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Three decades of Drama: England's World Cup upsets from 1992 to 2023

Last updated on 15 Oct 2023 | 05:29 PM
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Three decades of Drama: England's World Cup upsets from 1992 to 2023

We have had our first upset of the 2023 World Cup, and it was England again

After twelve matches that were dull, one-sided affairs, maybe barring the Sri Lanka and Pakistan game, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 has finally come alive.

Out of all the matches we expected to be close, the one with the least expectation turned out to be a cracker. Unfortunately, the defending champs, England, were at the receiving end as we got the first upset of the competition. 

Remember, Afghanistan stepped into this match after an absolute drubbing from India at the same venue a few days back. On the other hand, England came into this match with confidence on the back of their massive win against Bangladesh (137-run win). 

With the help of their spinners, who picked up eight wickets, Afghanistan registered a historic win

Before this match, Afghanistan had only one win in 17 World Cup games and had lost 14 WC games in a row. Their last win had come back in the 2015 edition against Scotland. Now, they have a victory over the defending champions.

Well!! England suffering an upset in the World Cup is not something new. This game was one of many shocks they’ve endured over the years. 

England vs Ireland in 2011


An associate member then, Ireland were expected to put up a limited amount of fight against a strong full-member nation like England. But, after the first innings, when England posted a massive total of 327/8, the expectation of a win seemed to become a dream for Ireland. 

That was hampered even more with the wicket of William Porterfield on the first ball of the chase. At the end of the 25-over mark, Ireland were five down with 215 runs still required. 

Even for a full-member team, that was a daunting task. But the second half of the chase had a different story. Kevin O'Brien, batting at number six, registered a century off just 50 balls, the fastest ever before Aiden Markram broke it this year. Supported by Alex Cusack, Ireland's sixth wicket stand forged 162 runs in just 103 balls. Thanks to O’Brien’s heroics, Ireland chased the massive target with five balls to spare. 

From 113/5 at the 25th over to 329/7, it will always be one of the biggest upsets for England in World Cups.

England vs Bangladesh in 2011


As they say, one brings two, and another upset followed England in the 2011 edition.

After their demoralizing defeat against Ireland, England beat a strong South African side in Chennai in their next match. However, the luck did not last. 

They moved for their lone game in Bangladesh, and the hosts were ready to pounce. Asked to bat first, England posted a meager total of 225 before losing all their wickets. Each of the Bangladesh bowlers picked up a wicket, with Naeem Islam (2/29), Abdur Razzak (2/32) & Shakib Al Hasan (2/49) picking two-wicket-hauls. 

Again, with the bat as well, none of them went on to contribute big for Bangladesh. Imrul Kayes was the highest scorer with 60 from 100 balls. Tamim Iqbal (38 off 26) and Shakib Al Hasan (32 off 58) contributed to the cause. 

Ultimately, Bangladesh crawled to a win, losing eight wickets and reaching the target with six balls to spare. In their second World Cup encounter against England, Bangladesh registered a victory.  

England vs Zimbabwe in 1992


If anyone asks Eddo Brandes as to which match highlights his career, it would be the game against England in the 1992 World Cup. 

England had already reached the semi-finals when they faced Zimbabwe in their last encounter of the 1992 World Cup. 

The result of this game wouldn't have affected England in any way. A win or loss, they would have stayed second on the table. But it was all about momentum. 

Both teams were facing each other for the first time in ODIs. Zimbabwe, batting first, succumbed to a paltry total of 134 owing to a horrendous batting display.

But, more ridiculous batting was displayed by England. Graham Gooch was dismissed in the first ball of the innings, and none of their batters managed to cross the 30-run mark. Brandes was the hero with the ball and was awarded the Player of the Match for his spell of 4/21. 

The total of 134 defended by Zimbabwe in this match is still the lowest-ever total defended by a team in the World Cup. 

England vs Bangladesh in 2015


In two consecutive World Cups, England were battered and bruised by Bangladesh. 

The 2015 season was an odd one for England. They had lost three out of their four matches before the game against Bangladesh and desperately needed a win to stay alive. 

England had a good start after bowling first as Bangladesh were four down for 99. However, a mammoth partnership between Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim (141 from 144) for the fifth wicket helped Bangladesh hoist 275. 

With the ball, Bangladesh were in trouble when England were 97/1. Then skipper Mashrafe Mortaza dismissed Alex Hales in the 20th over, which started a collapse. Their pacers were relentless after that. England lost five wickets for 66 runs. 

Bangladesh held their nerve despite a 75-run partnership between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes for the seventh wicket. Taskin Ahmed removed Buttler, and then Rubel Hossain ran through the lower order. Eventually, Bangladesh eked out a 15-run win and beat England in consecutive World Cups.  

Anecdote: England forfeited their game against Zimbabwe in the 2003 edition, citing security reasons. 

Honourable mentions

-England have lost to the Netherlands in both their Men’s T20 World Cup encounters (2009 & 2014).

-In two games against Ireland in the T20 WC, they lost one (2022) and the other ended with no result (2010). England had set a target of 121 before the rain interrupted the game. 

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