ICC ODI World Cup: The 2023 Cricket World Cup in India is currently underway, promising more thrilling matches as the tournament progresses, with the excitement centred on the on-field performances. However, occasionally, situations arise that leave cricketers baffled, catching them off guard. Unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances emerge at critical moments in the game, despite the players’ knowledge of the rules and regulations, leading to moments of astonishment in the history of the Cricket World Cup. These instances are a prove to the unpredictability and beauty of the game, where a different outcome could have changed history due to the profound impact of such incidents.
Five instances when cricketers were left confused on-field
5. Toss goof-up in ICC World Cup 2011 Final
The pivotal day of the 2011 Cricket World Cup arrived on April 2nd, set amid scorching conditions. As the captains, MS Dhoni and Kumar Sangakkara, met with match officials and Ravi Shastri for the toss at a packed Wankhede Stadium, anticipation ran high among the home crowd. Ravi Shastri initiated the process, but there was a moment of uncertainty as it seemed neither Dhoni nor Sangakkara was certain about their call, with Shastri asking for heads. After a brief pause, match referee Jeff Crowe recommended a re-toss. In the second attempt, Sangakkara correctly called heads, and Sri Lanka chose to field first.
4. Sachin Tendulkar vs Saeed Ajmal in 2011 WC Semi-Final
An India-Pakistan World Cup Semi-Final at Mohali is unmatched in magnitude. India made a strong start thanks to Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar, but a pivotal moment arrived when Shahid Afridi introduced Saeed Ajmal, who challenged Tendulkar’s wicket. Tendulkar survived with a successful review, and his 85-run innings changed the game’s course, leaving Saeed Ajmal and Pakistan regretting a missed opportunity they believe could have altered the World Cup outcome.
3. South Africa chasing 22 off 1 ball
The 1992 Cricket World Cup left a lasting mark on South Africa’s cricket history, a mix of triumph and disappointment. The Proteas made a strong comeback, reaching the semi-finals where they faced England at SCG. England set a target, and South Africa was comfortably on track, needing 22 runs off 13 balls when rain interrupted the intense match. After the rain delay, an unprecedented requirement of 22 runs from 1 ball emerged, leading to South Africa’s loss in a hard-fought contest. The controversial outcome prompted a change in the rules, eventually replaced by the D/L method.
2. England winning the 2019 World Cup by boundary count
In 2019, England, the birthplace of cricket, had a prime opportunity to claim the coveted trophy with their innovative white-ball approach, making them favorites. The final showdown, however, was filled with unexpected drama, with Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes taking England close to victory. The match went to a super over, where New Zealand matched England’s score, leading to England’s triumph based on the number of boundaries, a rule that surprised many but ultimately decided the 2019 Championship.
1. Virat Kohli walking off vs Pakistan
The stage was set at Old Trafford, Manchester, for the 2019 Cricket World Cup clash between India and Pakistan. Under overcast conditions, Pakistan chose to bowl first, and Indian openers KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma made a solid start, with skipper Virat Kohli maintaining the momentum. However, Virat’s aggressive innings was cut short when he edged a delivery from Mohammad Amir while attempting a pull shot in the 48th over. Although it seemed like the faintest of edges in real-time, the replay revealed a significant gap between the bat and the ball. This incident left Virat visibly frustrated as he watched from the dressing room, suspecting an issue with his bat. Fortunately for India, this setback didn’t affect the outcome, as they won by 89 runs (D/L method).