. The Australian, English, and Windies squads of that time dominated world cricket. No one expected India to make it to the knockouts let alone the finals where they were against the Windies. The Windies team boasted of cricketers of Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Andy Roberts, and Michael Holding. In the most shocking turn of events, India miraculously defended 183 by restricting the Windies to 140.
2. Sri Lanka – 1996
Sri Lanka was officially awarded the test status in 1981 but continued to be the minnows for some time. Just like 1983 India’s moment, Sri Lanka’s moment arrived in 1996 ODI world cup when the Arjuna Ranathunga’s team successfully lifted the world cup. The final was between the Australians and Sri Lanka. The Aussies had by then become the world dominators at that time. Sri Lanka first pulled off a shocker by beating India in the semis. They were chasing 242 to win and Aravinda de Silva decided that it was his day and scored a magnificent 100 to take his team over the line.
3. West Indies – 2004
The Windies were once the legends of world cricket but with time their cricketing sheen diminished. Post the 1990s, the Windies did not evoke the kind of fear that they did in the 1980s and 70s. In 2004, they were not even considered to make it to the knock-outs but Lara’s men successfully chased down 2017 in the final against England to lift the trophy. The win was essential to rejuvenate cricket in the Caribbean and this Windies team had finally done what had eluded them for a long time.
4. Pakistan – 2017
Pakistan is a mercurial team and there is no doubt that. On their day, they can put any score on the board or chase down any target. 2017 Champions Trophy was one such tournament. The Indian and English squads look like absolute world beaters on paper and the Pakistani team was not even considered. They were hammered in the first match of the tournament by India. In a twist of fate, they beat stunned England in the semis to set up a date with India in the finals. The little known Fakhar Zaman decided to display his talent and blasted 114 batting first. India was blown away by Mohammad Amir in the chase who ran through the top order. Pakistan won by a massive 180 runs.
5. Australia – 2021
Australia was not the title favorite coming into the 2021 T20 world cup. They were handed a 4-1 defeat by the Windies in July and Bangladesh in August. There was a perception that the squad did not have enough T20 superstars when compared to India, Windies and England. They shocked everyone by making it to the finals and then rampaging the Kiwis with masterful batting. This was Australia’s first T20 world cup win.