A tournament that began with a 55-run thrashing of reigning Asian champions Sri Lanka on the opening day (October 16) by Namibia has truly turned into a spectacle of major upsets. The trend of major reversals of fortunes for some of the heavyweights has seen as many as four former champions humiliated.
Here, TimesofIndia.com highlights the five major upsets so far in this edition of the T20 World Cup:
A shock of an opening – 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 played in Round 1 to qualify for the Super 12s, Sri Lanka were expected to sail through from the group consisting of 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 they lost 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 from 16 balls.
The run chase started on the wrong note for the Lankans, losing three wickets for 21 runs in four overs. Namibia bowlers struck regularly to derail the chase and Sri Lanka were bundled out for 108 in 19 overs to suffer a crushing defeat.
However, Sri Lanka bounced back well in the remaining two matches to qualify for the Super 12s as top of the group. Namibia missed out after losing their next two matches, but in a way they announced what was to come 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 hammered by Scotland in Hobart by 42 runs. The defeat left the Windies in a tough spot for Super 12 qualification as their group had Zimbabwe and Ireland as the other two teams. Both Zimbabwe and Ireland are regular players in ICC tournaments.
West Indies also elected 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 target of 161 runs for the Windies. The chase started well, and the Windies raced to 50 for 1 in just 5.3 overs. But thereafter they lost wickets at regular intervals and were eventually bowled out for 118 in 18.3 overs.
However, Scotland failed to repeat the success in their next two matches 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 are eliminated
After the shock in their opening match against Scotland, the West Indies revived their campaign with an impressive 31-run win over Zimbabwe in their second match. But two days later the Windies were unceremoniously sent out of the tournament by Ireland.
Skipper Nicholas Pooran was lucky with the toss for the third time in a row and decided to set a target for the Irish in Hobart, as they successfully did against Zimbabwe. Although Brandon King scored an unbeaten 62 off 48 balls, West Indies managed a paltry 146/5 in their 20 overs.
Ireland’s top-order batsmen then produced a batting masterclass to claim an impressive nine-wicket victory, 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 side home with Lorcan Tucker (45* off 35) at the other end.
The defeat saw two-time champions and the most successful team in the tournament’s history knock West Indies out of the tournament, while Ireland booked their place in the Super 12 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 to the Super 12 stage, losing their first group game by nine wickets against Sri Lanka in Hobart. But they kept themselves alive in the semi-finals by recording a shock 5-run win (DLS) against another former champion, England, albeit with some help from rain.
Sent to bat first, Ireland posted a competitive 157 all out in 19.2 overs. Their top three batsmen clicked together again for Ireland, with Andy Balbirnie (62 off 47) scoring a fifty and Lorcan Tucker (34) and Paul Sterling (14) adding to the total. Rain played its part in the final outcome of the match, leaving England (105/5 in 14.3 overs) with 5 runs via the D/L method when the match was called off due to heavy rain.
The defeat left England in a tough spot in the group that also features heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
Result: Ireland (157) beat England (105/5) by 5 runs (DLS)
Pakistan’s nervous 1 run defeat against Zimbabwe
Yet former champions Pakistan suffered another heartbreaking narrow defeat against Zimbabwe on Thursday to fully recover from the thrilling last-ball defeat at the hands of arch-rivals India four days earlier. Pakistan failed to chase down a modest target of 131 runs and lost by a solitary run to suffer their second consecutive defeat in the tournament.
Zimbabwe decided to bat first after winning the toss in Perth. And it almost paid off well with their openers adding 42 runs in the first five overs before collapsing. From 42/0 in 4.5 overs, Zimbabwe were reduced to 95/7 in 14.4 overs thanks to 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 proved to be just enough for Zimbabwe.
Chasing a target of 131 runs down the track, Pakistan lost early wickets when openers Mohammad Rizwan (14) and Babar Azam (4) flopped again. Shan Masood (44) held the one run 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. Pakistan needed just 3 from the last three balls at one stage but somehow fell short by one run while losing two wickets in the last two balls.
The defeat left Pakistan just above the Netherlands, on NRR, in the six-team group that also includes India and South Africa, after two games and severely dented their semi-final hopes.
Result: Zimbabwe (130/8) beat Pakistan (129/8) by 1 run