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5 instances when underdogs stunned the world in ICC tournaments

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India v Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy Final
India v Pakistan - ICC Champions Trophy

Cricket tournaments organized by the ICC are few in number, but they always come with great expectations for the participating teams. To shortlist a champion squad in ICC tournaments, every cricketing board undertakes a lot of preparations.

The Cricket World Cup is the ICC’s biggest showpiece event held every 4 years. In smaller ICC tournaments like World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy, major cricketing teams compete against each other to show their readiness for the next World Cup. In short, if it’s an ICC led tournament, the emotions tend to run very high.

From 1975 to 2017, the ICC has organized 11 Cricket World Cup titles, 6 World Twenty20 championships and 8 Champions Trophy series. Historically, it has been seen that one of the top 3 teams (as per ICC's rating system) usually wins the title.

But there is an old saying which says, ’victory is a thousand times sweeter when you’re the underdog,’ and in this edition, we are going to look at 5 instances when a team came to an ICC tournament as underdogs but stunned the world by winning the title.

#1 India – Cricket World Cup, England in 1983 

Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev in action at the 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe

The odds on India winning the trophy were 66 to 1. In the previous 2 editions of the World Cup in 1975 and 1979, the Indian team only managed to register a single win against East Africa.

But Kapil Dev beautifully led his side to win 4 crucial matches in the league stage of the World Cup. In the match against Zimbabwe, India were struggling at 17 for the loss of 5 wickets. Kapil Dev came to bat at No. 6 and changed the course of the game by slamming 175 runs in 138 balls studded with 16 fours and 6 sixes.

In the process, Kapil Dev not only registered the world record of scoring the highest number of runs by a player in an ODI innings, but also managed to seal a semifinal berth for his country after winning the match by 31 runs.


Going into the semi-finals with the firm belief that now India could now win the World Cup, Kapil Dev and his men registered a win by 6 wickets over England. Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil and Yashpal Sharma displayed great batting skills to chase the target of 214 runs with 32 balls to spare.

Played in traditional white clothing with a red ball, the 1983 Cricket World Cup, officially the ‘Prudential Cup 83’, featured 8 teams - and every match consisted of 60 overs per innings.

In the final against the West Indies, put in to bat first, India struggled against the bowling attack spearheaded by Malcolm Marshall. After reaching 100 for the loss of 4 wickets, India were bundled out for 183 runs in 54.4 overs.

In the dressing room, Kapil Dev gave his players a stirring pep talk, and his team did not let him down.

After losing 2 quick wickets, Viv Richards looked in a hurry to finish the match. But Kapil Dev took a magnificent catch to dismiss the legend after running 20 yards towards the boundary.

After that wickets kept tumbling and finally West Indies were dismissed for a paltry 140 runs. India became only the second team after West Indies to win a World Cup.

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