posted on 2019-06-12 13:09:12
posted by Swetha Harini
?Image courtesy: Times of India
The 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup which is currently being held in England and Wales, is the first time that 2 test-playing nations do not form a part of the tournament. The current World Cup is featuring only the top 10 test-playing nations.
Also, the constantly-growing associate nations will not be competing for the World Cup, a decision which drew widespread criticism from fans and experts alike.
Justifying its choice, the ICC assured that this would be the most competitive World Cup ever. But it must be noted that the smaller nations have caused some major upsets in the earlier editions.
That the then-small Indian team defeated a highly-fancied West Indies in the 1983 World Cup at Lords is well-known. There are also instances of several dark-horse teams like Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Bangladesh causing major upsets in World Cups.
Additionally, three of the top 7 "highest target chased in World Cups" have been by Ireland - a team that missed out on a World Cup berth in spite of being a full member. Ireland has successfully chased down 327 against England and 306 against the Netherlands in the 2011 World Cup. The team has also chased 304 against the West Indies in the 2015 World Cup.
Apart from causing major upsets, these nations have also provided cricket fans with many memorable moments.
Kevin O'Brien blows away England
One such moment is Kevin O'Brien's blitzkrieg which was instrumental in Ireland stunning England in the 2011 World Cup. Walking in at 106/4 while chasing a massive 328 for victory, O'Brien smashed a stunning 113 off just 63 balls. His century came off just 50 balls, pushing Matthew Hayden's 66 ball century to number two on the "fastest centuries in world cup" list.
Hitting 13 fours and 6 sixes, he sent the English bowlers on a leather hunt. He helped Ireland create history that night, as they successfully chased down the "highest target in world cup". Post that match, Kevin O'Brien said, " If there's a ball to be hit, I hit it as hard as I can". It was clearly a calculated knock. Hence, the team's victory was not merely by luck.
And that night, the entire cricketing fraternity stood up and applauded the grit and determination of the then-associate.
When Seelaar silenced Delhi...
When The Netherlands played India in the 2011 World Cup, the hosts were expected to win easily. However, post the match, the then-captain of India MS Dhoni was forced to say that "there were areas the team should improve".
Batting first, Netherlands lost all their wickets for 189. So, the chase was presumed to be a walk-in-the-park! But the Dutch left-arm spinner Pieter Seelaar had other ideas.
Although India got off to a great start reaching 59/0 in 7 overs, the chase lost steam once Pieter Seelaar entered the scene. Seelaar silenced the Delhi crowd by picking the prized wickets of Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar. He also picked up Yusuf Pathan, thereby slowing down the Indian innings.
It can be said that he denied India an easy win and forced them to fight for the two points. Such was the impact of his wickets, that Indian fans opined that the team had scraped through for a win. Critics were disapproving of India's approach that night and expressed disappointment at The Netherlands' defeat.
What a catch!
When Bermuda played India in the 2007 World Cup, one player from the associate nation made heads turn. His piece of brilliance in the slips sent Robin Uthappa back in the second over of the game, triggering widespread celebrations.
In a world cup marred by unpleasant incidents like India and Pakistan crashing out in the first round, the passing away of Bob Woolmer and the drunken brawl involving Andrew Flintoff, Dwayne Leverock was the one shining spot.
It is not often that Indian cricket fans celebrate when an Indian batsman gets out. But when the portly Leverock leapt to his right and held on to an edge from Robbie, celebrations were galore.
Although Bermuda lost that match, Leverock won. He won the hearts of cricket fans around the globe. His catch is fondly remembered till date.
As seen from the above-mentioned events and many other occasions, the Associates have given us many moments to relish and enjoy over the years. Thus. it will not be an exaggeration to state that these smaller nations will be badly missed this World Cup.