Top five instances where associate teams caused an upset in ICC tournaments


If Ireland had chased 226 against a strong Indian lineup yesterday, it would have been a huge upset. However, this would not have been the first time that an associate nation would upset a top side in international cricket. As a matter of fact, there have been plenty of instances in the past where associate teams have got the upper hand over the top sides even in World events such as the ICC World Cup or the ICC T20 World Cup. Let’s take a look at the greatest upsets in the history of ICC events caused by associate nations. 

SK Flashback: Bangladesh beat India in the 2007 World Cup

Here are five instances when associate teams defeated a top side in an ICC event: 

5. England vs the Netherlands, ICC T20 World Cup 2014 

World Twenty20 2014: Dismal England lose to Netherlands - BBC Sport

The current World Champions England faced a huge upset in the group stage of the T20 World Cup in 2014 which was played in Bangladesh. After winning the toss, England elected to field first and restricted the Dutch side to 133 in 20 overs. The English team had a strong batting lineup consisting of stalwarts like Alex Hales, Moeen Ali, Jos Buttler, and Eoin Morgan.

However, an impressive spell from right-arm medium pacer Bukhari and Logan van Beek bundled England for a mere 88 which is one of their lowest totals in T20Is. Surprisingly, this isn’t the first instance when the Dutch side got the better of the English team. The Netherlands defeated England in the 2009 T20 World Cup as well.

4. Pakistan vs Ireland, ICC World Cup 2007

Cricket photo index - Pakistan vs Ireland, ICC World Cup, 9th Match, Group  D Match photos |

1992 World Champions Pakistan had a disastrous World Cup in 2007. They lost their first game against West Indies and faced a young Irish side in their second encounter. Despite losing the first game, Pakistan had a strong unit with the likes of Inzamam, Younis Khan, M Yousuf, and Shoaib Malik leading the charge. However, Pakistan’s strong batting lineup was clueless against Ireland’s pacers who dismantled the Pakistani team for just 132.

All bowlers picked up at least one wicket with Boyd Rankin and Andre Botha doing the most damage. Chasing the small total, the Irish side faced a few hiccups as Pakistan had a formidable bowling lineup with Mohammad Sami, Umar Gul and Azhar Mahmood. But a useful 76 from Niall O’Brian and a sensible knock from Kevin O’Brian took them home with 3 wickets in hand. As a result, Pakistan was knocked out of the World Cup.

3. Sri Lanka vs Kenya, ICC World Cup 2003 

World Cup: Sri Lanka vs Kenya | Photo Gallery

Nairobi Gymkhana Club Ground saw one of the biggest upsets in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup on February 24, 2003. Kenya not only defeated the 1996 World Champions but became the first associate nation to qualify in the semis of an ICC Event. Batting first, Kenya put up a fighting total of 210 against a strong Sri Lankan bowling lineup.

But the major issue that the Kenyan side was facing was the ferocious batting lineup of Sri Lanka which had the likes of Sangakara, Jayasuriya, and Jayawardene. However, 21-year-old leg spinner Collins Obuya had other plans as he delivered one of the best spells of the tournament. Collins took 5 for 24 as Sri Lanka bundled out for just 157, giving Kenya a memorable 53-run win.

2. Australia vs Zimbabwe, ICC T20 World Cup 2007

Throwback: AUS v ZIM Match 4 Highlights | 2007 T20 World Cup

The Australian team went to South Africa for the 2007 World T20 as the tournament favourites, their stature was enhanced not just by the fact that they were World No 1 and the reigning world champions, but also because of a squad that was loaded with veritable heavyweights of the sport. They faced Zimbabwe in a group stage encounter where everyone expected it to be a one-sided contest. But what followed, shocked the entire world.

The World Champions struggled against some good fielding and bowling from Zimbabwe. Elton Chigumbura took 3-20 and Gary Brent took 2-19 as Australia were restricted to 138 for 9 wickets after 20 overs. Zimbabwe’s batsmen started well, but Australia came back strongly to restrict them to 70-4. After a rain delay, Brendan Taylor scored 60 not out as Zimbabwe reached the target with one ball remaining in a tense finish.

1. Bangladesh vs India, ICC World Cup 2007

World Cup: Loss to Bangladesh in 2007 was the toughest to digest, says Sam  Jeberson - Sportstar

World Cup 2007 was a forgettable one for the Indian team. On 17 March, India faced off against Bangladesh, which turned out to be one of the darkest days in international cricket. At that stage, Bangladesh had not established itself as one of the top sides in World cricket. But 2007 was the beginning of something special. India won the toss and elected to bat first which turned out to be a disastrous decision.

A young Mashrafe Mortaza ran through the Indian batting lineup as the Men in blue could put only 191 on the scoreboard courtesy of Mashrafe’s spell of 4 for 38. Then Bangladesh’s top batters, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, and Shakib went on to score half-centuries and completed the chase easily. This loss turned out to be disastrous for the Indian team as they were knocked out of the tournament in the group stage itself.

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