ICC Cricket World Cup, the grandest spectacle of world cricket, is currently in its 12th edition as the fans wait in anticipation to know which team will be crowned champions. England, Australia and India enter as favorites to win the World Cup while West Indies are being hailed as dark horses.
The International Cricket Council initiated this mega-event in the year 1975. West Indies won the first 2 World Cups without losing a single match before team India ended their reign at the top in 1983. The Asian countries established themselves as the world's best for some years but the Australians changed the landscape of cricket completely with their undefeated streak in the World Cups.
Australia's reign lasted for a very long time until India emerged as the 'King-slayers' once again to win the World Cup. However, it took only 4 years for the Australian team to regain their crown.
In these 11 editions of the Cricket World Cup, a lot of nations have taken part and made their presence felt. But, very few people remember the records created by them because the teams like Australia, India and Pakistan have been the focal point of the cricket fans.
Here, we will have a look at the 3 lesser known facts about the Cricket World Cup.
#3 Canada registered the lowest ever team total in a World Cup match
Often a team's best batsman has the responsibility of carrying the team on his shoulders by playing an innings of 40-50 runs in every game. However, the Canadian team reached newer lows in 2003 when all of their 11 batsmen (and extras) combined to put up a score of 36 on the board. None of the batsmen managed to reach double digits in this innings, with the team's opener DR Chumney and captain JV Harris emerging as the top scorers, aggregating 9 runs each.
The Sri Lankan bowlers showed no mercy on the minnows as Chaminda Vaas, Prabath Nissanka, Muttaih Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando shattered the Canadian lineup in under 19 overs. Nissanka was the wrecker-in-chief of the innings, with figures of 7-1-12-4.
Sri Lanka chased down the total in just 4.4 overs as Marvan Atapattu played a whirlwind knock of 24*(14). Nissanka won the player of the match award for his brilliant bowling performance.
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#2 Sri Lanka is yet to defeat Pakistan and win a knockout match against South Africa
Sri Lanka made history by becoming the third Asian country to win a Cricket World Cup in 1996. Ideally, if you win a World Championship, you are expected to be able to defeat any given team on any given day. But, this is not the case in that of Sri Lanka's. The islanders have played all the World Cups conducted thus far but they are yet to defeat South Africa and Pakistan in a World Cup match.
Speaking about their rivalry with Pakistan first, Sri Lanka have tried to defeat Pakistan 7 times at the World Cup but they have failed to do so on every occasion. Be it their first ever meeting in the 1975 World Cup or their 2011 World Cup clash in Colombo, the Men in Green have always got the better of the Lankan Lions. All world champions except Sri Lanka have defeated Pakistan in the World Cup at least 6 times.
Till date, South Africa has only won one knockout match in the Cricket World Cup. Nicknamed as the chokers of the tournament, the Rainbow Nation has always found it difficult to handle the pressure of a World Cup knockout match. But, this pressure was not visible when they battled Sri Lanka in the quarterfinal of the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. The Proteas won their first and only knockout match in World Cup history by defeating Sri Lanka by 9 wickets.
#1 Ireland is the only team to successfully chase down 300+ score thrice in the World Cups
Ireland, the underdogs of the ICC Cricket World Cup have always punched above their weight and troubled the major cricketing nations of the world. Their fairytale journey started in the year 2007 when they upset former champions Pakistan in a group stage match. The Irishmen reached the Super 8 stage but could not make it to the semifinals.
In 2011, Ireland made history by defeating England for the first time in cricket history. What was more special about this win was that Ireland chased a mammoth total of 327 to win the match. All-rounder Kevin O' Brien hit the fastest century in World Cup history to help Ireland win the match.
A few nights later, the Irishmen chased down another 300+ total when they took field against the Netherlands at Kolkata. Ryan ten Doeschate's hundred took the Dutch team to 306 in the first innings. Ireland reached 307/4 in just 47.4 overs thanks to a century from Paul Stirling's bat.
In 2015, Ireland successfully chased down another 300+ total as they upset two-time champions West Indies to win the match by 4 wickets. Paul Stirling was the hero once again. The batsman smashed 92 runs off just 84 balls to make Windies' total of 304 achievable.
Playing under immense pressure in the World Cups, even teams like Australia and India have not been able to achieve the feat which the nation of Ireland has achieved. It is truly a pity that this team is not a part of the 2019 World Cup.