Cricket is an unpredictable game. Any team, on any given day, can defeat any other team in the world. But it gets better when minnows beat a much stronger side.
The World Cup is probably the only stage where the minnows get the chance to show their capability and tell the “big boys” of the game that they should not be taken lightly. There have been numerous instances when teams like Kenya have gone on to beat the big teams and reach the semi-final stage of the highly prestigious event.
The World Cup has always been a stage where the underdogs create hug upsets.
Let us take a look at 4 teams that people will miss in the upcoming 2019 World Cup in England & Wales:
#4 - SCOTLAND
The Scottish team has been a regular at the World Cups. With their strong performances in the qualifiers, the Scots qualified for the star-studded event in 1999, 2007 and 2015. Their record at this world event has not been good as they suffered defeats in all the 14 matches that they have played in every World Cup that they have qualified for. But they gave a tough fight in each and every one of those matches, which really impressed the spectators.
Their recent performances in the ICC World Cup qualifiers suggests that they should have been a part of the event. They beat Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Nepal on the trot. But average umpiring in the games against Ireland and West Indies cost them their place in this edition of the World Cup.
#3 - KENYA
Can anyone forget the moment when Kenya qualified for the Super Six stage at the 2003 World Cup? But, they left everyone dumbstruck with their performance and did the unthinkable. KENYA QUALIFIED FOR THE SEMI-FINALS. The defeated Sri Lanka to qualify for the Super Sixes, while they qualified for the semi-finals because New Zealand forfeited the match with the African nation due to safety concerns.
Interestingly, the African nation became the only non-Test playing nation to ever reach the semi-finals of a World Cup. The team had its own charisma and played like they have nothing to lose.
Recently, Kenya was relegated division 3 after performing poorly in the ICC World Cricket League division two.
#2 - ZIMBABWE
With a knack of creating huge upsets in World Cups, Zimbabwe was a force to be reckoned with in the 90s. In the 1983 World Cup, they defeated the mighty Australian in the group stage. Shockingly, this was Zimbabwe’s first ever World Cup and Australia were labeled as the favorites to win the prestigious trophy.
They came back strong and created another major upset by beating South Africa and India in the 1999 World Cup. By the end of that tournament, Zimbabwe was not considered to be minnows. They were called the ‘world beaters’. Zimbabwe surprised the Australian team again at the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 where they defeated the Ricky Ponting-led side by 5 wickets in the group stage.
They played some really good cricket in the recently concluded ICC World Cup qualifiers. But their heartbreaking loss to the UAE put them out of the contention for the World Cup. This will be the first time since 1981 that Zimbabwe will not be a part of a World Cup.
#1 – IRELAND
No one expected that Ireland will be making such a huge impact in the game of cricket. Emerged to the scene of cricket in the year 2007, they announced their arrival with a bang as they defeated Bangladesh and Pakistan in that tournament. But their moment of glory came in the 2011 World Cup when they defeated the English team in an extraordinary run chase. Kevin O’Brien played a blistering inning of 113 off just 63 balls to take their team to the victory.
They also emerge victorious against the West Indies in the 2015 edition of the highly prestigious event. As a result, they were awarded a full-membership by the governing body ICC.
Ireland came really close of sealing a World Cup, falling only at the last hurdle against a rampant Afghanistan.
It is a shame that a team like Ireland won’t be a part of this year’s World Cup.
About the Author
Sports Journalist by profession, a Cricket Fanatic by passion. Aayush Sharma has been following the game of cricket since childhood and considers Sachin Tendulkar as his idol. When in free time, he loves to read books or go out and play some gully cricket with friends. For him, Tennis ace Roger Federer and F1 Legend Michael Schumacher are the only sportspersons that reach the level of Tendulkar