Greatest ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Moments: The Hunt Begins

We look back into the archives to highlight the top 32 moments from prior events ahead of the 2018 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

But which of these moments stands out the most? We’ll let you decide through a bracket challenge! Each moment will be put against the other, and you will have the opportunity to vote for the Greatest Moment of the Cricket World Cup!

The first round of voting is now open. To vote, click on the link below!

Greatest Cricket World Cup Moments
MS Dhoni’s six in the final (2011) vs Afghanistan gave Afghanistan their first win (2015).
MS Dhoni has six wickets in the final.

India were crowned World Cup champions for the second time in their history thanks to a massive six off the willow of their skipper MS Dhoni in the 49th over. The shot signified the end of a great home campaign, and it was accompanied by Ravi Shastri’s historic words from the commentary box, “Dhoni finishes off in style.” A spectacular strike into the crowd!”

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Afghanistan’s first victory was against Scotland.

Afghanistan’s debut at the Cricket World Cup in Australia was challenging, but they also managed to light up the biggest stage with their first-ever win at the global event. Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran held their own against Scotland’s disciplined bowling to secure a remarkable victory.

Kevin O’Brien’s assist in Ireland’s victory against England (2011) vs Dwayne Leverock’s incredible grab (2007)
Kevin O’Brien contributes to Ireland’s victory over England.

England’s strong start to the World Cup was derailed by a solo effort in Bengaluru. When Ireland was 111/5 in their pursuit of 328, England appeared to have secured five points from their three games. However, Kevin O’Brien’s 63-ball blitz, which yielded 113 runs, meant that Ireland upset their opponents in the game’s last over.

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Dwayne Leverock’s incredible grab

Dwayne Leverock’s sensational grab against India cemented Bermuda’s place in the 2007 World Cup. The stout slipper reached out his right hand to an edge from Robin Uthappa, grabbed the ball before it went wide, and then burst out laughing.

Richards runs out three runs (1975) versus Ponting pummels India in the 2003 final (2003)
Richards, the ruthless, runs out three

Vivian Richards did not dominate the run charts in the first Cricket World Cup. The tale continued until the final, where he received only five points before being cleaned up by Gary Gilmour. However, the young Antiguan wasn’t finished making an impression on the game. He hit three important run outs to throw Australia off track and assist West Indies win their first title.

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Ponting destroys India in the 2003 final.

Harbhajan Singh’s strikes in the middle overs temporarily interrupted Australia’s strong start in the game, but it just set the platform for an all-time great effort. Ricky Ponting’s bludgeoning 140* helped his team achieve the highest-ever total in a World Cup final, and a crushing victory.

MS Dhoni is run out by a direct hit from Guptill (2019) vs Starc to McCullum in the final (2015).
Guptill’s direct hit on MS Dhoni knocked him out.

MS Dhoni’s valiant performance in the 2019 semi-final was ended by a superb direct hit from deep. Martin Guptill’s accurate toss in the 49th over crushed India’s last aspirations of world triumph.

This was Dhoni’s final international innings before retiring from the game in 2020.

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In the final, Starc passes to McCullum.

Mitchell Starc’s scorching yorker shattered New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum’s off stump in the game’s first over.

Given his outstanding strike rates in the first overs of the tournament, McCullum was New Zealand’s biggest threat. The Black Caps were never able to recover from this early setback, and Australia cruised to their fifth victory with ease.

Wasim Akram’s two-for-two performance against England in the 1992 final (1992) against Ben Stokes’ catch vs South Africa (2019)

Wasim Akram’s two-for-two performance against England in the 1992 final

Wasim Akram, the Sultan of Swing, delivered one of his greatest deliveries in the 35th over of the World Cup final in Melbourne versus England. The ripsnorter swung away late from Allan Lamb’s bat, disturbing his off stump and ending England’s most promising stand of the evening.

The next ball improved things even more, effectively pushing the trophy Pakistan’s way. Akram landed one outside off, causing it to swerve in and crash into Chris Lewis’ stumps, giving the Asians a two-for-two lead.

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Catch by Ben Stokes against South Africa

It didn’t matter that England had already won their World Cup opener against South Africa. Despite being stationed in the mid-wicket region, Ben Stokes stole the show by plucking an Andile Phehlukwayo sweep mid-air. Stokes initially misread his position and tilted his body away from the ball, only to pull out his right hand just as the ball flew out of his grasp.

As a result, Nasser Hussain famously said, “No way! No way, no how! That is not possible, Ben Stokes!”

Bangladesh upset India (2007), while Malinga wins four out of four against South Africa (2007).
Bangladesh shocked India.

Bangladesh’s young guns helped their team pull off a huge upset over regional powerhouse India in Port of Spain. Mashrafe Mortaza’s four-wicket haul was followed up by fifty-plus scores from Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib Al Hasan as India lost by five wickets.

The full repercussions of this defeat were obvious later in the competition, when India was eliminated from the tournament before the Super Eight stage ever began, following a loss to Sri Lanka.

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Malinga wins four out of four against South Africa.

When South Africa was four runs short of their mark with five wickets in hand, their victory over Sri Lanka appeared to be a formality.

Here comes Lasith Malinga. The sling-actioned bowler claimed four wickets in four balls to completely change the game. While the Proteas won by one wicket, the pacers’ performance had an impact on the event.

Grant Elliott smashes it into the grandstand (2015) in a draw between India and England (2011).
Grant Elliott scores in the grandstand.

A tense semi-final came down to a five-run-from-two-ball equation. Grant Elliott of New Zealand was on strike, while Dale Steyn of South Africa handled the ball.

The fact that neither team had ever made it to the final added to the suspense. The game could’ve gone any way with the tail to follow. In the end, Elliott’s bat swing sent the ball into the stands, and South Africa faced another World Cup semi-final heartache.

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Tie between India and England

Little Master Sachin Tendulkar’s century was nearly topped by Andrew Strauss’s 158, which pulled England within a whisker of a historic victory.

MS Dhoni, on the other hand, marshaled his resources superbly to pull India back into the game at the correct time. Finally, a tie felt like a fair result between two evenly matched teams.

Gibbs ‘drops’ the World Cup (1999), while Yuvraj leads the pursuit against Australia (2011).
Gibbs’ World Cup ‘drops’

After narrowly missing out on the Super Six stage, Australia’s title bid hinged on a frantic chase against South Africa in Leeds. Steve Waugh, the captain of Australia, was in a powerful mood when he pushed a Lance Klusener delivery towards Herschelle Gibbs at midwicket. Gibbs went to the ball but let go before he had complete control of the catch.

Waugh went on to score the game-winning hundred and is said to have informed Gibbs, “You’ve just dropped the World Cup.”

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Yuvraj is in charge of the chase against Australia.

In India’s triumph over Australia, the batter was their all-around star. He came in at 143/3 after picking up 2/44 and got India out of a bind with an excellent 57* from 65 deliveries. With the help of Suresh Raina, he added 74 runs for the fifth wicket to defeat the World Champions.

Klusener-Donald run-out in the semi-finals (1999) vs. Bangladesh (1999)
In the semi-finals, Klusener-Donald ran out.

A thrilling game between two of the best teams of the 1990s came down to the final over, in which South Africa needed nine runs with one wicket remaining. South Africa’s talismanic finisher Lance Klusener was on strike, while Australia’s deft seamer Damien Fleming was in charge of the ball. Allan Donald was at the non-striker’s end.

After Klusener scored back-to-back fours, South Africa effectively had one leg in the final. The next ball was a dot, but the Proteas only needed one out of three.
By virtue of finishing higher in the Super Six stage, they advanced.

Klusener then hit one down the middle, but the ball was caught by the fielder. Even when Donald was caught ball watching, the all-rounder had taken off. The latter was ran out, and Australia advanced by virtue of finishing better in the Super Six stage.

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Bangladesh defeated Pakistan.

In Northampton, Pakistan were surprised by a pre-Test Bangladesh. Despite a lethargic conclusion, the Tigers finished with 223/9 thanks to a great start.

Bangladesh’s spinners then ripped through Pakistan’s batting order, leaving the Men in Green reeling at 42/5. Pakistan’s tail fought valiantly, but it was unable to avert a ‘David vs Goliath’ climax to this struggle.

Aravinda de Silva controls the final (1996) against Ireland, who beat Pakistan (2007).
Aravinda de Silva completely dominates the final.

During the Cricket World Cup final in Lahore in March 1996, an outstanding individual performance took center stage. Aravinda de Silva struck at regular intervals during Australia’s innings, continuing his red-hot form. His wickets included Mark Taylor, Ricky Ponting, and Ian Healy.

The graceful right-hander then took control with the bat, scoring a magnificent 107* to capture the title for Sri Lanka.

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Ireland surprised Pakistan.

The St. Patrick’s Day miracle remains one of the tournament’s greatest upsets. Ireland stunned a highly regarded Pakistani team and eliminated them from the global event.

Trent Johnston called it correctly at the toss, and his bowlers delivered an outstanding effort. Ireland’s batting lineup was not the greatest, but a valiant Niall O’Brien (72) led them to a spectacular victory. Ireland’s arrival on the global cricketing stage was announced by skipper Johnston’s winning runs in the 42nd over.

Gilchrist’s century makes it three out of three for Australia (2007) against Jonty Rhodes. Inzamam, 1992
Australia now has three centuries in a row, thanks to Gilchrist’s century.

Australia got off to an explosive start because to Adam Gilchrist’s destruction in the final. Gilchrist contributed 172 with Matthew Hayden for the first wicket, followed by 52 with Ricky Ponting, to help Australia reach 224/2 in 30.3 overs. He had scored 149 from 104 balls by the time he was removed. His innings featured 13 fours and eight sixes.

He also added mystery to the hit by wearing a squash ball in his glove during his inning.

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Inzamam is chased down by Jonty Rhodes.

Pakistan were looking for quick runs against South Africa as they chased a revised goal. With his quick knock, Inzamam-ul-Haq increased Pakistan’s scoring rate. A Brian McMillan toss hit his pads and lofted towards the point zone in the 31st over.

Inzamam took off before realizing there was no run available. He returned his gaze to the safety of his crease. However, Jonty Rhodes had already snagged the ball and was sprinting towards the stumps. He executed a superb dive and extended his right arm to slam into the stumps before Inzamam could.

Gilchrist walks in the semi-final in 2003 against Inzamam’s cameo in the semi-final in 1992
Gilchrist takes the field in the semi-finals.

In the crucial semi-final against Sri Lanka, Australia’s opener surprised the world by stepping off the ground without waiting for the umpire’s judgment after edging one back to the keeper. Though Australia subsequently won the game, this unselfish effort earned accolades from cricket fans all over the world.

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Inzamam’s appearance in the 1992 semi-final

New Zealand appeared to be on their way to their first World Cup final until they encountered Inzamam’s extraordinary act. The young Pakistan batsman, snatched from the wilderness a few months before the competition, lit up the stage with a brilliant 60 from 37 balls, including seven fours and a six. Pakistan won the game with an over to spare despite losing him in the 45th over.

Tendulkar vs. Pakistan (2003) vs. Johnson vs. Kohli (2015)
Pakistan vs. Tendulkar

There was a lot of enthusiasm in the game because India and Pakistan were competing after almost three years. While Pakistan had dominated the Men in Blue during the 1990s, a youthful India team led by Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar had gone from strength to strength.

Tendulkar’s courageous 98 from 75 demonstrated India’s fearless approach. He fielded a star-studded bowling attack around the stadium to assist India maintain their unblemished World Cup record against Pakistan.

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Johnson dismisses Kohli

India needed their top three to fire against Australia as they chased a 329-point target. Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma got things going well. However, after Dhawan’s dismissal, all eyes were on India’s master chaser Virat Kohli.

However, Kohli was bowled in the 16th over after a mistimed pull against a stinging bouncer from Mitchell Johnson.

After taking down India’s batting lynchpin, Australia cruised to victory.

In the final (1983) vs. Bangladesh, Kapil Dev’s running catch to eliminate Viv Richards helped Bangladesh defeat England in a thriller (2011).
Kapil Dev’s running catch in the final to eliminate Viv Richards

During the World Cup final, India was looking for the critical wicket of Viv Richards. The West Indies hitter had already hit a quickfire 33, taking the game away from India.

When he dragged a Madan Lal delivery towards mid-wicket, India skipper Kapil Dev raced all the way back from the infield to leap in and capture a spectacular catch, leaving the West Indies at 57/3. The Men in Maroon had lost more than half their side in the next 20 runs against an invigorated India. Kapil’s team went on to win by 43 runs.

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Bangladesh defeated England in a nail-biter in 2011.

Bangladesh had been knocked out for 58 against the West Indies in their previous match at the tournament. If they had lost to England, they would have been eliminated from their own World Cup.

However, they rose to the occasion against England at Chattogram to secure a narrow victory. Bangladesh’s chase was powered by an 82-run stand between Imrul Kayes and Shakib Al Hasan. A 58-run ninth wicket partnership between Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam near the finish enabled them secure a remarkable two-wicket triumph.

Kapil Dev 175 saves India from being 17 for 5 against Zimbabwe in 1983 versus Prasad v Sohail in the Ind v Pak quarterfinal (1996)
Kapil Dev’s 175 saves India from a 17-point deficit against Zimbabwe.

India was surprised by Zimbabwe’s disciplined new-ball bowling, falling to 9/4 and then 17/5. India required an inspirational act in the face of an uncomfortable situation against the Chevrons. That came from their skipper Kapil Dev’s sword. Haryana Hurricane scored an unbeaten 175 off 138 balls, with 16 fours and six sixes. He led India to 266/8 with the help of the tailenders.

Kapil’s individual effort was the difference between the two teams, as India triumphed by 31 runs.

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In the quarterfinal match between India and Pakistan, Prasad will face Sohail.

During this mini-battle in the India-Pakistan quarter-final in Bengaluru, cricket went into full theater mode. While India scored a big total, Pakistan’s openers made a solid start in their pursuit. Despite losing Saeed Anwar, they were maintaining a steady pace.

When India’s captain, Mohammed Azharuddin, brought in pacer Venkatesh Prasad, Aamer Sohail went at him with a willow and words.

After crunching one of his delivery through the blankets, he told Prasad about his feelings. The lanky Karnataka pacer, on the other hand, had the final laugh, striking the batter’s off stump with the very next delivery. India then grabbed control of the game, recording a stunning victory over their arch-rivals.

Bangladesh shocked England (2015) vs. Deflection off Stokes’ bat in the final over (2019).
Bangladesh stunned England.

England’s World Cup campaign reached a nadir with a loss to Bangladesh. Their preparation for the event had not been stellar, and the team had underperformed against the tournament’s marquee opponents.

However, a loss against Bangladesh destroyed their ambitions of reaching the quarter-finals, while also advancing Bangladesh to their first-ever Cricket World Cup knockout game.

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Deflection off Stokes’ bat in the year’s final over

A World Cup final decided by the smallest of margins was decided by the best of calls. England won the game in the Super Over after defeating New Zealand. But it wouldn’t have been possible without a deflection off Ben Stokes’ bat in the final over of England’s innings.

England needed nine points from three balls to tie the game at 242. Stokes smashed one down the legside and was almost caught short off a deep delivery from Martin Guptill. Not only did Stokes return in time, but his bat accidently redirected the ball to the boundary. And England ended up with six instead of the two that the batters had predicted. They got two off the next ball to knot the game and force a Super Over.