Revisit the most iconic moments in World Cup history

This year’s mega event will be held in India

September 29, 2023
Imran Khan (L) and MS Dhoni (R) produced two of the most iconic moments in World Cup history. — ICC

From Kapil Dev saving India from a humiliation against Zimbabwe in 1983 to Ben Stokes’ heroics in 2019, the ICC Men’s ODI Cricket World Cup had some of the most iconic, jaw-dropping moments that left the cricketers and fans present in the ground stunned.

This will be the 13th edition of the mega event as 10 teams will go head-to-head for the elusive title across 10 venues from October 5 to November 19, with the Narendra Modi Stadium — the biggest stadium in the world — in Ahmedabad hosting the tournament opener and the final.

With teams like India, Pakistan, England, South Africa and others being in red-hot form, we might witness one of the greatest World Cups of all time, especially on batting-friendly Indian wickets where high totals would be expected in every match.

As we wait for the mega event to kick off, let us revisit some of the most iconic moments in the tournament’s history.

Jonty Rhodes runs out Inzamam-ul-Haq (1992)

In what could’ve been one of the most memorable run-chases for Pakistan, the Green Shirts were eyeing quick runs while chasing a revised target against South Africa but Jonty Rhodes’ pure athleticism made sure that didn’t happen.

Inzamam-ul-Haq changed the pace of Pakistan’s batting and was looking like the man to guide his side to a crucial win but, in the 31st over, Brian McMillan’s delivery hit his pad and the Pakistani batter, who didn’t know where the ball went, set off to take a single but before he realised that no run was available, Rhodes — who was far away from the wickets as compared to Inzamam — stormed towards the wicket with the ball in his hands and ended up smashing them — thus ending Pakistan’s hopes of a successful chase.

Jonty Rhoades smashed the stumps, giving a big blow to Pakistan by sending Inzamam ul Haq back to the pavilion. — Screengrab

MS Dhoni finishes off in style (2011)

"Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the ground, India lift the World Cup after 28 years and it is our Indian captain who has been absolutely magnificent at the night of the final."

Who doesn’t remember this iconic piece of commentary by Ravi Shastri as Mahendra Singh (MS) Dhoni, who decided to take the responsibility to take his side over the line against Sri Lanka in the final, hit one of the most memorable sixes in the history of cricket.

Dhoni, along with Gautam Gambhir who scored 97 runs in the final, guided India to their first World Cup triumph in this century and cemented his name in the history books forever.

MS Dhoni seals India's World Cup with a six while Yuvraj Singh celebrates at the non-strikers' end. — AFP

Lasith Malinga takes four in a row vs South Africa (2007)

It is hard to stop a team from winning if it needs four runs with five wickets in hand that too with two overs in hand, right? But Lasith Malinga showed us that there can still be hope even if the odds are stacked against you.

South Africa were four runs away from a victory with five wickets still remaining when Malinga decided to go berserk and took four wickets in four full-length deliveries in the 49th over of the innings. Although the Proteas managed to capture a one-wicket win, the pacer’s remarkable effort was etched in the history books.

Lasith Malinga takes off after taking fourth wicket in a row on the last ball of the 49th over against South Africa. — AFP

Imran Khan leads Pakistan to victory (1992)

Pakistan were on their way to the airport to confirm their flight back to the country after losing three matches in the group stages and were almost out of the World Cup.

It was Imran Khan, who kept faith in his side, who led his side, first, to the knockout stages by winning their remaining matches and then playing a captain's inning in the final against England.

Imran, who would normally bat at sixth or seven number, saw his team at 24-2 and decided to bat one down in the final and scored a crucial 72-run innings and helped Pakistan win their first and only World Cup to this date.

Imran Khan walks with his teammates after winning the World Cup for Pakistan. — ICC

England win maiden World Cup after super over drama (2019)

"By the barest of all margins! Absolute ecstasy for England! Agony, agony for New Zealand." 

Call it drama, suspense, action or thriller, the 2019 World Cup final between England and New Zealand had it all. When 612 balls — including the super over — couldn’t decide the Champion of the world, the winner was decided by boundary count. The rule to decide the victor sparked a huge debate but one thing that cannot be ruled out is England’s resilience.

Ben Stokes, England’s hero who cemented his name in history books, scored a fighting 84 off 98 by staying till the last ball and was named the Player of the Match.

Jos Buttler removes the stumps as England are confirmed as the World Champions for the first time in history. — AFP

Kapil-Dev’s 175 against Zimbabwe (1983)

After being stunned by Zimbabwe's new-ball bowling attack, India were on course to a historic humiliation as they were 17-5. At the time the Blues were looking at something heroic and Kapil Dev — playing at number six — did exactly that by scoring a whopping 175 off 138 courtesy of 22 boundaries, taking his side to a winning total of 266.

India ultimately emerged winners as they bowled the entire Zimbabwe team out for 235 runs. Dev also took one wicket.

Kapil Dev plays a shot as he is on his way to take India to a competitive total against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup. — BCCI

Wasay Qayyum is a sports journalist at Geo Super.