Minnow Magic – Top 10 moments for Associates at the Cricket World Cup

Thursday, February 17, 2011 Posted by the sportsloop team
The 2011 Cricket World Cup could quite possibly be the last tournament for cricket’s little boys, the Associate nations, or more commonly known as ‘minnows’. The minnows have been made the scapegoat for the decline in popularity of one day cricket, and are not scheduled to be invited to the 2015 Cup, where the ICC will, in the words of Graeme Swann ‘take the world out of the World Cup’. So before possibly their last hurrah, Sportsloop takes a look at the top ten moments that teams and players from crickets developing nations have brought to the sport’s biggest event.

1                    Kenya defeat West Indies, 1996
The mighty West Indies – Lara, Ambrose, Richardson, Walsh. Greats yes, but on this day not nearly good enough to trouble a plucky set of eleven players from East Africa. The first innings was routine enough, with the Kenyans making the meagre total of 166, but from there on it was the two-time champs that were made to look like minnows. 3/15 from captain Maurice Odumbe, and 3/17 for Rajab Ali ensured West Indies were kept under 100. The Kenyans had thrashed their self-confessed idols, and created the greatest moment in minnow cricket.

2                    Ireland defeat Pakistan, 2007
Many felt that the Irish had used their luck in scrambling to a tie against an admittedly weak Zimbabwe in their opening match. But that was nothing compared to the drama that unfolded at Sabina Park on St.Patrick’s day. Pakistan made just 132 and at 4/108, Ireland were cruising. Three quick wickets set up a tense finish. With balls remaining not an issue, Kevin O’Brien batted patiently to back up his brother Niall’s match winning innings. The win guaranteed Ireland a spot in the Super Eight’s, and in history.

3                    Kenya make semi-finals, 2003
The Kenyans backed up 1996’s heroics with the best tournament of any minnow to date by making the semi-finals in the first tournament hosted in Africa. Aided by a forfeit against New Zealand, the Kenyans still managed to record wins against three Test nations in Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Collins Obuya produced a career best performance in the most impressive victory, taking 5/24 against Sri Lanka on home soil in Nairobi.

4                    John Davison’s record century, 2003
The seminal moment in Canadian cricket history, a washed-up off spinner from Victoria was amongst the unlikeliest candidates to set the World Cup record for the fastest century in a tournament that included the likes of Gilchrist and Jayasuriya. But on a sunny day at Centurion, he did just that, bringing up his ton off just 67 balls. By the time he was finally dismissed by impressive catch from Vasbert Drakes, Davison had scored 111 in a team total of 156.

5                    Zimbabwe defeat Australia, 1983
There was already cause to celebrate in Zimbabwe’s maiden appearance on the international stage. No one could imagine though that the day would end with victory over one of the games traditional powerhouses. The players who had waited so long for this moment made it count. Duncan Fletcher top scored with an unbeaten 69 in the Africans total of 239. The future England coach then backed this up with 4/42 to ensure the Australian innings never gathered the required momentum. Zimbabwe would go on to also have India on the ropes at 5/17 before 175 from Kapil Dev ended that dream.

6                    Bangladesh defeat Pakistan, 1999This performance from Bangladesh deserves to be higher on this list. However, through no fault of their own, the match fixing scandals that broke soon after the tournament, mean we may never really know just how legitimate this upset was. On paper, the Bangladeshi performance was fantastic. Pakistan were unbeaten at this stage, and were deserved tournament favourites, while Bangladesh were winless. A total of 223 from Bangladesh was competitive, but an inspired Khaled Mahmud that had Pakistan reeling at 5/43 and ensured the improbable became reality.

7                    Zimbabwe defeat England, 1992
had already sewn up a place in the semi finals, by the time they got to their final group game, against Zimbabwe, who at this stage were still not at Test status. Zimbabwe were no closer to a maiden tournament win when they were restricted to 134. Enter chicken farmer, Eddo Brandes, whose new ball spell produced four wickets and reduced England to 5/43. Brandes ended with 4/21 from 10 overs, and England finished nine runs short.

8                    Dwayne Leverock’s catch, 2007
The best Bermudan performance of the day was probably from David Hemp, who scored the side’s maiden half century against India. However the man to stamp his name in cricket folklore this day was larger than life; indeed he was larger than any other international player, Dwayne Leverock. Already a cult figure at the tournament, his catch at first slip and subsequent celebration, aided by YouTube ensured he became the only widely reported moment in Bermudan cricket history.

9                    Sri Lanka defeat India, 1979
Back in 1979, Sri Lanka were pushing hard for test status, and a good showing at the World Cup was the perfect stage to help build on their case. Against India they put in their best performance, and in doing so recorded the first ever win by a non Test playing nation. Solid contributions from the Sri Lankan top order including future Test captain Duleep Mendis and Roy Dias ensured a competitive 238, while a solid team effort with the ball ended with a 47 run win, and the minnows were on their way.  

10                Daan van Bunge bowling to Herschelle Gibbs, 2007
OK, so not exactly a highlight for Dutch cricket, or indeed the minnows in general, however van Bunge at least ensured himself a place in cricket history. Bowling an over of assorted rubbish which South African Gibbs was able to send over the boundary for six consecutive sixes, with a couple even ending up in main street of Basseterre, St.Kitts.


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