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Cricket World Cup Classics: Top 10 Thrilling Encounters

ICC World Cup  •  18 Sept, 2023  •  4,287 Views  •  ⭐ 5.0

Written by Shivani Chourasia

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The Cricket World Cup has gifted us with moments etched in cricketing lore – games that transcend time with their drama, flair, and sheer unpredictability. It's a journey through the annals of cricket's premier event, where underdogs conquer giants, legends are born, and fans revel in the ecstasy of every twist and turn. As we gear up for the 12th edition, let's reminisce about some of the most unforgettable matches that have graced the World Cup stage. Here, we present the top 10 Cricket World Cup classics.


Australia vs. West Indies, 1975 - Lords' Epic

West Indies tour of Australia | 1975 West Indies tour of Australia | Live  Score, Schedule, News
Image Credits: ESPNcricinfo

The very first World Cup final, set against the backdrop of scorching midsummer at Lord's, offered a feast for cricket connoisseurs. Captain Clive Lloyd's masterclass, a brutal century, and a memorable partnership with Rohan Kanhai laid the foundation for West Indies' triumph. The Aussies, led by Ian Chappell, fell short by 17 runs, courtesy of Vivian Richards' fielding brilliance, including three runouts.

Australia vs. South Africa, 1999 - The Last-Over Maze

My Favourite Match: A tie, a lie and complete disregard for maths - How Australia  vs South Africa '99 World Cup semi-final ruined my childhood - Firstcricket  News, Firstpost
Image Credits: Firstpost

Imagine the tension: nine runs needed off the final over. The semi-final between Australia and South Africa was a cricketing crucible, Shaun Pollock vs. Australia's hopes. Jonty Rhodes and Jacques Kallis brought it down to a solitary run needed off the last ball. But Lance Klusener's mix-up with Allan Donald, the bails flying off, and Aussie celebrations ensued, sealing their place in the final.



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England vs. Ireland, 2011 - The Kevin O'Brien Show

ICC World Cup 2011: Kevin O'Brien's unbelievable hundred helps Ireland stun  England - Cricket Country
Image Credits: Cricket Country

No World Cup story is as intertwined with one player as Kevin O'Brien's with this thriller. The first half saw England's Goliaths flex their muscles, setting a target that no one had chased before. Then, Kevin O'Brien, with no half-century in nine previous World Cup knocks, embarked on an extraordinary journey. His fastest century in World Cup history defied the odds, etching his name into Irish cricketing legend.

New Zealand vs. South Africa, 2015 - Eden Park Euphoria

New Zealand in 2015: Riding the wave | ESPNcricinfo
Image Credits: ESPNcricinfo

Eden Park, Auckland, a cauldron of emotions. South Africa, seeking their maiden final, had the hosts in a stranglehold. Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers scripted a competitive total of 281. But Brendon McCullum's audacious 56, combined with Grant Elliott's nerve-wracking six off Dale Steyn, triggered euphoric celebrations for New Zealand.

England vs. India, 2011 - Sachin's Century and Strauss's Valiant Stand

How many ODI centuries has Tendulkar scored playing abroad and in how many  matches? - Quora
Image Credits: Quora

A contest that needed no winner to be a classic. In the cauldron of Bangalore, India's Sachin Tendulkar caressed his way to a majestic 120. England's Andrew Strauss, not known for short-format fireworks, blazed to 158. The result? A breathtaking tie that left everyone breathless.



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India vs. Zimbabwe, 1983 - Kapil Dev's Miracle

On this day: Kapil Dev's miraculous 175* at Turnbridge Wells - 100MB 100MB  - Fantasy Cricket, Live Score, News, Videos
Image Credits: 100MB

Nothing captures hearts like a rousing comeback. India found themselves reeling at 17 for 5, their opening win against West Indies seemingly in vain. Enter Kapil Dev, smiting a heroic 175 and guiding India to 266. Madan Lal and Kapil wreaked havoc with the ball, setting the tone for India's historic World Cup triumph.

Australia vs. India, 1987 - Madras Heartbreak

On this day in 1987: Australia beat India by one run in World Cup
Image Credits: 100MB

Madras (now Chennai) witnessed a clash for the ages. Australia set India a target of 270, and the match unfolded as a see-saw battle. Navjot Sidhu and Krishnamachari Srikkanth played their parts brilliantly. But the heroics would ultimately prove in vain, as India suffered a one-run heartbreak.

Australia vs. West Indies, 1996 - The Passing of the Torch

AUS vs WI 2nd SF Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali, Chandigarh  March 14, 1996 | Live Score of Wills World Cup 1996
Image Credits: ESPNcricinfo

This match marked the end of one era and the birth of another. West Indies, led by Richie Richardson, seemed poised for victory when Australia slumped to 15 for 4. Stuart Law and Michael Bevan led a stirring recovery, while Shivnarine Chanderpaul carried West Indies' hopes. In the end, Australia's comeback shattered West Indies' dream of reaching yet another final.


India vs. Pakistan, 2003 - Titans Collide

India vs Pakistan World Cup History from 1992 – 2023 - Kheloo
Image Credits: Kheloo

When India meets Pakistan, it transcends cricket; it becomes folklore. Saeed Anwar's century anchored Pakistan, but Sachin Tendulkar's genius took India to victory. The game is etched in memory for Shoaib Akhtar's thunderbolts, one of which dismissed Tendulkar and resonated across Pakistan's cricketing landscape.

India vs. West Indies, 1983 - The Lord's Showdown

Lord's, 1983: The summer we can't forget | Cricket - Hindustan Times
Image Credits: Hindustan Times

A low-scoring thriller at the grand stage, the 1983 World Cup final. West Indies, with their fearsome bowling attack, seemed in control. However, Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath turned tormentors, delivering India's historic triumph at Lord's.


These matches are not just cricket; they are stories of resilience, audacity, and cricketing magic. In the rich tapestry of cricketing history, the Cricket World Cup serves as a treasure trove of unforgettable moments, where passion, skill, and the spirit of the game converge.

With the 13th edition of the Cricket World Cup on the horizon, the anticipation is palpable. The beauty of this tournament lies in its unpredictability, its potential to script new tales, and the promise of more unforgettable encounters. As we anticipate the next World Cup, these classics serve as a reminder of the thrilling narratives the tournament can deliver.

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