A tournament which started with a 55-run thrashing of the current Asian champions Sri Lanka on the opening day (October 16) by Namibia has truly turned out to be a spectacle of big upsets. The trend of big reversal of fortunes for some of the heavyweights has seen as many as four former champions being humbled.
Here, TimesofIndia.com highlights the five major upsets so far in this edition of the T20 World Cup:
A shocker of an opener – Namibia beat 2014 champions Sri Lanka
Former champions Sri Lanka entered the tournament Down Under with high hopes after winning their sixth Asia Cup title in the UAE. Even though they were playing in Round 1 to qualify for the Super 12s, Sri Lanka were expected to cruise through from the group comprising minnows Netherlands, Namibia and the UAE. But they were shocked by Namibia on the opening day of the tournament itself, suffering a 55-run defeat in Geelong.
Sri Lanka sent Namibia in to bat first after winning the toss, and the Southern African nation posted a challenging 163 for 7 in their 20 overs. Namibia’s middle order clicked in unison after losing their openers cheaply with 16 runs on the board in three overs. Jan Frylinck (44) was the top-scorer for Namibia, with JJ Smit remaining unbeaten on 31 off 16 balls.
The run chase started on the wrong note for the Lankans, losing three wickets for 21 runs inside four overs. Namibia bowlers struck regularly to derail the chase and Sri Lanka were folded up for 108 in 19 overs to suffer a crushing defeat.
Sri Lanka though bounced back well in the remaining two games to qualify for the Super 12s as group topper. Namibia missed out after losing their next two games, but they heralded in a sense what was in store in the coming days.
Result: Namibia (163/7) beat Sri Lanka (108 all out in 19 overs) by 55 runs
First shock for two time champions the Windies
A day later, on October 17, two-time champions West Indies were handed a 42-run thrashing by Scotland in Hobart. The defeat left the Windies in a difficult spot for Super 12 qualification as their group had Zimbabwe and Ireland as the other two teams. Both Zimbabwe and Ireland are regulars in ICC tournaments.
West Indies too opted to field first after winning the toss, and Scotland posted 160/5 in their 20 overs. For Scotland, openers George Munsey (66 not out) and Michael Jones (20) provided a solid start by adding 55 runs in 6.2 overs. With handy contributions from Calum MacLeod (23 off 14) and Chris Greaves (16* off 11), Scotland set a challenging 161-run target for the Windies. The chase got off to a good start, and the Windies raced to 50 for 1 in just 5.3 overs. But after that they lost wickets at regular intervals and finally were bowled out for 118 in 18.3 overs.
Scotland failed to replicate the success in their next two games though and crashed out of the tournament. The West Indies meanwhile faced another shocker four days later.
Result: Scotland (160/5) beat West Indies (118 all out in 18.3 overs) by 42 runs
West Indies lose again and crash out
After the shocker in their opening game against Scotland, the West Indies revived their campaign with a commanding 31-run victory over Zimbabwe in their second game. But two days later, the Windies were sent packing from the tournament unceremoniously by Ireland.
Skipper Nicholas Pooran was lucky for the third time in a row with the toss and decided to set a target for the Irish in Hobart, as they had done successfully vs Zimbabwe. Though Brandon King scored an unbeaten 62 off 48 balls, West Indies posted a below par 146/5 in their 20 overs.
The Ireland top-order batters then produced a batting masterclass to register a commanding nine-wicket victory by chasing down the target with 15 balls to spare. Paul Sterling (66* off 48) and Andy Balbirnie (37 off 23) added 73 runs in just 7.3 overs for the opening wicket, before the former took the team home with Lorcan Tucker (45* off 35) at the other end.
The defeat knocked the two-time champions and the most successful team in the history of the tournament, the West Indies out of the tournament, whereas Ireland booked their spot in the Super 12s stage.
Result: Ireland (150/1 in 17.3 overs) beat West Indies (146/5) by 9 wickets
‘Giant-killers’ Ireland beat 2010 champions England
Ireland had a horrific start in the Super 12 stage, losing their first group match by nine wickets against Sri Lanka in Hobart. But they kept themselves alive in the semi-final race by registering a shocking 5-run win (DLS) against another former champion, England, albeit with some assistance from rain.
Sent in to bat first, Ireland posted a competitive 157 all out in 19.2 overs. Their top-three batters clicked in unison again for Ireland, with Andy Balbirnie (62 off 47) scoring a fifty and Lorcan Tucker (34) and Paul Sterling (14) contributing to the total. Rain played its part in the final outcome of the match, leaving England (105/5 in 14.3 overs) short by 5 runs via the D/L method when the game was called off due to heavy rain.
The defeat left England in a tough spot in the group which also has heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Result: Ireland (157) beat England (105/5) by 5 runs (DLS)
Pakistan’s nervy 1 run defeat against Zimbabwe
Yet to fully recover from the last-ball thrilling defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India four days earlier, former champions Pakistan suffered another heartbreaking narrow loss against Zimbabwe on Thursday. Pakistan failed to chase down a modest 131-run target and lost by a solitary run to suffer their second successive defeat in the tournament.
Zimbabwe decided to bat first after winning the toss in Perth. And it almost paid off handsomely with their openers adding 42 runs in the first five overs, before they suffered a collapse. From 42/0 in 4.5 overs, Zimbabwe were reduced to 95/7 in 14.4 overs courtesy some excellent bowling by Mohammad Wasim (4/24) and Shadab Khan (3/23). Brad Evans (19) and Ryan Burl (10*) took the score to 130/8 at the end, which turned out to be just enough for Zimbabwe.
Chasing a below-par 131-run target, Pakistan lost early wickets as openers and key batters Mohammad Rizwan (14) and Babar Azam (4) flopped again. Shan Masood (44) held up one end for Pakistan, but when they lost him they were in all sorts of trouble at 94/6 in 15.1 overs. Mohammad Nawaz (22) and Mohammad Wasim Jr (12) almost took the team home as they reached 120/6 in 19 overs, needing 11 off the last over with four wickets in hand. At one point, Pakistan needed just 3 off the last three balls, but somehow they fell short by one run while losing two wickets in the last two balls.
The defeat left Pakistan just above Netherlands, on NRR, in the six-team group also comprising India and South Africa after two games played and severely dented their semi-final hopes.
Result: Zimbabwe (130/8) beat Pakistan (129/8) by 1 run