Thursday, February 3, 2011

Five Ridiculous World Cup Collapses

With the 2011 World Cup counting down, one could not help but look back at some of the highlights of previous editions. There were great run chases, innings, freak dismissals. But what really stood out for me were some spectacular batting collapses that took place.

Pictured: Collapse

Here are the top five:

5. Sri Lanka vs New Zealand, Semi Final 2007
A strangely gung-ho New Zealand outfit got to the semi finals in 2007 claiming that they knew how to beat Australia, and that the World Cup was theirs to lose. Jayawardene's breezy century took the real cup contenders to 289. The Black Caps were going along nice and healthy at 2-105 in the 22nd over, with the West Indies specialist Scott Styris looking in prime form.

But then... Styris mistimed one off Dilshan, and the rot began. In the space of four overs the game was over as the spinners helped themselves to batting that belonged in the nets. Once an angry Vettori departed, Sri Lanka romped home, proving that they were the *only* team who were even remotely close to Australia in that world cup. 

3-105 (Styris, 21.5 ov),  4-114 (Oram, 23.5 ov)5-114 (McCullum, 23.6 ov)
6-115 (Fulton, 24.3 ov)7-116 (Vettori, 25.4 ov)

4. India vs Zimbabwe, Pool Match 1983
These were the days of 60 over matches, and India went into this match expecting to walk all over a largely unknown and harmless Zimbabwe unit. The team boasted big names like Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth and Kapil Dev, too much for the minnows on paper.

But then... Well thank goodness for the latter of that trio. Dev smashed a brilliant 175, one of the greatest one day innings in history, to raise them from oblivion. India were 5-17 at one stage, and later 7-78, and probably utterly shell-shocked. Two thirds of the eventual score of 266 belonged to Dev alone, and when chasing Zimbabwe managed a commendable 235. What a top order collapse that was.

1-0 (Gavaskar)2-6 (Srikkanth)3-6 (Amarnath)4-9 (Patil)5-17 (Yashpal Sharma),
6-77 (Binny),7-78 (Shastri)8-140 (Madan Lal)

3. Sri Lanka vs India, Semi Final 1996
This was probably inevitable, after India inexplicably choosing to bat second on a pitch expected to crumble (see: corruption). Sachin Tendulkar, as he so often did in those days, led the one man crusade chasing a difficult 251. At 1-98 with Sachin on 65, it was an even game.

But then... Sachin was stumped down the leg side, and the madness began. A period of frantic, and laughably idiotic batting (including a run out for good measure) led the capacity (and very angry) Eden Gardens crowd to riots. The clueless shots matched the expressions of the batsmen, and the match was embarrassingly called off to leave Vinod Kambli (and the nation) weeping like a child.

2-98 (Tendulkar)3-99 (Azharuddin)4-101 (Manjrekar)5-110 (Srinath)
6-115 (Jadeja)7-120 (Mongia)8-120 (Kapoor)

Some chose not to weep. © EPSN Cricinfo Ltd

2. West Indies vs Australia, Semi Final 1996
And if that wasn't bad enough, try this. After a flaky campaign so far (including losing to Kenya), Ambrose and Bishop helped ruin the Australian top order, and the target of 207 was being easily negotiated by Chanderpaul and Richie Richardson. At 165-2 with plenty of time, it was as good as done.

But then... One of the earliest, and most ridiculous Calypso Collapso's began. The batting imploded in a manner that resembled lemmings and a cliff. It was as if Warne was bowling grenades, and the batsmen were batting with toothpicks. It was utter chaos and one can't decide whether to laugh or cry. Poor Richie Richardson was left stranded on 49, and probably needing to see a shrink.

3-165 (Chanderpaul)4-173 (Harper)5-178 (Gibson)6-183 (Adams)7-187 (Arthurton),
8-194 (Bishop)9-202 (Ambrose)10-202 (Walsh)

Winning is overrated anyway. © Getty Images

1. India vs West Indies, Final 1983
Business as usual. Having already won the first two world cups, the (then mighty) West Indies were set a meagre 183 by a struggling Indian outfit. With Viv Richards operating in Viv Richards mode, it seemed like a formality as he raced to 33 off 27 balls with seven boundaries (remember we are talking 1983 here).

But then... as if out of nowhere, the Indian seamers turned the match. After losing Richards, each of the following batsmen were confused whether to play shots or occupy the crease. Most of them managed neither, and this became one of the great underdog stories of cricket. Was it stage fright? Who knows, but from this match onwards, the West Indies never quite looked the same.

2-50 (Haynes)3-57 (Richards)4-66 (Gomes)5-66 (Lloyd)6-76 (Bacchus),
7-119 (Dujon),8-124 (Marshall)9-126 (Roberts)10-140 (Holding)

Looking more like this instead. © ESPN Cricinfo Ltd


  1. May be Irfan Pathan will be back now that his brother is doing well!

  2. But then... as if out of nowhere, the Indian spinners turned the match

    Was this an attempt at humor? but no wicket fell to a spinner in the 83 final

  3. @Golandaaz Right you are! Was meant to read 'seamers'. Silly typo, thanks.

  4. Hey Varun, I believe the link for #3 refers to the World Series and not the World Cup.

  5. @Jim Correct. Link has been updated, thanks for spotting that!