Top 10 Moments from the Cricket World Cup

Vinay Patel

As the fate of 50-over cricket hangs in the balance and the T20 sharks continue to circle, it is safe to say that the Cricket World Cup provided some breath-taking and jaw-dropping moments. Vinay Patel shares ten of the very best that transpired in India during CWC23.


10. Kettleborough fashions wide grin


As India were closing in on a comfortable victory against Bangladesh, Virat Kohli stood at 99* and his side needed two runs to win. The Blue Army in Pune were on their feet as Nasum Ahmed charged down the wicket, only for it to travel down the leg side of Kohli.

Let us all breathe a sigh of relief that such a decision was made towards the end of a rather one-sided contest

While it seemingly looked like a wide delivery, umpire Richard Kettleborough had other ideas and couldn’t help but fashion a smirk as Kohli had another chance to claim his century. He was sure to take advantage of it just two balls later and in some style too, smashing it for six over deep mid-wicket. While many will question the integrity of Kettleborough, let us all breathe a sigh of relief that such a decision was made towards the end of a rather one-sided contest.

9. Beckham and Bollywood sprinkle some stardust in Bombay

While no one can dispute the chaos brought by Youtuber IShowSpeed earlier in the tournament, a little more class was required from one of the greatest sporting icons, David Beckham, to elevate India’s semi-final clash with New Zealand to its rightful place. Prior to this, Beckham spent several days in Gujarat as an ambassador for Unicef, which partnered with the International Cricket Council (ICC) during the tournament to promote equal rights and opportunities for boys and girls.


Before the match began, Beckham was seen on the pitch with cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar, as they both had a chat with some of the players. The England legend was not alone however, as dotted around the Wankhede were Bollywood actors John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor, and the one and only Shah Rukh Khan, among others. Their presence made for a momentous occasion as India overcame New Zealand to reach the final.



8. Afghanistan topple the holders to kickstart rollercoaster campaign


Having already tasted defeat in their first two games at the hands of Bangladesh and India, Afghanistan faced a seemingly uphill task when their next opponents were the World Cup holders England. Despite being bowled out, the Afghans posted a respectable total of 284 and it was over to England.

Afghanistan […] looked like semi-final contenders, had it not been for the heroics of a certain Aussie

The Three Lions’ hopes of a one-sided contest quickly faded when Fazalhaq Farooqi removed Jonny Bairstow for 2(4) and Joe Root fell for just 11(17) at the hands of Mujeeb Ur Rahman. From then on, Mujeeb and fellow off-spinners Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan ran riot as England were skittled for just 215. Afghanistan also claimed the scalp of rivals Pakistan and looked like semi-final contenders, had it not been for the heroics of a certain Aussie.  


7. World Cup heartbreak once again South Africa


The Proteas quickly established themselves as the tournament’s dark horses as their phenomenal batting performances made easy work of Australia, England, and New Zealand towards the back end of the group stage. Quinton de Kock’s run tally of 594 was only bettered by Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, as South Africa secured a second-place finish in the table.

Their wait for a World Cup final appearance will have to be put on hold for another four years

Previously, the Proteas have been labelled as ‘chokers’ after constantly crumbling under pressure during CWC knockout games but they were determined to set the record straight. After electing to bat first, Temba Bavuma’s side were bowled out for a measly 212, albeit on a difficult batting wicket at the Eden Gardens. Despite reducing the Aussies to 137-5 and giving themselves a lifeline, the eventual eighth-wicket partnership of Mitchell Starc and skipper Pat Cummins sealed South Africa’s fate. Their wait for a World Cup final appearance will have to be put on hold for another four years.


6. Resurgent Shami rocks the Kiwis (twice)


Following the tournament ending injury to crucial all-rounder Hardik Pandya against Bangladesh, Mohammed Shami finally received his call-up to the side. Despite forming a formidable bowling trio with Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuveneshwar Kumar during CWC 2019, Shami was harshly left out of India’s main XI up until this moment. He would go on to make head coach Rahul Dravid regret that decision…


His very first delivery was enough to remove New Zealand’s Will Young, following a thick inside edge and the seamer would go on to secure a vital five-for in their group stage victory over the Kiwis. His statement performance meant that he nailed down a starting spot for the rest of the tournament. As the hosts faced New Zealand once again in the semi-finals, Shami took an astonishing seven wickets and ended the tournament as the leading wicket taker (24).



5. Netherlands beat South Africa in huge upset


Playing in their first World Cup since 2011, the Netherlands knew they had to dig deep to cause any shockwaves in the competition. After being put into bat by South Africa, they fell to 112-6 after just 27 overs in what was forecast to be a routine victory for the in-form Proteas. However, Scott Edwards delivered a true captain’s knock of 78* as they recovered to 248-8 under the rainy conditions in Dharamsala.


It wasn’t until South Africa were reduced to 44-4 that the Netherlands had a genuine chance of emerging victorious in this contest. Consistent wicket taking heavily restricted the Proteas from building a partnership and it was Edwards’ winning catch of the game that sent the underdogs into delirium. A famous upset like this, on the world’s biggest stage only emphasises the importance of preserving 50 over cricket, surely?


4. Shakib Al Hassan controversially times out Angelo Mathews


If you thought Deepti Sharma’s Mankad run-out of Charlie Dean last year was controversial, you might want to strap in…


Following Sadeera Samarawickrama’s dismissal at the hands of Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, Sri Lanka were 135-4 and Angelo Mathews walked out to the crease. Pretty ordinary right? It wasn’t until Mathews’ helmet strap appeared to break as he was tightening it, that things started to get interesting. Naturally, he called for a replacement, which was brought out to him and all was well. Shakib however, had other ideas.

Despite his shock, even Erasmus was at the mercy of the ICC playing conditions

During Mathews’ helmet malfunction, a Bangladesh fielder supposedly informed his captain that a new batsman could be timed out if he exceeds the two minute timer that he is afforded to face his first ball. Shakib then requested that Mathews be timed out to on-field umpire Marais Erasmus. Despite his shock, even Erasmus was at the mercy of the ICC playing conditions and was forced to dismiss the Sri Lankan all-rounder, much to his frustration.


The Tigers ultimately got the better of Sri Lanka and Mathews became the first player to be dismissed as timed out in international cricket.


3. Virat Kohli breaks Tendulkar’s ODI century record


Having been relieved of captaincy, Virat Kohli seemed like a player unleashed, standing out in the T20 World Cup in Australia last November and in the Indian Premier League a few months ago. Thus, it seemed inevitable that he would break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 49 centuries in one day internationals, given that he was shy by just two.


A birthday century against South Africa was enough to draw level with ‘the Little Master’, following his heroics against Bangladesh. The stage was set at none other than Tendulkar’s home ground in the Wankhede, for their semi-final fixture against New Zealand. The entire stadium was on their feet as Kohli stood at 98* and a rare outburst of emotion followed as he raced down the wicket for his second run, punching the air in celebration before dropping to his knees.

You get the feeling that he won’t be burdened with company anytime soon

Visibly overwhelmed, Kohli was never going to miss the opportunity to quite literally bow down to the master, as Tendulkar applauded from the stands. Virat Kohli stands alone with 50 centuries in ODI cricket and you get the feeling that he won’t be burdened with company anytime soon.


2. Cummins’ stellar captaincy stuns the hosts as Australia win World Cup


While tournament hosts (and favourites) India got off to a flying start, Australia couldn’t have got off to a worse start. They suffered heavy defeats at the hands of India and South Africa in their first two games. However, following the return of wicketkeeper batsman Josh Inglis and opener Travis Head, the Aussies regrouped and won their remaining seven games of the group stage.


Despite a scare against the Proteas in the semi-final, they advanced to the final where they would face the hosts in Ahmedabad. By this stage, the tournament was India’s to lose, given their unbeaten run thus far. In the final’s build-up, Australia captain Pat Cummins said that “nothing [would be] more satisfying than hearing a big crowd go silent”. He did just that.

A supreme knock of 137 by Travis Head […] proved all too much for the hosts as the Aussies galloped to World Cup glory

Upon winning the toss, Cummins sent India into bat on a difficult wicket and they were bowled out for just 240. The 92,000 fans were silenced as record breaker Virat Kohli departed for 54 and little else was enough to buoy the sinking atmosphere. However, Australia found themselves up against it after being reduced to 47-3 but a supreme knock of 137 by Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne’s accompanying 58* proved all too much for the hosts as the Aussies galloped to World Cup glory.


The inevitability of Australia in World Cup competitions remained ever-present, as they lifted a record extending 6th title. The brilliant captaincy of Pat Cummins outshone that of Rohit Sharma’s on the day and Australia were the deserving winners. Cummins’ decision to miss IPL 2023 proved to be a fruitful one, as he has since led the Aussies to World Test Championship glory, Ashes retention, and a World Cup to round off a spectacular year. Such a moment could have only been surpassed by the individual brilliance of one man…


1. Maxwell’s all-timer innings crushes resolute Afghans


In their bid to secure an unprecedented place in the semi finals, Afghanistan won the toss against Australia and opted to bat first. Rashid Khan and Ibrahim Zadran stood out, with the latter making 129 as they set their opponents a total of 292 to win. A horror start for the Aussies saw them fall to 91-7 in what was sure to be Afghanistan’s biggest result in their history. However, Glenn Maxwell still remained.


Maxwell, who was dropped twice early on in his innings, brought up his half century and began to establish himself as an immovable object when he claimed his century off just 76 deliveries. Afghanistan had a problem on their hands and they weren’t aided by captain Pat Cummins, who was more than willing to soak up pressure from the bowlers while Maxwell laboured on.

Ninth wicket Adam Zampa was ready to come out if he retired hurt

Additionally, Maxwell’s issues with cramp persisted, to the point that ninth wicket Adam Zampa was ready to come out if he retired hurt. Despite an astonishing lack of footwork, Glenn Maxwell tallied up his third half century of the game in 28 deliveries as the game began to tilt in the Aussies’ favour. Visibly in pain, he was in no mood to hang around and secured his double century and Australia’s place in the semi-finals, in just 24 balls, doing so in style by smashing four consecutive boundaries.


Glenn Maxwell had written his name into the history books, becoming only the third double centurion in World Cup history. The 202-run partnership between himself and Cummins was the highest 8th wicket partnership in ODI history. It was at this point that the tables began to turn for the eventual champions and why this moment is fully deserving of its place at the top.


Vinay Patel

Featured image courtesy of Ajay Parthasarathy via Unsplash. Image use license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In article image 1 courtesy of @icc & @mdshami.11 via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 2 courtesy of @icc & @cricketworldcup via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 3 courtesy of @cricketaustralia via Instagram. No changes were made to this image. 

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