The shorter versions in the game of cricket, especially T20 cricket, gives the smaller nations a better chance to beat even stronger oppositions. The shortest format, in fact, makes it a level playing field as the contest can be won or lost in a matter of few balls. Kenya in the 2003 World Cup, Bangladesh and Ireland in 2007, and Ireland and Bangladesh in the 2011 edition of the World Cup have produced results which only the very optimistic would have predicted.
Test match cricket brings with it a set of completely different challenges, testing the team’s skill and capability over a span of five days and the team that sustains the pressure and delivers the goods consistently come out on top. Thus, when an ‘underdog’ team goes on to defeat a heavyweight in a Test match, it is a serious upset.
Here we have a look at the top 5 major upsets in the last 20 years of Test match cricket.
#5 Zimbabwe beat Pakistan by 7 wickets, Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar, 1998
Zimbabwe toured Pakistan in 1998 under the captaincy of Alistair Campbell. In the first match of the three-match series played at the Arbab Niaz Stadium at Peshawar from 27-30 November, the hosts batted first and scored 296 with half-centuries from Ijaz Ahmed and Yousuf Youhana.
Heath Streak took four wickets to restrict them to a modest total. In reply, Zimbabwe rode on the back of a maiden century from Neil Johnson to reach 238, Wasim Akram (5-52) and Waqar Younis (4-78) being the wicket takers.
Despite gaining a lead of 58 runs, the home team could not set a daunting target for the visitors as they were bundled out for a paltry 103 in their second innings. Henry Olonga was the destructor-in-chief as he picked up 4-42 leaving the Zimbabweans with 162 to win their first test on Pakistan soil. A watchful 73* from Murray Goodwin ensured that Zimbabwe went on to upset the Asian giants, winning the contest by 7 wickets.
The victory also helped the African nation to clinch their first series win in overseas conditions as they went on to win the series 1-0. Johnson was named Man of the Match for his game-changing knock.