Top 5 Biggest Upsets In ICC ODI World Cup History

Top 5 Biggest Upsets In ICC ODI World Cup History

In the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup, we saw the first upset of the tournament when England, the defending champion was beaten by Afghanistan. This article will discuss the top 5 Biggest upsets in ICC ODI World Cup History

Presented by: Raghunath Nair


Presenting the top 5 Biggest upsets in ICC ODI World Cup History.

Afghanistan – England (2023 World Cup)

15th October witnessed the biggest upset of the 2023 World Cup yet with a spirited Afghanistan team beating the defending World Cup Champion England by 69 runs.

While Afghanistan is still not a team known for its 50 Over format, they are a dangerous side in the T20 Format.

After Winning the toss Afghanistan was put into bat. The England decision was purely taken on what happened in the India – Afghanistan clash at the same venue four days back, when Indian batting chased the Afghanistan total with ease. This proved to be a huge mistake by Jose Butler who did not factor in the Delhi heat for the English Bowler. Afghanistan started well but lost their way in the middle overs only to make a comeback in the last few overs of their batting innings. Blistering knocks of 80 runs from Rahmanullah Gurbaz at the top and some late-order hitting from Ikram Alikil (58) and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (28) helped the Afghans post a decent competitive target of 284 in the allotted overs.

It was clear that the decision to bat second would haunt England once a score of above 250 was made with Afghan spinners likely to create havoc in the England chase.

Spinners dominated the second half of the game and 8 wickets fell to the spinning trio of Mohd. Nabi, Mujeeb, and Rashid Khan

England was all out for 215 in the 41st over putting a huge dent in the points table.

The Defending champions were expected to beat the Afghans and are one of the tournament favorites. This loss will surely be one of the biggest upsets in World Cup History.

Netherlands vs South Africa (2023 World Cup)

Netherlands vs South Africa (2023 World Cup)

One of the biggest upsets in the 2023 World Cup edition till date is the massive win from World Cup Qualifier Netherlands against the inform Proteas team.

On 17th October, minnow Netherlands pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup History and did the impossible by claiming a 38-run win against the South African team who are one of the tournament favourites.

Batting First, the team in orange after a mini collapse put up a competitive score of 245 for 8 wickets in a rain effected game.

Netherlands captain Scott Edwards saved his team from collapse with a fighting 69 balls 78 runs.

This is the first time that the Dutch team has beaten a Test-playing side in ODIs though the Dutch team had beaten South Africa at the T20 World Cup. 

All the Bowlers stood tall against the powerful batting line up of the Proteas and they were lethal with spin and pace

Ireland vs England (2011 World Cup)

Ireland vs England (2011 World Cup)

This one has to be one of the greatest chases in World Cup history from a minnow team against a test-playing nation.

For the England team, batting first, Jonathan Trott (92), Ian Bell (82) and Kevin Pietersen (59) helped England score 327 runs and was expected to sail through this group fixture match.

England spin bowling led by Graeme Swann took 3 wickets in just 13 balls seriously denting any hope for an Irish Chase.

Kevin O’Brien show

Kevin O’ Brien ‘s 162 run partnership with Alex Cusack (47) helped Ireland pull Ireland’s biggest win.

His first 50 came in 30-balls and the second 50 in 20 balls which became the fastest century in world Cup history then.

Ireland won by three wickets.

Ireland vs Pakistan (2007 World Cup)

Ireland vs Pakistan (2007 World Cup)

A must-win game against a relatively inexperienced Ireland team turned out to be a nightmare for the Pakistan team who had to bow out of the 2007 World Cup.

Ireland won by three wickets.

Pakistan came into the match after a loss in the opener against the West Indies.

Ireland’s Boyd Rankin and the other medium-paced bowlers read the condition in Kingston well and cast a spell on the Pakistan batsmen who struggled to put up a competitive score and were all out for 132 runs.

While all bowlers had impressive bowling figures, Andre Botha had figures of 2-5 from eight overs.

In difficult weather conditions, chase was not easy for the Irish team and Pakistan inflicted a mini collapse but wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien stopped the Irish collapse to score 72 important runs.

The loss meant Pakistan was out of the World Cup but even more shocking news was the untimely demise of Pakistan Coach Bob Woolmer just days after the loss.

Bangladesh vs India (2007 World Cup)

Bangladesh vs India (2007 World Cup)

Bangladesh was a good side in 2007 but was not expected to beat India and was still considered minnows then.  Rahul Dravid was captaining the side and India had Sachin Tendulkar, arguably the best ODI player of the game. India was the clear favorite before the game.

After losing to Sri Lanka a few days prior, India wanted to bounce back in style and qualify for round 8. They had to win against Bangladesh to keep their hopes alive.

India, batting first was all out for 191 and did not even manage to play the whole 50 overs.

Mashrafe Mortaza took 4 wickets. While wickets fell in the Bangladesh innings too, the senior batsmen Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib al Hasan made half-centuries each.

Bangladesh beat India by five wickets and India made a shocking group stage exit at the 2007 ICC World Cup.

India’s loss meant that they exited the tournament in only 3 games which is the lowest since 1979


When the whole Cricket world awaits the clash between two strong teams, little is predicted when a smaller-ranked team faces a higher-ranked team. While the higher-ranked team is expected to win such matches, history has shown that upsets have happened and in some cases, the reason for the higher-ranked team’s early exit from the tournament.

Mother of All Upsets

India was the underdog in the 1983 world Cup, their win in the finals was considered to be the biggest upset in limited over cricket as the win helped minnows India to lift the 1983 Cricket World Cup.


India – West Indies (1983 World Cup)

India – West Indies (1983 World Cup)

The Finals of the 1983 World Cup probably will go down in history as the biggest upset in ODI history with India beating defending champions, the mighty West Indies.

While India had beaten the men from the Caribbean in the group stage, not many would have given Kapil’s devils to repeat the feat in the finals, which they did.

Also Read: 40 years on, why India’s 1983 World Cup victory was not a Stroke of Luck

In the Finals, India won by 43 runs

India started well and reached 100 by losing only four wickets against the bowling attack of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, and Michael Holding. Once the bowlers came on their own, the India team capitulated to 183 losing all 10 wickets.

While an easy win was on the cards, a spirited bowling attack and some great fielding helped India to win their maiden World Cup Trophy.

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