5 Major Upsets in T20 World Cup History

Biggest upsets in T20 World Cups

The 8th edition of the ICC T20 World Cup is up and running in Australia. In a span of 11 days, we have already witnessed three upsets – by Namibia against Sri Lanka, Scotland against West Indies, and Ireland against England.

But what are the greatest upsets in the T20 World Cups? Do they include any of the three upsets mentioned above?

To find the answers, let’s talk about the 5 biggest upsets in the history of T20 World Cups.


1) Netherlands vs England 2009


England were humbled by the Netherlands in the first game of the group stages of the 2009 T20 World Cup, that too at Lords. That sounds quite shocking, doesn’t it? However, it’s a reality that English fans would like to forget.

While batting first, England started remarkably well at the home of Cricket. Ravi Bopara and Luke Wright provided them with a 102-run opening partnership before the latter fell in the 12th over. Now, all they needed was to keep the momentum going, but the Dutch bowlers didn’t allow English batters to do that.

Only 25 runs came from the next 26 deliveries, and 2 more wickets went down. England couldn’t find any acceleration and ended their innings at 162–5. Bopara and Wright scored 46 and 71, respectively, while Ryan ten Doeschate bagged 3 wickets.

In response, the Netherlands lost their openers for just 23 runs, but managed partnerships of 43 and 50 runs for the 3rd and the 4th wicket. When the 4th wicket fell, they needed just 47 of the last 7 overs. But, England bowlers took the game to the last over.

Stuart Broad bowled some terrific yorkers in the final over to leave himself with 2 to defend on the final ball. However, his overthrow cost an extra run, and the Netherlands got themselves through to a famous win. Tom de Grooth top-scored for the Netherlands with 49, and Jimmy Anderson snared 3 wickets.


2) Zimbabwe vs Australia 2007


The Australian team of the first decade of the 21st century was a force to reckon with. But Zimbabwe showed them no respect in the inaugural season of the T20 World Cup. Considering the star-studded Aussie lineup in that tournament, it’s fair to say that it was the biggest upset in the history of Australian Cricket.

Zimbabwean bowlers started on a high by dismissing Australia’s top 3 – Hayden, Gilchrist, and Pointing – for just 19 runs. The Aussies struggled to find a way out of the early stutter as they lost their 4th wicket on 48 runs in the 10th over. Andrew Symonds (33 off 25) and Brad Hodge (35 off 22) dragged their side to 138 for 9 in 20 overs. Elton Chigumbura and Gary Brent grabbed 3 and 2 wickets, respectively.

While chasing a low score, Vusi Sibanda gave his team a brisk start with 5 boundaries in his score of 23. The Aussie bowlers fought hard to bring their team back into the contest. When Hamilton Masakadza became the 5th Zimbabwean batter to depart, his side needed 16 off 9 balls.

Eventually, the chasing side required 12 runs in the final over of the match to complete a landmark win. Brendan Taylor – who came in to open the innings – was still there. With 4 needed off the last couple of deliveries, Taylor found the boundary ropes towards the fine-leg region to lead Zimbabwe to this glorious moment against mighty Australia.

He was unbeaten on 60 off 45 balls and was awarded the Man of the Match award.


3) Netherlands vs England 2014


The Netherlands continued to be a nightmare for the English side in the T20 World Cups after upsetting them for the second time. Batting first, the Dutch were going pretty well. With 35 deliveries left in the match, they were placed comfortably at 110 for 3.

But Stuart Broad’s 3 for 20 in 4 overs reduced them to just 133 for 5 at the end of their innings. Wesley Barresi (48 off 45) and Stephan Myburgh (39 off 31) were two standout performers with the bat.

What should have been a simple chase for England turned out to be an onerous task for them. After losing 3 wickets in the powerplay, they got themselves into a shell. There was no respite for the English batters as wickets kept tumbling, and they were bowled out for just 88 runs.

Only 3 of the England batsmen entered the double figures as they slipped to a 45-run defeat. Logan van Beek and Mudassar Bukhari picked 3 wickets apiece to secure a thumping win over England.


4) Afghanistan vs West Indies 2016


What’s the first thing that comes to your mind after hearing about the T20 World Cup 2016? I presume that it will be Carlos Brathwaite’s 4 sixes to Ben Stokes – that won West Indies their 2nd World T20 trophy.

But you may be surprised to know that the Windies suffered a huge upset against Afghanistan in the same tournament. The Afghans could only set a target of 124 runs against a mighty West Indies batting lineup.

Samuel Badree was the key figure in the Windies’ bowling lineup as he picked up 3 wickets. Andre Russell also shined with 2 wickets against his name. For Afghanistan, Najibullah Zadran was the lone warrior who remained not out at 48(40).

West Indies were going fine in the chase as they required 45 runs off the last 6 overs, with 6 wickets in hand. But Amir Hamza’s sensational spell of 4 overs, 9 for 1 – combined with 2 wickets each by Rashid and Nabi – saw Afghanistan secure a 6-run win over the eventual champions of that season.


5) Ireland vs England 2022


So, it was England once again at the receiving end of an upset. After defeating Afghanistan in their World Cup opener, England were eyeing to make it two in two against the Irish team. However, an 82-run partnership between Andrew Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker took Ireland past the 100-run mark in the 12th over.

England bowlers fought back courtesy of 3-fers from Wood and Livingstone. Sam Curran’s brilliance at the death resulted in Ireland getting bowled out for 157 in the last over. Balbirnie top scored with 62, and Curran picked up 2 wickets.

While defending a competitive total, Irish bowlers stunned the English top order by picking 3 crucial scalps in the powerplay. When Harry Brook (18 off 21) and David Malan (35 off 37) lost their wickets after playing sluggish knocks, the score was just 86 for 5 in 13.1 overs.

Moeen Ali arrived at the crease and smashed his way to 24*off 12 to shift the momentum back to England. With 53 runs required in 33 balls, the match was hanging in balance, but the rain arrived and refused to leave anytime soon.

The relentless rain didn’t allow any more action in Melbourne as Ireland sealed a 5 runs victory according to the DLS method. Consequently, England suffered another upset in the T20 World Cups.

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