The Most Dramatic Cricket World Cup Finals

The Most Dramatic Swings In Cricket World Cup Finals

The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the sporting world’s most underrated treasures. The 2019 edition became the most popular in the sport’s history with approximately 2.6 billion viewers across the world, watching on as England’s number one ranked side ran out as winners in one of the most dramatic matches imaginable. With it coming up to the anniversary of when it really did come home on that fateful day at Lords, we thought we would look across the history of Cricket World Cups through all of its different formats and dig out some of the most dramatic swings ever seen.

Stokes And Buttler Make England’s Final A Drama Fest - 2019

England had to win the ICC 50 Over World Cup in 2019. Not only was it being held on home soil and saw Eoin Morgan’s side romp out as heavy favourites in most cricket betting markets, but it was the culmination of roughly five years worth of work following England’s dismal showing at the previous World Cup. Morgan and co. had installed a whole new identity to the side, brought out the best of new talents to the team such as Jason Roy, Adil Rashid and Jofra Archer and had beaten every side in the world leading up to the tournament.

New Zealand were no mugs however. Despite a comfortable loss to Eoin Morgan’s side in the tournament’s group stage, this was a side that had reached the final of the 2015 World Cup and defended a total of just 240 against a much-fancied India team led by Virat Kohli.

Things began smoothly enough for England, knocking out New Zealand for just 241 on a particularly green-looking Lord’s, but they were to become the next team to underestimate this Black Caps attack by stumbling to 86/4. Step up Benjamin Stokes. The Durham all-rounder produced a flurry of outstanding shots, as well five very lucky overthrows, to tie the scores up and set up the world’s very first Super Over finale.

The whole feeling of the game seemed to change with each ball that was bowled, but Jason Roy’s final throw to Jos Buttler to run out Martin Guptill ensured the nation could, at last, catch a hold of their breaths and celebrate England’s first 50 over World Cup win. It might have been based on a boundary count technicality, but it really didn’t matter.

De Silva Sees Off The Aussies - 1996

Few in the cricket world were expecting Sri Lanka to go all the way at the 1996 50 Over World Cup, even if they were the co-hosts along with India and Pakistan boasted exceptional talents like Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan. They had played out one of the most intense and controversial semi-finals against India, only being awarded the win by referee Clive Lloyd following rioting inside the stadium by the Indian fans.

Australia, on the other hand, had felt the pressure of winning piled on them from the get-go. Champions at the 1987 World Cup, this was an Aussie side boasting the talents of the likes of Mark Waugh, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and a young Ricky Ponting and had no issues in getting themselves to the final in Lahore.

And the pre-game heavy favourites, despite losing the toss and being put into bat, quickly began to show why it was they were so heavily fancied, with Ponting and Mark Taylor putting on a 101 run partnership and taking the Aussies to 137/1. However, what followed was a collapse that no one could have seen coming with Australia being pegged back by Aravinda de Silva’s 3/42 and being restricted to a fairly par 241/7.

Things looked to be settling down and returning to normality when Sri Lanka lost both their opening batsmen before the score had even reached 30. But this Sri Lankan side were made up of some seriously strong characters and de Silva once again rallied the side together, eventually going on to make 107 and reach the Australian total with 3.4 overs to spare.

Not only had Sri Lanka swung the game back twice to upset the odds, but they had absolutely romped home against the pre-tournament favourites.

Pakistan Denied By India In A Final Over Thriller - 2007

The very first T20 World Cup culminated in one of the most dramatic, swing-heavy finals fought between two of the most passionate sides to ever play the game. India were certainly the favourites in most pre-game cricket spread betting markets and had bested their arch-rivals via a bowl-off in the group stage, but they were made to endure a final in Johannesburg that, for the most part, didn’t look like it was going their way.

Besides Gautam Gambhir’s 75 and Rohit Sharma’s 30, no Indian batsman hit over 15 runs despite winning the toss and choosing to bat on a batting-friendly pitch. Pakistan, in reply, might have lost wickets at a similar rate, however the form of Misbah Ul-Huq at his end of the pitch put the deficit between the two sides at just 13.

This dramatic finale would produce one final swing however when Misbah spooned one up over to Sreesanth at fine leg. With Pakistan’s tail exposed, the game finished up with India scraping through to a five run win and the first T20 World Cup crown.

As well as Gambhir’s 75, Irfan Pathan stood out as India’s hero in this crunch match, with his 4-0-16-3 figures being the decisive spell in keeping Pakistan at bay and proving to be the best haul of any player across the match.

Samuels And Brathwaite Break English Hearts In Last Over - 2016

Both England and the West Indies had been previous World T20 champions heading into the 2016 World Cup final, and both had reasons to be confident that they would be the ones lifting the trophy at the end of the tournament’s finale. The West Indies had beaten England in some pretty devastating circumstances in the group stages of the tournament, with Chris Gayle hitting a century off just 47 balls, and had taken India down in their own backyard.

However, England were just starting to find their feet in the limited overs form of the game. This new-look side only contained one player who had also played in the 2010 World Cup, but the likes of Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler had all helped England to at least 150 in all but one of their innings, which included a record-breaking chase of 233 against South Africa.

On an obviously bowler-friendly pitch, the Windies won the toss and decided to have a bowl first. Though they did put England down to 23/3 at one point, an anchor innings from Joe Root and some deep batting pushed that total back up to 155/9 by the end of the innings. You never know how good a score is until another team starts batting but, despite the decent comeback, it looked like a total 30-40 runs shy of a really good score.

Nevertheless, the betting odds must have been swinging back into England’s court when David Willey and Joe Root combined to put the Windies down to 11/3 after just three overs. Despite Marlon Samuels’ 85*, the Windies were still on the back of some seriously tight bowling from England and needing 45 from four overs and then 19 from the final one.

Delivered by Ben Stokes, Carlos Brathwaite stepped up to bat and launched four sixes in a row from the over’s first four balls. All of England’s hard work had practically been undone in the space of four deliveries, and the West Indies had crowned off one of the most dramatic swings in cricketing history with another T20 title.

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