The biggest upsets in World Cup history

After a series of upsets in the 2019 edition, Adrian Meredith nominates the greatest upsets in the history of the tournament.

With two big upsets in two games, I thought to look at my pick of the 21 biggest upsets in World Cup history.

(21) 2007 – Ireland beat Bangladesh – Is this an upset? The two teams were kind of level for the tournament, but Ireland were still associates so this counts.

(20) 1992 – Zimbabwe beat England – While probably a professional loss, as it was the final round-robin match and England had already qualified for the semi-finals, in isolation this was a huge upset.

(19) 2003 – Canada beat Bangladesh – While not a massive upset, it was nonetheless a minor surprise, as Canada were still a lowly associate and Bangladesh were a test team.

(18) 2007 – Bangladesh beat India – India went in overconfident and underprepared and paid the price.

(17) 2003 – Kenya beat Zimbabwe – Not a huge upset, but an upset just the same.

(16) 2003 – Kenya beat Bangladesh – Not a massive upset, but an upset just the same.

(15) 2015 – Bangladesh beat England – For the second World Cup in a row Bangladesh upset England, but this one was bigger, as it qualified them for the quarter finals at England’s expense.

(14) 2011 – Bangladesh beat England – Not as big an upset as Ireland’s win, but an upset just the same.

(13) 2015 – Ireland beat West Indies – This one slipped by somewhat but was a pretty big deal.

(12) 2007 – Bangladesh beat South Africa – In the circumstances, this wasn’t all that big a deal as it made no difference to the tournament, but they still won the match.

(11) 1999 – Zimbabwe beat India – This particular version of Zimbabwe were a pretty good team so not as big an upset as it would be today, but, just the same, it was a bit of an upset.

(10) 1999 – Bangladesh beat Pakistan – Again, this was a professional loss, as Pakistan had already qualified for the semi-finals, but it was enough to convince the ICC to give Bangladesh test status.

(9) 1999 – Zimbabwe beat South Africa – This was somewhat of a professional loss, given it was the final group game, but, just the same, a pretty big upset.

(8) 2019 – Pakistan beat England – Given how out of sorts Pakistan were, with 12 losses in a row, and given that England were the number 1 team, this was huge.

(7) 2019 – Bangladesh beat South Africa – This was huge under the circumstances of a team totally out of form against a team in massive form and the in-form team lost! Nobody predicted this at all – until after the match was over, when everyone claimed to have picked it.

(6) 1979 – Sri Lanka beat India – An associate beating a full member was a huge upset, not the least the fact that in the very next World Cup India would emerge as the champions. This was the start of Sri Lanka’s surge to test status and, 17 years later, they would hoist the World Cup trophy themselves.

(5) 2007 – Ireland beat Pakistan – This match that was soon afterwards followed by Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer’s death, this was huge.

(4) 2003 – Kenya beat Sri Lanka – With all of the matches being forfeited due to security fears, this one was ignored by many, but it sure was a big one.

(3) 1996 – Kenya beat West Indies – In their first World Cup, associates Kenya beat one of the favourites in West Indies to register their first ever World Cup win.

(2) 2011 – Ireland beat England – This was such a big deal it made front page of Irish newspapers, the first time cricket made front page in Ireland, and it went a long way to giving them test status. Oh, Kevin O’Brien, you.

(1) 1983 – India beat West Indies in the final – The 2x reigning champions thought that they’d done enough when they restricted India to 183 only to be bowled out for 140 themselves. This launched cricket in the Indian public’s eye and changed the game forever.

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