Cricket is a game of uncertainties and unexpected twists and turns. Any fan will want a thrilling game where both the teams match each other and it's more about winning certain moments of the game than the entire match. Such situations bring out the best out of any player and make for great action like sixes, wickets and excellent fielding performances.
There have been few teams who have made it a habit of taking matches towards the last over and few who prefer to finish it cleanly. Let's take a look at the top 5 teams who have won matches of the last ball.
Fact: Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are the only teams in the Top 10 to never have won a match of the last ball.
#5 Zimbabwe and England- 3
England started the trend beating Pakistan with Ian Botham seeing the game off for England in 1977. Their next such victory was against the West Indies in 1986 when Graham Gooch's spectacular hundred won them the game. The last one was against Indian in Jaipur in 1993 when Graeme Hick and Chris Lewis finished off the game for England.
As for Zimbabwe, they got their first such win against South Africa when Heath Streak scored the winning runs. They then won against Bangladesh in 2006 with Brendan Taylor's well-paced knock and later beat Ireland in 2010 with a six off the last ball, hit by Ed Rainsford.
#4 Australia- 4
The men in Green and Gold have won games off the last ball 4 times in their long ODI history. The first time was in 1978 when Jeff Thompson finished the match off in a closely contested match against West Indies.
The second time was against England in 1985 when Steve Rixon held his nerve to finish the game off. The third time was against West Indies when Michael Bevan played a gem of an innings scoring 78 to finish off the match by hitting a four to light up the New Year's Day in 1996. The most recent instance was against Pakistan when Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz finished off the game for them in 2009.
#3 New Zealand and Pakistan- 5
New Zealand has won the matches off the last ball on 5 occasions and the first one was against Zimbabwe in 1998. The next one came against Sri Lanka on New Years' Eve 2006 and the next two came in quick succession. They were against England and Australia in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The most recent one came against Sri Lanka in 2013, courtesy Nathan McCullum's heroics.
Since then only one team has won the match on the last ball. It was India against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup finals 2018.
As for Pakistan, they beat New Zealand at Multan in 1984 and after that, won 2 in quick succession as they beat India and West Indies at Sharjah and Lahore in 1987 and 1990 respectively. Their next two triumphs were against India. They beat them at Brisbane and Ahmedabad in 2000 and 2006 respectively.
#2 West Indies- 6
West Indies have won matches of the last ball 6 times. They beat Pakistan at Karachi in 1980 followed by another one against England at Kingston in 1990.
They beat the trio of South Africa, New Zealand, and India at Kingston, Kingstown and Jamshedpur in 2001 and 2002 and most recently, they beat Sri Lanka in a thriller at Port of Spain in 2008.
#1 South Africa- 7
South Africa who made their ODI debut in 1992 have won matches off the last ball 7 times. The first 2 wins came in 1999 against West Indies and New Zealand at Johannesburg and Napier respectively. Then they beat New Zealand again at Cape Town in 2000 followed by West Indies at Colombo in 2002. They then beat New Zealand 2 more times in 2007 and 2013 at Durban and Hambantota, and the West Indies one more time at Roseau in 2010.