England is set to host the 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup in May-June 2019. The top eight teams directly qualify for the World Cup. The remaining two teams qualify by playing the ICC World Cup Qualifiers. Ten of the world’s best ODI teams will compete in a round-robin stage and set the tournament on fire.

The tournament promises some exciting contests in the teams’ journey to glory. There have been a lot of matches in the previous 11 editions that went right down to the wire. Some of the games were tied, while some of them managed to get a result. Here, let have a look at those matches:

#15. England v South Africa, World Cup 2011

England did not have the best of World Cups in 2011. They tied a game against India and had lost to minnows Ireland a few days ago. South Africa were also very challenging opponents. It did not help England’s cause that the match was on a spinning track at Chennai.

On 6 March 2011, they won the toss and decided to bat first. Their batsmen could not score freely due to their inability to play spin well. England were bowled for a mere 171 as Jonathan Trott (52) and Ravi Bopara (60) were the only two batsmen who scored the fifties. Only two others reached double figures. The South African spinners Robin Peterson and Imran Tahir made full use of the pitch as they took 3 and 4 wickets respectively.

stuart broad

Stuart Broad took 4/15 in 6.4 overs

The chase was not going to be easy as the Proteas were batting second on the turning pitch. However, openers Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith managed to score 63 in 14 overs when the first wicket fell. The wicket of Smith brought two more wickets for England and the Proteas were suddenly 82/3.

Then came the turning point of the match. From 124/3, South Africa was tottering at 127/7. The match turned on its head once again as again a partnership grew between Morne van Wyk and Dale Steyn. They scored 33 together and they needed only 12 more runs to win. However, Stuart Broad had other plans as the remaining three wickets fell in a space of 8 balls and South Africa lost the match by 6 runs.

England won the match by 6 runs and Ravi Bopara was the Man of the Match for being the highest scorer of the match.

#14. Sri Lanka v West Indies, World Cup 2003

At Cape Town on 28 February 2003, Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to set a target for West Indies. The pitch was slow and scoring runs wasn’t easy. Sanath Jayasuriya played an uncharacteristic knock of 66 from 99 balls that held the innings together and they managed to score 228 as no other batsman was able to convert his start.

mahela jayawardene ramnaresh sarwan

Mahela Jayawardene checking Sarwan after the latter was hit on the head

West Indies had a strong batting line-up with Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Carl Hooper and Shivnarine Chanderpaul being their top six. Chaminda Vaas struck twice early to get rid of Hinds and Lara. At 62/2, Sarwan got hit on his head and had to retire hurt. By then, opener Gayle was set and Chanderpaul joined him one ball later. Carl Hooper got a golden duck on that ball. Gayle and Chanderpaul had a 59-run partnership after which the former fell for 55.

Chanderpaul then continued with Vasbert Drakes and stitched a 49-run partnership before getting out. Sarwan had to come to their rescue. Despite suffering a head blow, he came in to bat and have the Lankans a scare scoring a quickfire 47 from 44 balls. He remained unbeaten but could not complete the chase as Muttiah Muralidharan and Pulasthi Gunaratne conceded just 9 runs in the final two overs.

Sri Lanka won by 6 runs and Chaminda Vaas was the Man of the Match for his figures of 10-3-22-4.

#13. Australia v West Indies, Wills World Cup 1996

It was the second semi-final of the World Cup at Chandigarh. On a pacer-friendly track in Mohali, Australia elected to bat first. Against the bowling attack of Courtney Walsh, Ian Bishop, Curtley Ambrose and Ottis Gibson, the Aussies scored a modest total of 207/8. Stuart Law (72*) and Michael Bevan (69) scored half-centuries.

208 was not a big target and given the fact that West Indies had already beaten Australia in the group stages, the chasers were clear favorites. They started well after losing Courtney Browne early. Shivnarine Chanderpaul (80), Brian Lara (45) and Sir Richie Richardson (49*) played well as West Indies had the chase in control being 173/3.

courtney walsh

Courtney Walsh was the last West Indian batsman to get out

Then the menace begin. None of the next seven batsmen got to double figures. The batsmen were in a hurry to finish the chase. In the process, they lost the next seven wickets for just 29 runs. From 173/3 to 202/10, Australia had achieved the unthinkable and stormed into the finals. Shane Warne took 4 wickets, and Glenn McGrath and Damien Fleming took 2 each.

Mark Waugh, in his biography, said about the match, “How the bloody hell did we win that?”

Australia won the match by 5 runs and Shane Warne was the Man of the Match for his figures of 4/36.

#12. Ireland v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2015

On 7 March 2015, Ireland and Zimbabwe played out one of the highest scoring nail-biters. On a fast track in Hobart, Zimbabwe elected to bowl first. The Irish scored 331/8 which was their highest ODI score in their quota of 50 overs. The innings mainly rode upon Ed Joyce (112) and Andy Balbirnie (97). Joyce shared a 63-run partnership with William Porterfield and a 138-run partnership with Andy.

Zimbabwe had chased a 300+ total only once before. So this was going to be one of their best chases in ODIs had they done it. Similar to the first innings, Zimbabwe also had a centurion and a man who fell in the nineties. After being 74/4 in 16.4 overs, Brendan Taylor (121) and Sean Williams (96) shared a 149-run partnership taking them to 223/5.

alex cusack

Alex Cusack celebrating the win

At the end of the 48th over, Zimbabwe required 26 runs off the last two overs. Tawanda Mupariwa was up for the challenge. He hit Kevin O’Brien for six and two fours in the 49th over bringing the target down to 7 off 6. Alex Cusack was the man for Ireland. He got the wicket of Chakabwa on the first ball. Zimbabwe had only one wicket remaining now. Chatara, the new man in, managed to take a single and leave Mupariwa six runs to get off the last four deliveries.

He tried to clear the boundary but ended up mishitting the ball to long-on where Porterfield took a difficult catch to win the match for Ireland.

Ireland won the match by 5 runs and Ed Joyce was declared the Man of the Match for his century in a winning cause.

#11. New Zealand v Zimbabwe, Reliance World Cup 1987

On 10 October 1987, in the 4th match of the tournament, Zimbabwe won the toss and put the Kiwis in to bat at Hyderabad. On a hot day, New Zealand posted 242 in their 50 overs with the help of the fifties from the two Martins, Snedden and Crowe. Zimbabwe needed 243 to win the match. The Kiwis had three spinners in their eleven.

The ploy worked and Zimbabwe was brought down to 104/7. At that time, it looked a one-sided affair. But, Dave Houghton, the only thorn in Kiwis’ flesh, was still at the crease. Houghton started hitting the bowlers and stitched a partnership with Iain Butchart. Butchart scored his only ODI fifty during the course of his 117-run partnership with Houghton.

dave houghton

Dave Houghton during his knock of 142

The latter scored a brilliant 142 with 13 boundaries and 6 sixes and almost sealed the deal for Zimbabwe. It took a stunner from Martin Crowe to end the stunning innings. When Houghton got out, they needed just 22 runs to win. However, the match went into the last over with six runs to win. Stephen Boock conceded just two runs and the Kiwis survived a scare.

New Zealand won the match by 3 runs but Dave Houghton was declared the Man of the Match.

#10. Australia v New Zealand, Reliance World Cup 1987

At Indore, there was heavy rain on the scheduled day of play which was 18 October. The game was then played the next day. There was rain on the reserve day as well but the game was just shortened and not aborted. The teams played a 30-overs-per-side match.

New Zealand elected to bowl first. Australia scored a good total of 199/4 in their 30 overs. David Boon (87) and Dean Jones (52) got half-centuries and set the platform for the big-hitters to score quick runs in the end. Allan Border (34 off 18) and Steve Waugh (13 off 9) made a combined total of 47 off just 26 balls.

dean jones

Dean Jones in the World Cup 1987

The momentum was with Australia but the Kiwi batsmen started well. The openers Ken Rutherford and John Wright scored 83 for the first wicket. Martin Crowe then came in and cashed in on the base set by the openers. He scored 58 off just 48 balls. He failed to get an able partner as none of the remaining eight batsmen scored over 15 runs.

He fell when the score read 193/6 with the Kiwis needing only 7 runs to win. Steve Waugh picked him and Ian Smith in quick succession and restricted them to 196/9.

Australia won the match by 3 runs and David Boon earned the Man of the Match award for his 87 off 96 balls.

#9. West Indies v South Africa, World Cup 2003

This match gave the perfect start to the ICC World Cup 2003. West Indies elected to bat first at Cape Town. They lost two quick wickets, Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle. In came Brian Charles Lara, who had not played a game in the last five months due to an injury. But, this was not evident from the knock he played that day. After being dropped on zero on the first ball, he just made the bowlers pay.

Lara’s knock of 116 from 134 balls included 12 boundaries and 2 sixes. Carl Hooper and Ricardo Powell supported him and scored 40 each. The hosts were set a target of 279 to win the tournament opener.

brian lara

Brian Lara after getting to his hundred

The South African innings never got going as their batsmen failed to convert the starts into a big knock and the wickets kept falling. Gary Kirsten (69) opened the innings and saw 4 wickets fell around him. After Gary was out, the responsibility of the innings was taken by Mark Boucher who scored 49 and shared a 44-run partnership with Lance Klusener.

It was the eighth-wicket partnership between Klusener and Nicky Boje (25*) of 67 runs that kept them in the hunt. Klusener fell with Proteas needing 8 runs to win off 10 balls. Unfortunately, Boje could manage only 3 runs in the last over and losing the match by 3 runs.

West Indies won the match by 3 runs and Brian Lara was the Man of the Match for a century in his first game after five months.

#8. Zimbabwe v India, World Cup 1999

It was the World Cup that Rahul Dravid made his own. However, he could not help India to beat Zimbabwe in the 8th match of the tournament. India elected to field first in Leicester.

Zimbabwe scored 252/9 riding on a half-century from Andy Flower (68*) and decent contributions from his brother Grant Flower (45) and Alistair Campbell (24). None of the other batsmen got good starts. However, the second-highest scorer of the Zimbabwe innings was ‘Extras’! India gave away 51 extras including 16 no-balls and 21 wide-balls.

henry olonga venkatesh prasad

Henry Olonga appealing for the final Indian wicket

Indian bowling was responsible for the loss as they were fined four overs was slow over rate. This was terrible from India on the field. Sadagoppan Ramesh scored 55 and Ajay Jadeja scored 43. They shared a 99-run partnership which was the only partnership in India’s innings over 50. India had only 46 overs to complete the run-chase.

There were contributions from Nayan Mongia (28) and Javagal Srinath (18). Zimbabwe also aided the Indians with 39 extras. A total of 90 extras were bowled in the match! (second-highest in an ODI). India needed 7 runs to win off 11 balls which looked easy. But, just then, Robin Singh (35) got out and then the tail-enders could manage just 3 more runs.

Zimbabwe won the match by 3 runs and Grant Flower won the Man of the Match award for scoring 45 off 89 and taking the most important wicket of S Ramesh.

#7. Sri Lanka v England, World Cup 2007

England elected to field first in a Super Eight match against Sri Lanka at North Sound. Sri Lanka were well placed at 69/2 in 18.1 overs. Mahela Jayawardene (56) joined opener Upul Tharanga (62) at the crease and the duo shared a 91-run partnership.

From being in the best of positions, Sri Lanka slid down from 160/2 to 235/10. They lost their last 8 wickets for just 75 runs. Sajid Mahmood and Andrew Flintoff took 4 and 3 wickets respectively.

sri lanka

Sri Lankan team in World Cup 2007

England needed 236 to win on a batting track and they were clear favourites. England lost their first two wickets for just 11 runs. Then Kevin Pietersen (58) joined Ian Bell (47) in the middle and they had a 90-run partnership. England lost their next 4 wickets for just 32 runs. England were now 133/5. Ravi Bopara (52) and Paul Nixon (42) held the England innings together. They added 83 runs and took England 16 runs away from victory.

Nixon fell in the 49th over. England needed 16 runs off 7 balls with Bopara still out there. Dilhara Fernando bowled the final over with 12 runs to defend. He gave away seven runs off the first three deliveries. With England needing 5 off 3, both the batsmen got a single each. Bopara needed to score three off the final ball to win. Instead, he was cleaned up by Fernando and England lost by two runs.

Sri Lanka won the match by 2 runs but Ravi Bopara was declared the Man of the Match for his brilliant 52 off 53 balls.

#6. Australia v India, Reliance World Cup 1987

India and Australia played the famous tied test a year ago at Chepauk. On 9 October 1987, India put the Aussies into bat. Australia got a good total of 270. David Boon (49) and Geoff Marsh (110) scored 110 for the first wicket before the former was out. Dean Jones joined Marsh at the crease and scored 39 sharing a partnership of 64 with the latter. Marsh began to score runs freely after Jones got out. Sharing a 54-run stand with Allan Border, the new batsman scored just 16.


Australian team at the 1987 World Cup

The Aussies set India 271 to win in their 50 overs. Sunil Gavaskar (37), Kris Srikkanth (70) and Navjot Singh Sidhu (73) provided the base for the middle order to capitalize. India were 229/3 and needed just 42 runs to win with seven wickets in hand. The middle order screwed up the chase and India were left to chase 8 off the last over with 2 wickets in hand. Kiran More was at the non-striker’s end when India needed 2 runs to win off 2 balls.

Manoj Prabhakar hit the ball to Border and started taking the run. There was no run in it and More declined the run and Prabhakar was run-out. Maninder Singh faced the last ball of Steve Waugh. India needed 2 runs to win and 1 run to tie the match. Maninder got cleaned up and India lost the match by 1 run.

Australia won by 1 run and Geoff Marsh was the Man of the Match for his 110.

#5. Australia v India, Benson & Hedges World Cup 1992

India faced the hosts Australia at Brisbane. Australia elected to bat first and put runs on the board. They managed to get to 237/9. Dean Jones (90) was the only half-centurion in their innings. He was supported by useful contributions from David Boon (43) and Steve Waugh (29). Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar took 3 wickets each on a pitch not that good for batting.


A still from Australia’s innings

India needed 238 to win their 50 overs. India were 45/1 after 16.2 overs when rain interrupted play. The game was shortened and India were set 236 runs to win in 47 overs. Mohammad Azharuddin (93) and Sanjay Manjrekar (47) made a 66-run stand which was the only significant stand in the Indian innings.

India needed 13 runs to win off the last 6 balls. Kiran More hit the first two balls for boundaries and then got out. India needed 5 runs off 3 balls with Javagal Srinath and Venkatapathy Raju at the crease. The duo managed to get three runs and India lost by a run.

Australia won the match by 1 run and Dean Jones was the Man of the Match for his 90.

#4. Ireland v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2007

Zimbabwe elected to bowl first at Kingston on 15 March 2007. Ireland innings was all about one man. Jeremy Bray scored an unbeaten 115 of 137 balls while none of the other batsmen impressed. The next highest score was 28 by Andrew White. Bray’s knock included 10 boundaries and 2 sixes.

Christopher Mpofu, Elton Chigumbura and Gary Brent picked 2 wickets each as the wickets kept coming at regular intervals. The highest partnership was worth 56 between Bray and White. Ireland scored 221/9 in their 50 overs and set Zimbabwe 222 to win.


White running-out Rainsford

Vusi Sibanda scored 67 off 84 balls before getting out hit-wicket to White. Stuart Matsikenyeri was the other half-centurion for Zimbabwe as he scored an unbeaten 73 off 76 balls. Stuart’s innings wasn’t sufficient as they choked in the final moments of the game.

They needed 9 runs off the last over to win the game. Matsikenyeri scored eight off the first five. They needed just one run to win off the last ball. Matsikenyeri completely missed the ball. Rainsford got run-out while trying to steal a run and the game ended in a tie!

The match was tied and Jeremy Bray was awarded the Man of the Match for his single-handed performance in the first innings.

#3. South Africa v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2003

It was a do-or-die match for both the teams. At Durban, Sri Lanka elected to bat first. Sri Lanka made 268/9 in their 50 overs. Opener Marvan Atapattu scored 124 from 129 balls hitting 18 boundaries. Aravinda de Silva also contributed 74 runs to the total. The duo shared a 152-run partnership. After Atapattu fell with the score 242/4 in 44.5 overs, Sri Lanka managed just 26/5 in the last 31 balls.

The momentum shift in the last 5 overs gave hope to the home side of qualifying for the semis. Graeme Smith (35) and Herschelle Gibbs (73) scored 65 for the first wicket. There were no major contributions from the next three batsmen. Skipper Shaun Pollock scored 25.

mark boucher

Mark Boucher hitting the final six

Then came the crucial moment with the score 223/6 in 44.5 overs. There was consistent drizzle at Durban and the game could have been stopped at any moment. Mark Boucher batting on 39 got a message from the dressing room that the score needed to be 229 at the end of 45 overs in case of rain stoppage. Boucher hit a six and the Proteas got to 229. He celebrated the six and defended the last ball in order to not lose a wicket.

The drizzle got heavier and the play was stopped. There was no further play possible. South Africa would have won the game at that stage, BUT, there was a mistake in reading the DL par score by the skipper Pollock. 229 was the target to tie the game. The match ended in a tie and the South African dressing room and fans were absolutely distraught. Sri Lanka advanced into the semis.

The match was tied and Marvan Atapattu won the Man of the Match award for his century.

#2. India v England, World Cup 2011

India elected to bat first at Bengaluru. India’s most experienced player, Sachin Tendulkar hit a brilliant century scoring 120 runs off 115 balls. His knock included 10 boundaries and 5 sixes. Gautam Gambhir (51) and Yuvraj Singh (58) aided Sachin’s knock to help India get to 338 in their 50 overs. India could have got even more than India’s last seven wickets not fallen for 35 runs.

Tim Bresnan broke the back of India’s final overs hitting as he took all the 5 wickets that went to the bowlers after that. England’s innings were aided by captain Andrew Strauss’s 158 and Ian Bell’s 69. England were on course to win the match being 280/2 at the end of 42 overs. Then they decided to take the batting powerplay.

zaheer khan

Zaheer Khan during his match-turning spell

England’s collapse began in this powerplay. Zaheer Khan’s brilliant spell brought Indi into the game as he took the wickets of Strauss, Bell and Paul Collingwood that took the match into the last over.

The visitors required 14 runs to win off the last six balls. The equation then came down to 11 runs off 4 balls. Shahzad hit Munaf Patel for a six to make the equation 5 off 3. The next ball, they stole a bye. 4 off 2. Next ball, Swann inside edges it to fine leg and the batsmen run two. 2 off 1. Swann nails the drive straight to mid-off. A fumble allowed England one run and the match ended in a tie!

The match was tied and Andrew Strauss was awarded the Man of the Match for his brilliant 158 off 145 balls.

#1. Australia v South Africa, World Cup 1999

It was the second semi-final of the ICC World Cup 1999 at Birmingham. South Africa won the toss and elected to bowl first against Australia. Australia scored 213/10. Steve Waugh scored 56 off 76 and Michael Bevan scored 65 off 101 balls. The duo shared a 90-run partnership.

Ricky Ponting had a fair contribution of 37 runs off 48 balls. Shaun Pollock took a five-wicket haul. He picked up both the half-centurions. A target of 214 was not that tough but the pressure of a semi-final was always there.

The South African innings started well with the first wicket falling at 48. Jacques Kallis played the anchor role scoring 53 runs off 92 balls. He was supported by Jonty Rhodes who scored 43 off 55 balls. The 84-run stand took the Proteas closer to victory.

The crucial moment came in the 49th over. South Africa needed 18 runs to win off 12 balls with three wickets in hand. Mark Boucher got out on the second ball bringing the equation down to 18 off 10. The new batsman Elworthy got run-out two balls later with the target then being 16 off 8. Lance Klusener hit McGrath down the ground where Paul Reiffel dropped the catch and the ball went for a six. Klusener took a single off the last ball to retain strike.

south africa

The last wicket chaos

South Africa were 205/9 requiring 9 runs off the last over. Damien Fleming bowled probably the most dreaded couple of balls of his life as Klusener got two boundaries off those. Australia were down and out of the game as the Proteas required just one off the last 4 balls. Fleming then bowled a dot ball. 1 off 3. The next ball, Klusener pushed to mid-off and ran straight away. Donald didn’t want to take the run as he thought it was risky. By then, Klusener had reached the bowler’s end and both the batsmen were stranded at the same end. By then, Gilchrist removed the bails and South Africa were all-out for 213.

Australia qualified for the finals as they were placed higher in the Super Sixes points table and South Africa proved why they are called ‘chokers’

The match ended in a tie and Shane Warne was awarded the Man of the Match for his figures of 10-4-29-4 as Australia qualified for the Finals of the ICC World Cup 1999.