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  • Writer's picturelinuslw

Best Underdog Wins

These are in my opinion, the top 5 underdog wins. The games will be ranked on 5 scales - Ranking difference, win margin, aftermath, and how important the game was.

5. Afghanistan vs Bangladesh, test

The 3rd test in Afghanistan's career as a full nation was one of the biggest shocks test cricket has seen in its 143 years. After losing their first game to a drubbing from India, the Afghans bounced back to beat Ireland in their next match, making them the joint 2nd fastest side to a test win. And then, they went to Bangladesh. At home over the last 5 years, Bangladesh have been very decent, winning half their games at home, including one against the Australians in 2016. And Afghanistan seemed like little more than a fairytale side, trying to look reasonably at home in the test arena. With Rashid Khan, the youngest ever test skipper at 20y 350d, in their side though, and solid batting from Rahmat Shah and Asghar Afghan, the Afghans were easily underestimated. Seemingly Bangladesh did that. Batting first Afghanistan reached 342, fifties coming from Asghar and Rashid, and a memorable second hundred for Rahmat Shah. Bangladesh then wilted with the bat, crumbling like a ruined tower against the spin of Rashid Khan, who took 5-55, Mohammad Nabi chipping in with 3-56. With an impressive 137 run lead, Afghanistan enhanced their lead to 397, 87 from Ibrahim Zadran, and 50 from Ashgar the standout innings. In the Bangladeshis second dig, they made it to 136-6 at stumps on day 4, an incredible win seemingly round the corner. But the cricketing gods made the match intriguing. Rain fell for masses of day 5, and at tea, after a mere 13 balls had been bowled, Afghanistan now needed to bowl their best to sneak over the line. And they managed it, taking 4 wickets in 17 overs to break the hearts of Bangladeshis, Rashid with 11 in the match named man of the match.

Ranking difference - 8/10

Win margin - 9/10

Aftermath - 7/10

Importance - 6/10

Shock - 6/10

Total - 36/50

4. Netherlands vs England

2009 ICC WT20

England, at the home of cricket in a home world cup, were playing the unfancied and mildly hopeful Dutch in the first game of the 2009 ICC WT20. The Netherlands won the toss, and decided to bowl first, in their first WT20 game of all time. England were unashamedly bold in their strokeplay early on, some audacious batting taking the hosts to 102-0 after 11.2 overs, and gearing up for a 200 ish total. But when Bopara was dismissed the next ball, England spluttered, losing 5 wickets for 61 runs in 50 balls, with just 1 boundary in the last 9 overs. Bopara, Shah, Collingwood, Wright and Morgan were all caught to poor strokes, as the English reached a mediocre 162/5.

In came the Dutch, and they kept up with the run rate early on as Darron Reekers hit Anderson for a 4 and a 6 in a 13 ball 20 to set them off. Tom de Grooth then took broad for 16 in an over to end the powerplay in a fine position at 52/2. Making his IT20 debut, Adil Rashid dismissed Bas Zuiderent, to leave the Dutch precariously placed at 66/3. De Grooth and Peter Borren batted phenomenally well though, taking the Netherlands to 116/3, needing just 47 in 43, when De Grooth fell 1 short of a 50. Borren followed a couple of overs later, and they needed 30 from 4 overs. 9 came off Rashid's last over, and it was down to 21 off 18, but a superb 18th over from Jimmy Anderson left Holland needing 17 off 12, and the pressure back on the underdogs. But Sidebottom conceded 10, and the pendulum swung again, back to the Netherlands' favour. Broad was excellent, and they went into the last ball needing 2 to win. After the usual conference, Broad charged in, Foster the keeper standing back. Edgar Schiferli clubbed it back down the ground to Broad, who with three stumps to aim at from 8 yards, somehow misses, and the batsman steal an overthrow, to the delight of the Dutch and mercy of the English.

Ranking difference - 10/10

Win margin - 5/10

Aftermath - 8/10

Importance -8/10

Shock - 9/10

Total - 40/50

3. India vs West Indies

1983 World Cup

Viv Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, this West Indies side is clearly one of the greatest ODI sides of all time. And India were lucky to make it into the final, clearly not the better side, few expected them to win. But with Kapil Dev in their side, they had a chance, right?

Well, the way they started wouldn't have got fans excited, talisman Sunil Gavaskar dismissed for 2 by Roberts. A period of rebuilding followed, in which Srikkanth and Amarnath stopped the Windies taking wickets. Srikkanth fell next, at 59 for two, and another partnership began to build between Amarnath, who was scoring very slowly and Yashpal Sharma. But after Amarnath was dismissed at 90/3, more wickets were lost in quick time, taking the score to 111/6. They never really recovered, as the Indians made it to a paltry 183 all out in 54.4 overs at 3.34 an over. Roberts the pick of the bowlers with 3-32 in 10.

The Windies were expected to comfortably chase this score down. but, like India, they struggled off the line, losing Greenidge to Sandhu at 15-1. Haynes and Richards recovered carefully, before Haynes fell at 50/2. When Richards was out to a stunning catch from Kapil Dev at 66/3, India smelt blood. 3 more wickets followed for 10 runs, and India were nearly there. Barring the last rites, India had done it. Slowly but surely they picked off the tail, West Indies eventually all out for 140, losing by 43 runs.

Ranking difference - 5/10

Win margin - 7/10

Aftermath - 10/10

Importance -10/10

Shock - 8/10

Total - 40/50

2. Scotland vs England

ODI 2018, the Grange

This may not be the most important, but by golly it was the best. Scotland, not even in the top 12 in the rankings, playing England, the best team in the world by a considerable margin.

The Scots batted first, and were outstanding from the get go, after losing the toss. They took the England bowlers apart, Cross and Coetzer carving Willey and Curran all over the shop, as 70 runs flew from the first 10 overs. Coetzer's 50 was his 3rd vs England, in just 5 games. After 2 wickets fell in quick succesion, MacLeod and Berrington fought back with a 93 run stand, and from then on it was carnage, Scotland plundering 245 in the last 30 overs, as MacLeod enden unbeaten on 140 from 94 deliveries.

England, after a messy bowling and fielding display batted in their usual futuristic manner, swiping the mediocre Scottish bowling all around the Grange, as Bairstow in particular making the ground look puny in size. He smoked a terrific 105 off 59, his 3rd hundred in three games, and England were cruising at 220/2, needing just 152 at 6.6 an over, nothing in this match. But a collapse followed, as they slipped to 276/7, with Moeen Ali and Liam Plunkett at the crease, needing 96. They batted excellently, Moeen striking it beautifully to make 46(33). Plunkett harrumphed it effectively on his way to 47, and with 11 needed from 12, England were practically there, although they only had two wickets. Could the Scots make it?

Off the first ball of the penultimate over, Rashid was run out attempting a second, and now the pressure was well and truly on. Three singles followed, Safyaan Sharif bowling to Mark Wood, 7 required from 8 balls. A picture perfect yorker, and it was game set match. Scotland had won by 6 runs in the most incredible game of their cricketing life. One of the greatest games ever done.

Ranking difference - 10/10

Win margin - 5/10

Aftermath - 10/10

Importance -7/10

Shock - 10/10

Total: 42/40

1. Kenya vs West Indies

1996 World Cup

Kenya have one of the most fleeting relationships with WC cricket. Semi finalists in 2003, but... not much else. Oh, apart from this win.

Kenya put into bat in this group stage encounter against the Windies, and got off to a flying start, 15-0 off 8 balls, Iqbal and Chudasama taking on Ambrose and Walsh. After 10 overs the score was fair, at 45/3 and Tikolo and Odumbe enhanced that, taking them to 72/3 after 18 overs, and Kenya had a decent score coming. From their on in, they wobbled to 81-6, only Steve Tikolo and Modi making it past 25, with 29 and 26 to their names respectably. An impressive 45 run stand between Odoyo and Modi got them to 126-7, and they ended reasonably, making their way to 166. This was nevertheless unlikely to challenge an outstanding West Indian side.

The Kenyan bowlers were tight early on, but wicketkeeper Tariq Iqbal struggled early on, the comical, portly shopkeeper letting 3 boundaries and dropping Richardson all inside the first 4 overs. But, after Campbell, and eventually Richardson, Lara walked out to the middle. After smashing the first ball through cover, Kenya could be forgiven to believe the game was up. But, in the highlight of the 95kg Tariq Iqbal's career, the imperious Lara nicked one, and was somehow taken by Iqbal. From then on it was a procession, wicket after wicket falling to desperate shots. They collapsed (England style) to 93 all out, captain Maurice Odumbe taking 3-15 in 10 economical overs.

Following the epic performance from the Kenyans, the Kenya Mirror ran a famous headline - 'Lara shamed by 15 stone shopkeeper, a dentist and tennis player.' They were referring to Iqbal, Dipak Chudusama and Aasif Karim.

Ranking difference - 10/10

Win margin - 9/10

Aftermath - 8/10

Importance -8/10

Shock - 10/10

Total: 45/50

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