Malinga’s Spell to Jonty’s Run-Out: 10 Memorable World Cup Moments

The World Cup over the years has borne witness to individual brilliance, dominant teams, controversial decisions.

6 min read
The World Cup over the years has borne witness to individual brilliance, dominant teams, controversial decisions.

Big events produce great moments and unforgettable episodes. The Cricket World Cup over the years has borne witness to individual brilliance, dominant teams, controversial decisions and a lot of impactful moments. Some of these moments are reminisced about more than the matches themselves, so here we put together the cream of the lot from the history books.

1. Jonty Rhodes’ Flying Run-out

An ever-lasting image in cricket memorabilia, Jonty Rhodes announced South Africa to world cricket in the 1992 World Cup when he ran out Inzamam-ul-Haq in emphatic fashion. Emerging after apartheid, 1992 was South Africa’s first World Cup and in the match against Pakistan, Rhodes pulled off a spectacular run-out. Inzamam had missed a leg-side flick and the ball ricocheted off his pads to gully. He set off for a run even as his partner stood ground.

Realising this, Inzamam turned around instantly but Rhodes had attacked the ball and seeing Inzamam come back, decided to out-run him and shatter the stumps. He picked up the ball, ran towards the stumps, flew at the stumps horizontally and ran the Pakistani out.

2. Lasith Malinga Takes Four in Four

Lasith Malinga had stunned the World with his searing yorkers and variety of slower balls. In the 2007 event, he put forth a grand display in front of a large audience. At 206/5, needing four runs to win, South Africa were in the driving seat when Malinga snapped up two wickets to end the 45th over. He had Shaun Pollock cleaned up and Andrew Hall caught at covers off a slower ball.

In the 47th, he returned to dismiss Jacques Kallis off the first ball and Makhaya Ntini off the next to complete a double hat-trick and reduce South Africa to 207/9. Robin Peterson, however, edged the next ball for four to give South Africa a narrow escape from embarrassment.

3. The Wahab Riaz–Shane Watson Face-Off

The 2015 World Cup made for exciting viewing with hosts Australia and New Zealand in a race for the trophy. However, interspersed between some brilliant matches was a clash of two individuals – Shane Watson and Wahab Riaz.

Watson had sledged Riaz while he was batting in the first innings and it fired the Pakistani up. When it was Watson’s turn to bat, Riaz knew what he had to do. He had Warner and Michael Clarke dismissed and threw a superb 150kmph bumper at Watson first up. The batsman had no answers and Riaz clapped at him sarcastically. It got more intense as Riaz kept targeting Watson’s body with short ones. Then he got Watson to edge to the deep off a pull but Rahat Ali dropped him, much to Riaz’s frustration. Watson survived the spell and went on to win the game for Australia.

4. The Klusener-Donald Goof up

The epic mix up of the 1999 World Cup will make into the best moments at the World Cup even a century later.

With 214 to win the Edgbaston semi-final against Australia, South Africa were 9 runs away with one wicket left in the final over. Lance Klusener thumped Damien Fleming for two fours off the first two balls to bring the equation down to 1 needed in four balls.

Donald then set-off for a non-existent single next ball but Klusener sent him back and the no 11 narrowly survived. He remembered the lesson. But Klusener didn’t. Next ball, he drilled down to long-off and went for a single. Donald didn’t run but Klusener didn’t turn back. The ball was thrown to the wrong end – the bowler’s – but Donald hadn’t started yet and by the time he did, Australia sorted out their mess and ran him out. With a tie, South Africa, who had lost to Australia earlier in the Super Six, were ousted from the tournament.

5. Mike Gatting’s Fatal Reverse Sweep

The 1987 World Cup final is one England would look back and truly regret for not winning. They were well and truly ahead at the time. Mike Gatting and Bill Athey were in the middle of an assuring partnership. Gatting had been the hero of their campaign and with 254 to gun down, the team was at 135/2 when Gatting had a minor ‘brain lock’ according to Ian Chappell. The England batsmen went for a reverse sweep against the part-time bowling of Allan Border and nicked behind to the keeper for 41. It triggered a mini-collapse and even with Allan Lamb playing a handy knock, England lost by seven runs.

6. Gibbs Drops the World Cup

The 1999 World Cup is infamous for South Africa’s goof ups against Australia and Herschelle Gibbs’ dropped catch to let Steve Waugh off the hook is a prominent moment that did not just decide the Super Six clash but also the semi-final later on.

South Africa had put on 271 batting first courtesy a Gibbs hundred but his day turned on its head when he celebrated a catch offering from Waugh and dropped the ball too early. It was a ridiculous dropped catch from a brilliant fielder but also one that Shane Warne had predicted given his tendency to celebrate catches early. Waugh made a century to take Australia home and the result also eventually decided the winner of the tied semi-final clash between the same teams.

7. Courtney Walsh’s Courtesy

In the 1987 World Cup clash between West Indies and Pakistan, Windies were bowled out for 216 but Pakistan had lost five wickets by the time they made 110, and then it was anyone’s game.

Pakistan clawed back through Saleem Yousuf and 14 was needed off the final over which Walsh was bowling. Stuck with the last wicket, Pakistan had a daunting task. 12 runs were needed off 3 balls when a catch was dropped and the ball went for a boundary.

Abdul Qadir then smashed a six to bring the equation down to 2 runs in one ball. Walsh ran in and saw Jaffer, the non-striker, backing up too much. Walsh could easily have run Jaffer out but instead chose to let him off with a warning. West Indies would have won the match then and there had he ran him out. Instead, next ball, Qadir and Jaffer picked up a couple to win Pakistan the game.

8. Elliott Slams Fellow South African

The Eden Park semi-final of 2015 is known for the heart-wrenching looks on the faces of South African players after a last over went wrong for them. In a rain-shortened game, South Africa had the rough end of the D/L system and was defending a lower total than they deserved to.

Grant Elliott’s half-century kept New Zealand in the hunt but the equation came down to 12 in the last over. A boundary and a single from Daniel Vettori against Steyn brought Elliott on strike with five runs needed off two balls. A length ball by Steyn was then dispatched over long-on for six as New Zealand raced to their first ever World Cup final. South Africa had messed it up yet again. Even more agonizing was the fact that Elliott was a South African-born player.

9. Chaminda Vaas Starts off With a Hat-trick

The 2003 World Cup was a memorable one for Chaminda Vaas. He took 23 wickets in the tournament, the most by any bowler, but his most impactful over came against Bangladesh.

In the opening over of the clash against Bangladesh, Vaas picked up the wickets of Hannan Sarkar, Mohammad Ashraful and Ehsanul Haque off the first three balls in Pietermaritzburg. Off the penultimate ball of the over, he struck again to reduce them to 0/4. The opening over hat-trick and a final haul of 6/25 – the best ever by a Lankan at the World Cup at the time – made Vaas’ over a memorable one.

10. Venkatesh Prasad vs Aamer Sohail

India-Pakistan matches were fierce affairs in the 90s. Testimony to that is a mini-battle between Venkatesh Prasad and Aamer Sohail in the 1996 World Cup game at Bengaluru.

India made 287 batting first but Pakistan’s solid opening stand kept them in the match. Sohail was on fire having made 51 in 44 balls and slammed Prasad to the sweeper cover boundary for a four before showing him the way back to his mark with an unfriendly gesture with the bat. It clearly did not sit well with Prasad and the crowd got going behind the local boy too. Next ball, Prasad cleaned up Sohail and animatedly showed him his way back to the pavilion. The battle is remembered to date for the immediate response that Prasad gave to the Pakistani batsman.

(Rohit Sankar is a freelance cricket writer. He can be reached at @imRohit_SN)

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