New Delhi [India], October 4 (ANI): The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 is less than a week away from now and fans are anticipating high-quality cricketing action from some of the best players and teams in the game. With every World Cup tournament, history is made, and examples of aggression, resilience, sportsmanship, anger, and ecstasy are captured through photographs and videos.
Out of a thousand little moments that the Cricket World Cup has offered to fans to date, there are a select few that still replay in the minds of fans, arousing feelings of joy, curiosity, anger, thrill and generating debates and headlines years after these moments are made. Let us have a look at some of the best moments in World Cup history.
1) MS Dhoni's match-winning six (against Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final)In the final of the 2011 WC at Mumbai's iconic Wankhede Stadium, India was 31/2 while chasing 275 runs but knocks by Gautam Gambhir (97), Virat Kohli (35) and MS Dhoni took India near victory.
With four runs needed in 11, skipper Dhoni smashed the winning six off a delivery by Nuwan Kulasekra that brought the country to a standstill and united its diverse set of people like nothing else. Dhoni ended at 91, saving his best for the title clash and helping India bring the gold back home after 28 years. Commentator Ravi Shastri's "Dhoni finishes off in style..." line also immortalises the moment and raises its intensity.
2) Sachin Tendulkar being carried around Wankhede Stadium (against Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 final)The second moment in the list happened just moments after Dhoni hit the winning six. Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar had given the sport two decades' worth of his blood, sweat, tears and entertainment but a World Cup trophy stayed out of his reach for some reason. In the 2011 WC, Sachin batted like a man possessed, scoring 482 runs in the competition.
Though he could not leave an impact in the final, the way the team fought throughout the tournament and in the final was a clear message to the maestro that they were doing it all for not only the country but for him in particular as well. After the win, Tendulkar was given a colourful victory lap around his home venue, with Virat Kohli, the batter who carried forward the baton passed on by Sachin uttering "He has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It was time we carried him."3) Deflection off Ben Stokes' bat that gave away five runs (England vs New Zealand, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 final)In the final between England and NZ, England needed to chase down 242 runs to capture the maiden World Cup title at home. In the tense run chase, England needed nine in three balls. While Stokes was taking a double, the ball deflected off his bat and went to the boundary, giving away six runs to NZ, leaving England with three to win in two balls. England tied the match and also won the tied Super Over on the basis of boundary count, "by the barest of margins."The picture of Stokes seeking forgiveness with his hands up lives in the eyes of cricketer lovers worldwide. While some look at it as pure luck, some hold feelings of grudge towards the all-rounder for letting it cross the ropes and not getting those extra runs slashed from their total.
4) Grant Elliott-Dale Steyn recreates Flintoff-Lee photograph (South Africa vs New Zealand, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 semifinal)In the semifinals of the 2015 WC, Proteas looked extremely formidable while batting and all set for a 400-run total before rain gods intervened at 281/5 in 43 overs and made the contest a 43-over per side game, giving Kiwis 298 to win. In reply, NZ also offered a great fight and knocks by Grant Eliott, Corey Anderson kept the Kiwis alive.
In the final two overs, NZ needed 23 and it was anyone's game. But in these final moments of the match, Proteas made many fielding blunders. Eventually, needing five in the final two balls, Eliott hit the winning six to a Steyn delivery, sending Proteas players and fans in sorrow.
What looked like the most formidable unit in the World Cup had succumbed to the pressure of a high-stakes match and once again they justified the "Chokers" tag attached to them for years. A dejected Steyn was down on the field in disbelief. Eliott went to him and offered him a hand to lift him up and consoled him, recreating the iconic and very similar Andre Flintoff-Brett Lee image from the 2005 Ashes series.
5) Herschelle Gibbs six sixes in an over (South Africa vs Netherlands, ICC Cricket World Cup 2007)The explosive South African batter made history in the 2007 World Cup, becoming the first-ever batter to smash six sixes in an over in ODI cricket. Daan van Bunge, a leg-break spinner who had a decent spell till then, had his day ruined as he was at the receiving end of Gibbs's batting masterclass. Gibbs scored 72 in just 40 balls, with four boundaries and seven sixes taking Proteas to a match-winning total of 353/3.
6) Lasith Malinga takes four wickets in four deliveries (South Africa vs Sri Lanka, ICC Cricket World Cup 2007)On the surface, Malinga's spell of 4/54 looks like just another four-wicket haul. But with this, Malinga became the first-ever bowler to take four wickets in four successive balls in international cricket. He caused Proteas to almost justify their "chokers" tag by getting them nine wickets down for 207 in a run-chase of 210 runs untill Robin Peterson hit the winning runs. SA took a non-consequential Super Eight match, but Malinga made history.
7) Sachin Tendulkar's six against Shoaib Akhtar (India vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2003)In the high-octane match between India and Pakistan, the Men in Blue were up against a struggling arch-rival side. But a century by Saeed Anwar helped Pakistan set a target of 274 to win for India. In the run chase, the Indian duo of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag started off with attacking intent.
Taking on the best pacer in the world, Shoaib, Tendulkar displayed extreme audacity, upper-cutting a 150 kmph delivery by Akhtar for a huge six that still lives in the eyes of many. Sachin went full T20I mode, scoring 98 in just 75 balls, winning the match for his country.
8) Lance Klusner run-out (Australia vs South Africa, ICC Cricket World Cup 1999 semifinal)Another match that exists in the list of reasons fans give to justify Proteas as a "choker" team despite its world-class talent. Chasing 214, needing one run in four balls with star all-rounder Lance Klusner at the crease, the match was as good as won for Proteas.
But on the fourth ball of the innings, Allan Donald was run out, all because of Klusner's impatience to take a run. Klusner, who had delivered incredible performances throughout the tournament, had failed when it mattered the most. Australia tied the match and went to the finals.
9) Venkatesh Prasad-Aamir Sohail's heated exchange (India vs Pakistan, Cricket World Cup 1996)This match defines and summarises the high tempers, intensity and tension that come with an India-Pakistan clash. In the chase of 288, Pakistan was at 113/1 in just 15 overs. Aamir had just dispatched a Venkatesh delivery to the fence for four, signalling the bowler with his bat towards the ball racing to the rope. However, this messed with Aamir's concentration and Venkatesh bowled him out in the next ball completing his revenge.
10) Kapil Dev's 175 (India vs Zimbabwe, 1983 Cricket World Cup)The match against Zimbabwe was a must-win for India to keep its semifinal hopes alive, but Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran poured fire over India's ambitions with some deadly pace bowling, sinking India to 17/5.
India starred at an imminent crushing loss, but Kapil was the last hope. The all-rounder proved to be the ultimate crisis man for India, scoring 175 in 138 balls with 16 fours and six sixes, forming partnerships with Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Syed Kirmani to guide India to a remarkable 266/8, a match-winning total. India pulled off one of the sport's best recoveries and 'Haryana Hurricane' single-handedly drove that effort.
Photos/videos by ICC, BCCI, ICC Cricket World Cup Twitter. (ANI)