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11 best all-round performances in Cricket World Cups

Ravi Trivedi
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
77.74K   //    Timeless

The World Cup is the pinnacle of cricketing glory. It is something that every cricketer dreams of. This is why players are more fired up when they take to the field to represent their country on the biggest stage of them all. So, not surprisingly, we get to witness some of the most unforgettable performances from the players. The enormity of the occasion brings out the best in some players, with both bat and ball. These performances have gone down in history books as the best all-round performances in the World Cup. Let's take a look at some of these performances:NOTE: This list is in chronological order starting with the oldest.

#1 Gary Gilmour: 6-14 and 28* vs England, Semi-final, 1975 World Cup

Gary Gilmour

No matter what the stage, a game of cricket between Australia and England is always huge. Given that this game was the semi-final of the first ever World Cup, it was all the more special. With an array of stars in their team, Gary Gilmour was the unlikely hero for Australia as he dished out a performance worthy of a semi-final as the Aussies beat their bitter rivals by 4 wickets and made it to the finals. 

With his penetrative left-arm swing bowling, Gilmour picked up 6 wickets for just 28 runs as the hosts were bundled out for a paltry total of just 93 runs. Possessing one of the best batting line-ups in world cricket at that time, Australia were expected to make a mockery of the target set for them. However, some determined bowling from the Englishmen reduced the Aussies to 39/6 and the match was poised on a knife’s edge.

At this juncture, Gilmour walked out to the crease to play his maiden innings in ODI cricket. In the company of Doug Walters, a far more experienced campaigner, Gary soaked in the pressure and went about the task of chasing down the target. He scored an unbeaten run-a-ball 28 as he stitched a crucial partnership of 55 runs for the 7th wicket with Walters and took Australia over the line. For his all-round heroics, he was awarded the Man of the Match award.

The 2 videos below are an account of Gilmour’s heroic performance in that game:



#2 Duncan Fletcher: 69* and 4-42 vs Australia, 1983 World Cup

Duncan Fletcher

Given that Zimbabwe were playing their first ever ODI and that Australia had already established themselves as a dominant force in world cricket, the Aussies were expected to easily win this game and make a winning start to the tournament.

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However, Duncan Fletcher, the Zimbabwean skipper had other ideas as he led his team from the front by delivering a brilliant all-round performance. To everybody’s surprise, Zimbabwe humbled Australia by 13 runs in the end.

After winning the toss, Kim Hughes, the Australian skipper opted to field so as to allow his bowlers to make maximum use of the helpful conditions at Trent Bridge. Dennis Lillee and Graham Yallop seemed to have vindicated the faith their captain had placed in them as Zimbabwe were in tatters at 94/5. That is when Fletcher walked out to bat.

With able assistance from Kevin Curran and Iain Butchart, the Zimbabwean skipper stayed till the very end and took his team to a respectable total of 239 runs in their sixty overs. In the 84 deliveries he faced, he played an unbeaten innings of 69 runs.

Australia responded well as their openers put on 61 for the first wicket. In spite of Fletcher’s heroics with the bat, it looked like the Aussies would clinch the game with some clinical batting. Fletcher, though, was not done yet.

After coming in as second change, he picked up the first four Australian wickets as the men from down under lost their way. The other Zimbabwean bowlers rallied around their skipper as they gave very little away and restricted Australia to 226/7 in their sixty overs and staged one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.   

#3 Mohinder Amarnath: 26 and 3-12 vs West Indies, Final, 1983 World Cup

26 runs with the bat and figures of 3/12 in 7 overs is not what you would call the best all-round performance ever seen.

However, this performance by a certain Mohinder Amarnath was worth its weight in gold because it came in a World Cup final, against an opposition that had won the previous two World Cups and were tipped to clinch this one as well. It won him the Man of the Match award and his team, the ultimate prize of all, the World Cup.

Clive Lloyd won the toss and elected to field as he had one of the best bowling attacks in the world at his disposal. They did not disappoint as India lost their best batsman, their biggest hope, Sunil Gavaskar with just a couple of runs on the board.

In came Mohinder Amarnath who was entrusted with the responsibility of weathering the storm. He did a pretty good job as he consumed 80 balls for his 26 runs and was involved in two crucial partnerships with Kris Srikkanth and Yashpal Sharma. The fall of his wicket at the score of 90 seemed to have opened the floodgates as the Caribbean bowlers rushed through the Indian batsmen and bundled them out for a mere 183 runs.

Everybody at the ground were sensing a West Indies victory. However, led by their inspirational captain Kapil Dev, the Indian bowlers bowled some really tight lines as runs were hard to come by for the 2-time world champions. In a bid to up the ante, the men from the Caribbean islands decided to go for their shots and lost some quick wickets.

At 76/6, it seemed as if the West Indies had lost the plot. Soon after, the Indians ran into a stubborn pair in the form of Jeffrey Dujon and Malcolm Marshall as the duo added 43 runs for the seventh wicket. The match looked like going either way, but West Indies with all their experience, were looking on course to win it.

At this point, Amarnath, who was highly underrated as a bowler, gave India a vital breakthrough by getting rid of Dujon. He then picked up the wicket of Malcolm Marshall as the West Indies slumped to 124/8. When he trapped Michael Holding in front of the wicket with the score reading 140 runs, he scripted one of the biggest turnarounds in World Cup history as India beat a highly-fancied West Indies side by 43 runs and won cricket’s ultimate prize. 

Relive that brilliant performance by Amarnath and the Indian team in the video below:



#4 Ian Botham: 4-31 and 53 vs Australia, 1992 World Cup

Ian-Botham-of-England-celebrates-a-wicket-duri.jpg (628355)

Ian Botham had the reputation of being a big match player. Often, he gave his best performances in the Ashes – the biggest series for any English cricketer.

However, his indifferent performances in previous World Cups had dented his reputation of being a player for the big occasions. In this game, the sight of familiar foes Australia (in coloured clothing this time), brought out the best in Botham yet again as he gave one of the finest performances of his ODI career.

After winning the toss, Allan Border, the Australian captain elected to bat. The English bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals as the Australians huffed and puffed their way to 145/4.

With Steve Waugh and Border out in the middle, it looked like the hosts would be able to get to a respectable total. Ian Botham, England’s second change on the day, cleaned up the Aussie skipper as the fifth wicket fell with the score reading 145. He then ran through the Australian lower order and ended up with figures of 4-31 as Australia were skittled out for 171 runs in 49 overs.

Sensing blood, Botham and Gooch got England off to an absolute flyer as they added 107 runs for the first wicket. On the same score, Beefy, as Botham is nicknamed, was dismissed for 53. However, it did not matter too much as he had already won the game for England with his all-round exploits.

In the end, England won the game quite comfortably by a margin of 8 wickets and Botham was awarded the Man of the Match award.

Catch the highlights of that game in the video below:

    

#5 Wasim Akram: 33 (21) and 3/49 vs England, Final, 1992 World Cup

Wasim Akram with his Man-of-the-Match award

On a magical night in Melbourne, one of Pakistan cricket’s biggest stars, Imran Khan, walked into the sunset of his career. And on this very night, he successfully passed on the torch of Pakistan cricket to the next biggest star, Wasim Akram. In front of a record crowd at the MCG, Akram produced one of the best all-round performances of his international career as Pakistan gave their captain Imran Khan, the perfect sendoff.

After winning the toss, Imran opted to bat in a bid to build some scoreboard pressure. However, some measured bowling from the English attack saw Pakistan in trouble at 24/2. Imran and Javed Miandad then added 139 for the 3rd wicket as they guided Pakistan to safety. The run-rate for Pakistan, though, wasn’t too good and there was a need for some quick runs.

In a bid to do so, both Imran and Miandad made their way back to the hut. In came Wasim Akram with Inzamam for company. At the age of 26, Akram went hammer and tongs after the English bowlers as he scored 33 runs in just 21 balls and guided his team to a total of 249/6 in 50 overs.

England, in their reply, were jolted early on by Akram’s whirlwind spell as he picked up the crucial wicket of Ian Botham. At 69/4, it seemed like England had no chance in this game and Pakistan would be the runaway winners. However, a vital partnership of 72 between Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb resurrected the English innings.

At this juncture, Imran called upon the most prodigious bowler in his lineup, Wasim Akram. And he did not disappoint and produced two magical deliveries to get rid of Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis to leave England at 141/6. Though the England lower order fought it out and took the score to 227, it was those two deliveries from Akram that decided the outcome of the game.

Help yourself to Akram’s brilliant bowling in the final in the video below:


#6 Aravinda de Silva: 3-42 and 107* vs Australia, Final, 1996 World Cup

Aravinda de Silva

Against general expectations, Sri Lanka had made their way to the final in the 1996 World Cup. In Australia, they had a formidable opponent, one that had had the experience of both winning and losing a World Cup final. Moreover, this Australian team was a heady mix of youth and experience and had humbled almost all opponents on their way to the final.

However, Aravinda de Silva seemed to be unfazed by all this as he excelled in the field with both bat and ball, and almost single-handedly saw his team through to their first World Cup title.

Keeping the dew factor in mind, Arjuna Ranatunga won the toss and elected to field first. The Sri Lankan bowlers, it seemed, were a tad bit nervous as the Australian batsmen easily made their way to 137/1. Sri Lanka desperately needed a breakthrough and the part-time off-spin of de Silva worked as he got rid of a well set Mark Taylor who was batting on 74.

After a few overs, he picked up another crucial wicket as he cleaned up Ricky Ponting who was batting on 45. He was then involved in the dismissals of Steve Waugh and Stuart Law as he calmly claimed catches that were presented to him. He then returned to clean up Ian Healy as the Aussies, with all their heavyweight batting, were restricted to just 241/7 in their 50 overs.

Sri Lanka had a disastrous start to their chase as they lost both their openers with just 23 runs on the board. When de Silva walked out to bat, his team desperately needed someone who would hang in there and also get the runs at a fair clip. He understood this very quickly as he was involved in a crucial partnership of 125 runs for the 3rd wicket with Asanka Gurusinha.

After Gurusinha’s departure, de Silva was involved in another big partnership, this time with skipper Ranatunga as the duo took their team home with the right-handed batsman remaining unbeaten on 107 in the end. It was a brilliant innings in which he took mininal risks and batted with a lot of responsibility. Quite fittingly, he hit the winning runs for his team and was also adjudged the Man of the Match.      

Watch the highlights of that match in the video below:


#7 Lance Klusener: 52* (45) and 3-21 vs Sri Lanka, 1999 World Cup

Before the 1999 World Cup began, Lance Klusener had been widely regarded as the man to watch out for in the tournament. And boy did he live upto his reputation!

Right through the tournament, he scored runs and picked up wickets at will against almost every team in the tournament. This match was no different as he shone with both bat and ball and won the game for his team on his own.

After winning the toss, Arjuna Ranatunga elected to field to allow his bowlers to make full use of the conducive conditions at the County Ground in Northampton. The Sri Lankan bowlers justified their captain’s decision as they kept picking up wickets at regular intervals. Shaun Pollock and a well set Daryl Cullinan were at the receiving end of a couple of dubious decisions as South Africa were reeling at 122/8.

Klusener was in the middle with tailender Steve Elworthy for company and only one batsman in the hut. Rather than getting bogged down by the situation, Klusener launched an all-out attack on the bowlers as he guided his team to a respectable 199/9 in their 50 overs and remained unbeaten on 52 from just 45 balls. What was remarkable about this innings was that he scored all these runs in the company of tailenders.

The South African bowlers seemed to have been fired up by Klusener’s innings as they ran through the Sri Lankan top order. At 31/5, it seemed as if the match would get over in a hurry. A partnership of 35 between Mahela Jayawardene and Roshan Mahanama gave the Sri Lankan camp some hope. However, Steve Elworthy broke this stand as Sri Lanka slipped to 66/6.

Mahanama was then joined by Upul Chandana as the duo added 21 runs and were looking to fight it out. Zulu, as Klusener is nicknamed, the Proteas’ fifth bowling option on the day broke this partnership and picked up a couple of quick wickets thereafter to dash any hopes of a Sri Lankan victory. In the end, the South African all-rounder’s crucial knock and whirlwind spell made all the difference as Sri Lanka lost the game by 89 runs.

Watch the highlights of Klusener’s knock in the video below:

    

#8 Neil Johnson: 76 and 3-27 vs South Africa, 1999 World Cup

With a very balanced team, South Africa had been tipped as tournament favourites for the 1999 World Cup. However, Zimbabwe too, looked like a very good team on paper.

Neil Johnson, in particular, seemed very impressive in all of Zimbabwe’s games leading upto this one and there were big expectations from him for this crucial encounter. He lived upto the expectations as he excelled with both bat and ball and guided his team through to the Super 6 stage, pipping hosts England in the process. 

Having won the toss, Zimbabwean skipper Alastair Campbell elected to bat first. Neil Johnson and Grant Flower got the underdogs off to a steady start as the score was 65/0 in 13.3 overs. Johnson was then involved in two further crucial partnerships as he took his team to a strong position of 170/2 in 38 overs.

On the same score, he was dismissed for 76 by Allan Donald. The other Zimbabwean batsmen failed to capitalise on this platform as they managed a total of 233/6 in 50 overs. 

At the halfway stage, it seemed like South Africa with all their batting might, would easily overhaul this total. However, it looked like Johnson did not read the script. His opening spell rattled the South African batsmen as they were reduced to 34/5 in a little over 10 overs.

The Proteas never recovered from this shock as they were bundled out for 185 in spite of half-centuries from Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock. Johnson won the Man of the Match award for his superb all-round effort.

#9 Andy Bichel: 7-20 and 34* vs England, 2003 World Cup

In the 2003 World Cup, Australia seemed to be in a league of their own as they refused to give anything away. Coming into this game, they had won each of their group stage games and had already made their way to the Super 6.

For England, however, this was a must-win game, having lost 2 games out of their five. The Aussies showed grit and determination under pressure as they beat their arch rivals by 2 wickets in a tense encounter with Andy Bichel producing one of the greatest all-round performances seen in a World Cup game. 

Nasser Hussain won the toss and opted to bat first. With the score reading 66/0 in just 9.4 overs, it seemed like England were on course for a big total. However, Andy Bichel had other ideas as he broke the opening partnership on the same score. He picked up a further 3 wickets as the English were in complete disarray at 87/5.

Thereafter, there was a solid partnership of 90 runs between Alec Stewart and Andrew Flintoff and it seemed like the Northern Hemisphere side would get to a score of around 250. Bichel struck yet again as he removed both Flintoff and Stewart within the space of a couple of overs. He also picked up Ashley Giles’s wicket after that and finished with figures of 7-20 as England managed just 204 runs in their 50 overs.

The Australian top order were blown away by a fiery spell from Andrew Caddick as the score read 48/4 in 8.4 overs. A steady partnership of 63 runs between Darren Lehmann and Michael Bevan helped Australia claw their way back into the game. However, 4 quick wickets set the Aussies back yet again as they were left staring at a defeat at 135/8.

In came Andy Bichel, to join the experienced Bevan in the middle. While Bevan looked to hang around and work the ball into the gaps to keep the scoreboard ticking, Bichel looked to play his shots. He smashed 34 off just 36 balls as the duo stitched an unbeaten partnership of 73 runs for the 9th wicket and guided their team home, thereby sending their arch rivals packing.

Take a look at Bichel’s incredible spell in the video below:


#10 Michael Vaughan: 3-39 and 79 vs West Indies, 2007 World Cup

Given that both England and West Indies had no chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, this game was a dead rubber. Nevertheless, Bridgetown was in a celebratory mood as this was to be West Indies captain and legend Brian Lara’s last game in international cricket. However, Lara’s opposite number, Michael Vaughan gatecrashed his party as he led his team from the front with a brilliant all-round performance and England won an absolute humdinger of a game by a wicket with a ball to spare. 

After winning the toss, Vaughan elected to field. However, it seemed the decision had backfired as the hosts raced to 131/0 in just 23.4 overs. The batsmen, who followed did not capitalise on this start as the West Indies slumped to 181/4. A quick partnership of 77 between Marlon Samuels and Shivnarine Chanderpaul took the West Indies to a commanding position as the score read 258/4 in 42.4 overs.

It looked as if a total well in excess of 300 was on the cards. Vaughan then took matters into his own hands as he sent Samuels back to the hut. He also got the wickets of the dangerous Dwayne Bravo and Jerome Taylor as the Calypso Kings lost their way and barely touched the 300 mark. 

A target in excess of 300 is always difficult to chase. The English skipper though seemed to be absolutely unperturbed as he played an uncharacteristically aggressive knock. In just 68 balls, Vaughan smashed 79 runs as he took his team halfway through the target in a little over 26 overs.

Kevin Pietersen’s brilliant hundred and some useful contributions by other batsmen down the order ensured that their skipper’s heroics did not go in vain as England won the game.

#11 Yuvraj Singh: 2-44 and 57* vs Australia, Quarter-Final, 2011 World Cup

Yuvraj+Singh+Australia+v+India+2011+ICC+World+kzypQVQNY_Fl.jpg (594408)

Given that India had lost the final of the 2003 World Cup to Australia, this was India’s chance to exact revenge for that loss. However, given that the game was being played on home soil, there was immense pressure on the Indian players. And what better man to go to in a pressure situation than Yuvraj Singh! He dished out a dream performance with both bat and ball as the defending champions were sent packing.

Ricky Ponting won the toss and, as expected, elected to bat first on a typically flat and dry Motera wicket. Australia looked in control at 110/1 in 22.4 overs with a well set Brad Haddin and their skipper at the crease. At this point, Yuvraj stepped in and broke this partnership to give India a vital breakthrough.

India then came across another steady partnership as Michael Clarke and Ponting added 30 runs for the 3rd wicket. Just when it looked like this partnership was growing, Yuvraj got rid of Michael Clarke. He also contributed immensely in the fielding department as he threw himself around to stop a few crucial runs.

The Indian batsmen began their chase in a circumspect manner. Fifties from Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir ensured that India remained in control of the chase. However, the Australian bowlers were constantly at the batsmen and kept taking wickets at regular intervals. A few nervous moments in the middle overs led to India being 187/5 in 37.3 overs.

The match was poised on an even keel and any result looked likely. Yuvraj though was pretty determined to take his team through. He was involved in a vital partnership of 74* in just 61 balls as he, along with Suresh Raina, took the hosts home. In the end, Yuvraj remained unbeaten on 57 off 65 balls, having played an innings of great responsibility in a crunch situation.

#12 Honourable mentions

Tillakaratne Dilshan

Asif Iqbal: 2-37 and 51 vs England, 1979 World Cup

Having won their first 2 games riding on Asif Iqbal's heroics, Pakistan were having a dream run in the 1979 World Cup. In the game against England, Iqbal was at it again as he picked up 2 wickets and played a hand in dismissing England for 165. In the pursuit of this target, he scored a fighting half-century. Had he got some support from his teammates, he would have taken Pakistan to a famous victory over their former colonial rulers. 

Mohammad Azharuddin: 54* and 3-19 vs Australia, 1987 World Cup

India, the defending champions, did not have the best of starts to the 1987 World Cup on home soil as they lost their opening game vs Australia by a solitary run. In a repeat of the same encounter, India found an unlikely hero with both bat and ball in Mohammad Azharuddin.

His quick-fire 54 off just 45 balls helped India post a commanding score of 289/6 in their 50 overs. The former Indian captain then shone with the ball too as he picked up 3 wickets with his military medium pace bowling and helped India beat a strong Australian team by 56 runs. 

Tillakaratne Dilshan: 144 and 4-4 vs Zimbabwe, 2011 World Cup 

Dilshan was in the form of his life in the 2011 World Cup. In this particular group stage game against minnows Zimbabwe, he was in a punishing mood as he scored at more than run-a-ball century and helped his team to a total of 327-6.

He was not done yet as he created havoc among the Zimbabwean batsman with his off-spin bowling. He returned with figures of 3 overs, 1 maiden and four wickets for just 4 runs as Sri Lanka crushed Zimbabwe by a margin of 139 runs.

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Ravi Trivedi
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