Five biggest upsets by associate nations
"Being underestimated is the biggest competitive advantage you can have; embrace it."
Everyone loves stories of an underdog triumphing over a veteran. It adds to the unpredictability to sport, gives the audience something to look forward to every time, and brings in a sense of goodwill into the competition.
Most people might not be able to relate to the top team that knows what it's like to be the best and contest at the highest level. However, all of us know what it's like to be struggling to get to that level, fighting against challenges that seem too big for us.
Hence, when an underdog gets the better of a seasoned champion, it gives us hope. It makes us feel good about ourselves, it adds belief to our dreams. That is why, victories of associate nations over Test-playing teams has always generated a great deal of buzz in world cricket, transcending national boundaries.
Let us look at five such instances when countries at the fringes of world cricket pulled an upset over those in its very nucleus:
#5 Ireland vs England, World Cup 2011
A blistering century by Kevin O'Brien at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore saw one of the most memorable group-stage matches in the history of the ICC ODI World Cup. The right-handed batsman smashed 113 unbeaten runs off just 63 deliveries, helping Ireland topple England by three wickets.
Riding on the backs of two powerful half-centuries from Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell, England put up a huge total of 327-8 in the first innings. Ireland got off to a horrible start, with James Anderson dismissing William Porterfield off the very first delivery of the chase.
Ireland were soon reduced to 111-5, losing their way halfway through the innings. O'Brien, however, grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck and scripted history with his terrific effort on the day. Alex Cusack and John Mooney played ancillary roles in the chase, ensuring an Irish victory at the end of it all.