Ahead of the upcoming ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, we look back through the archives and showcase the top 32 moments from previous events.

But which moment stands out among these? We’ll leave that for you to decide via a bracket challenge! Each moment will be pitted against the other, and you will have the chance to vote and determine the Greatest Moment of the Cricket World Cup!

The first round of voting is live now. Click on the link below to get voting!

VOTE FOR THE GREATEST CWC MOMENT

Table of Contents

The Cricket World Cup Greatest Moments

MS Dhoni six in the final (2011) vs Afghanistan beat Scotland for first win (2015)

MS Dhoni six in the final 

India were crowned the World Cup champions for only the second time in their history on the back of a monstrous six, which came off the willow of their skipper MS Dhoni in the 49th over. The shot was a culmination of a successful home campaign, and was marked by Ravi Shastri’s momentous words from the commentary box, “Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd!”

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Afghanistan beat Scotland for first win

Afghanistan’s maiden appearance in the Cricket World Cup Down Under was competitive, but they also managed to light up the biggest stage with their first-ever win at the global event. The last-wicket pair of Hamid Hassan and Shapoor Zadran held their own against Scotland’s disciplined bowling to etch out a memorable triumph. 

Kevin O’Brien helps Ireland beat England (2011) vs Dwayne Leverock’s amazing grab (2007)

Kevin O’Brien helps Ireland beat England

England’s impressive start to the World Cup was halted by a one-man effort in Bengaluru. When Ireland were 111/5 in their pursuit of 328, it seemed as if England had secured five points out of their three games. However, Kevin O’Brien’s 63-ball blitz which yielded 113 runs ensured that Ireland upset their rivals in the final over of the game. 

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Dwayne Leverock’s amazing grab

Dwayne Leverock left Bermuda’s mark on the 2007 World Cup with a spectacular grab against India. The stout slipper held out his right hand to an edge from Robin Uthappa and grabbed the ball before it went wide, and then broke into a rambunctious celebration.  

Ruthless Richards runs out three (1975) vs Ponting pummels India in 2003 final (2003)

Ruthless Richards runs out three 

Vivian Richards failed to light up the run charts at the inaugural Cricket World Cup. The story continued into the final, where he got a mere five before being cleaned up by Gary Gilmour. However, the young Antiguan wasn’t done leaving his mark on the game. He struck with three run outs at crucial phases to push the Australia chase off track, and help West Indies to a maiden title. 

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Ponting pummels India in 2003 final

Australia’s bright start in the game was temporarily halted by Harbhajan Singh’s strikes in the middle overs, but it only set the stage for an all-time great effort. Ricky Ponting’s bludgeoning 140* helped his side to the highest ever total in a World Cup final, and an eventual thumping win.

MS Dhoni run out by Guptill direct hit (2019) vs Starc to McCullum in final (2015)

MS Dhoni run out by Guptill direct hit 

MS Dhoni’s fighting knock in the 2019 semi-final came to an end courtesy a brilliant direct hit from the deep. Martin Guptill’s accurate throw ended India’s last hopes of world glory in the 49th over.

With his retirement from the game in 2020, this also became Dhoni’s final international innings. 

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Starc to McCullum in final 

Mitchell Starc’s searing yorker rattled the off stump of New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum in the very first over of the game. 

McCullum was New Zealand’s main threat, given his exceptional strike rates in the opening overs of the tournament. The Black Caps never recovered from this early blow, and Australia marched to their fifth title with ease. 

Wasim Akram’s two-in-two against England in the 1992 final (1992) vs Ben Stokes’ catch against South Africa (2019)

Wasim Akram’s two-in-two against England in the 1992 final 

Wasim Akram, the Sultan of Swing himself, bowled one of his finest deliveries in the 35th over of the World Cup final against England in Melbourne. The ripsnorter swung away late from the bat of Allan Lamb to disturb his off stump and end England’s most promising stand for the night. 

Things got even better off the next ball, which effectively pushed the trophy Pakistan’s way. Akram landed one outside off and got it to swerve in and crash into Chris Lewis’ stumps to make it two-in-two for the Asian side. 

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Ben Stokes’ catch against South Africa

It mattered little that England were already ahead in their World Cup opening contest against South Africa. Ben Stokes still managed to steal the show by plucking an Andile Phehlukwayo sweep mid-air, while stationed in the mid-wicket region. At first, Stokes misjudged and tilted his body away from the ball, only to pull out his right hand just before the ball flew out of his reach. 

This forced Nasser Hussain to famously exclaim, “No way! No, no, no way! You cannot do that, Ben Stokes!” 

Bangladesh upset India (2007) vs Malinga takes four in four v South Africa (2007)

Bangladesh upset India 

Bangladesh’s young guns helped their side to a massive upset against regional giants India in Port of Spain. Mashrafe Mortaza’s four-for was backed by fifties from Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan, as India went down by five wickets. 

The full ramifications of this result became clear later in the tournament, as India crashed out before the Super Eight stage even began after their follow-up loss to Sri Lanka.

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Malinga takes four in four v South Africa

When South Africa were sitting four runs away from their target with five wickets in hand, their win over Sri Lanka seemed merely a formality.

Enter Lasith Malinga. The sling-actioned pacer took four wickets in four balls to turn the game on its head. While the Proteas managed to scamper to a one-wicket win, the pacer’s effort left its mark on the tournament.  

Grant Elliott hits it into the grandstand (2015) vs India v England tie (2011)

Grant Elliott hits it into the grandstand 

A highly-charged semi-final came down to an equation of five runs from two balls. New Zealand’s Grant Elliott was on strike, while South Africa’s Dale Steyn held the ball. 

Adding to the drama was the fact that both sides had never made it to the final. With the tail to follow, the game could’ve swung either way. In the end, Elliott’s bat swing dispatched the ball into the stands as South Africa suffered another World Cup heartbreak in a semi-final. 

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India v England tie

A great century from the Little Master Sachin Tendulkar was nearly trumped by a magnificent 158 from Andrew Strauss, who brought England close in on a landmark win. 

However, MS Dhoni marshalled his resources well to get India back into the contest at the right time. In the end, a tie felt like a justified result between two evenly matched teams. 

Gibbs ‘drops’ the World Cup (1999) vs Yuvraj marshalls the chase against Australia (2011)

Gibbs ‘drops’ the World Cup 

After just about making it to the Super Six stage, Australia’s title charge depended on a tense chase against South Africa in Leeds. Australia skipper Steve Waugh was in a dominant mood but ended up pushing a Lance Klusener delivery towards Herschelle Gibbs at mid-wicket. Gibbs got to the ball, but let go of it before he was fully in control of the catch. 

Waugh went on to play a match-winning hundred and is supposed to have told Gibbs, “You’ve just dropped the World Cup.”

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Yuvraj marshalls the chase against Australia

The India batter was their all-round star in the win against Australia. After picking up 2/44, he came in at 143/3 and helped India out of a precarious situation with an efficient 57* from 65 deliveries. Taking good support from Suresh Raina, he added 74 runs for the fifth wicket to knock out the World Champions. 

Klusener-Donald run-out in the semi-final (1999) vs Bangladesh beat Pakistan (1999)

Klusener-Donald run-out in the semi-final 

A topsy-turvy thriller, between two of the finest cricketing teams of the 90s, boiled down to the final over, in which South Africa needed nine runs with one wicket remaining. South Africa had their talismanic finisher Lance Klusener on strike while Australia’s skillful seamer Damien Fleming held the ball. At the non-striker’s end was Allan Donald. 

Two balls later, South Africa effectively had one leg in the final after Klusener had hit back-to-back fours. The next ball was a dot, but the Proteas still needed just one off three balls.

Klusener then hit one directly down the ground, but the ball was intercepted by the fielder. However, the all-rounder had taken off even as Donald was caught ball watching. The latter was run out, and Australia got through by the virtue of finishing at a higher place in the Super Six stage. 

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Bangladesh beat Pakistan 

Pakistan were stunned by a pre-Test status Bangladesh in Northampton. A strong start had ensured that the Tigers finished at 223/9 despite a sluggish job towards the end. 

The Bangladesh bowlers then ripped off Pakistan’s batting top-order to leave the Men in Green tottering at 42/5. Pakistan’s tail showed some fight but couldn’t prevent a ‘David vs Goliath’ ending to this battle. 

Aravinda de Silva dominates the final (1996) vs Ireland upset Pakistan (2007)

Aravinda de Silva dominates the final

In March 1996, Lahore saw an exceptional individual performance take centrestage during the Cricket World Cup final. Continuing his red-hot form, Aravinda de Silva struck at regular intervals during the Australia innings. His 3/42 included the wickets of Mark Taylor, Ricky Ponting and Ian Healy. 

The elegant right-hander then took over with the bat as well, and played a classy 107* to lift the title for Sri Lanka. 

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Ireland upset Pakistan

The miracle on St. Patrick’s Day remains one of the great upsets in the tournament’s history. World Cup debutants Ireland shocked a much fancied Pakistan side and sent them packing from the global event. 

Trent Johnston called it right at the toss, and saw his bowlers deliver a top notch performance. Ireland’s batting line-up wasn’t the strongest, but a brave Niall O’Brien (72) guided them towards an exceptional win. It was the skipper Johnston who hit the winning runs in the 42nd over to announce Ireland’s arrival at the global cricketing stage.

Gilchrist century makes it three in three for Australia (2007) vs Jonty Rhodes runs out Inzamam (1992)

Gilchrist century makes it three in three for Australia

Adam Gilchrist’s carnage in the final helped Australia to an explosive start. Gilchrist added 172 with Matthew Hayden for the first wicket, and then 52 with Ricky Ponting to help Australia to 224/2 in 30.3 overs. By the time he was dismissed, he had scored 149 off 104 balls. His knock included 13 fours and eight sixes.

He also added a bit of mystique to the knock by using a squash ball in his glove during his innings.

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Jonty Rhodes runs out Inzamam

Pakistan were searching for quick runs while chasing a revised target against South Africa. Inzamam-ul-Haq lifted the Pakistan scoring rate with his brisk knock. In the 31st over, a Brian McMillan delivery hit his pads and lofted towards the point region.

Inzamam set off before realising that no run was available. He turned back for the safety of his crease. However, by that time Jonty Rhodes had already snared the ball and raced towards the stumps. He pulled out a flawless dive and stretched out his right arm to crash the stumps before Inzamam could make it.

Gilchrist walks in the semi-final (2003) vs Inzamam’s cameo in the 1992 semi-final (1992)

Gilchrist walks in the semi-final

In the all important semi-final clash against Sri Lanka, the Australia opener stunned the world by walking off the pitch after edging one back to the keeper without waiting for the umpire’s decision. Though Australia eventually went on to win the game, this selfless act won praise from cricket followers around the world.

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Inzamam’s cameo in the 1992 semi-final

New Zealand looked like they were cruising towards their first-ever World Cup final before they ran into Inzamam’s special act. The young Pakistan batter, who had been plucked out of wilderness a few months before the tournament, set the stage on fire with a scintillating 60 from 37, which included seven fours and a six. Despite losing him in the 45th over, Pakistan won the game with an over to spare.

Tendulkar v Pakistan (2003) vs Johnson bounces out Kohli (2015)

Tendulkar v Pakistan

India and Pakistan were playing almost after three years, there was much excitement to the game. While Pakistan had dominated the Men in Blue through the 90s, a young India team had grown from strength to strength under the leadership group of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar exemplified India’s fearless approach through a fearless 98 from 75. He packed a star-studded bowling line-up around the ground to help India keep their undefeated run against Pakistan in the World Cup intact. 

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Johnson bounces out Kohli

Chasing a target of 329, India needed their top three to fire against Australia. A steady start was provided by Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. But after Dhawan lost his wicket, all eyes were on India’s master chaser Virat Kohli.

However, Kohli fell to a mistimed pull against a sharp bouncer from Mitchell Johnson to lose his wicket in the 16th over. 

Having taken out India’s batting lynchpin, Australia went on to achieve an easy victory.

Kapil Dev’s running catch to dismiss Viv Richards in the final (1983) vs Bangladesh beat England in a thriller (2011)

Kapil Dev’s running catch to dismiss Viv Richards in the final

India were eyeing the crucial wicket of Viv Richards during the World Cup final. The West Indies batter had already slammed a quickfire 33 and was taking the game away from India.

When he pulled a Madan Lal delivery towards the mid-wicket region, India skipper Kapil Dev ran all the way back from infield to rush in and take a sensational catch to leave West Indies without their prime batter at 57/3. Within the next 20 runs, the Men in Maroon had lost more than half their side to an inspired India. Kapil’s side went onto win the match by 43 runs.

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Bangladesh beat England in a thriller 2011

In their previous encounter at the tournament, Bangladesh had been bowled out for merely 58 against the West Indies at home. A loss against England could’ve seen them crash out of their own World Cup. 

However, they lifted themselves up against England at Chattogram to register a close win. An 82-run stand between Imrul Kayes and Shakib Al Hasan guided Bangladesh’s chase. Towards the end, a 58-run ninth wicket partnership between Mahmudullah and Shafiul Islam helped them clinch a famous two-wicket win. 

Kapil Dev 175 rescues India from 17 for 5 against Zimbabwe (1983) vs Prasad v Sohail in the Ind v Pak quarterfinal (1996)

Kapil Dev 175 rescues India from 17 for 5 against Zimbabwe

India were stunned by disciplined new-ball bowling from Zimbabwe, and slid to 9/4 and eventually 17/5. Faced with an embarrassing situation against the Chevrons, India needed an inspirational act. That came out of the blade of their captain Kapil Dev. The Haryana Hurricane slammed an unbeaten 175 from 138 balls with 16 fours and six sixes. With support from the tailenders, he got India to 266/8.

Kapil’s individual endeavour proved to be the difference between the two sides, as India won the game by 31 runs. 

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Prasad v Sohail in the Ind v Pak quarterfinal

Cricket went into full theatre mode during this mini-battle within the India-Pakistan quarter-final in Bengaluru. While India had posted a strong total, Pakistan openers had gotten off to a strong start in its pursuit. Despite losing Saeed Anwar, they were going at a healthy run rate. 

When India skipper Mohammed Azharuddin brought back pacer Venkatesh Prasad, Aamer Sohail went after the bowler with the willow and words.

He let Prasad know about his thoughts after crunching one of his deliveries through the covers. The lanky Karnataka pacer, however, had the last laugh, as he struck the very next ball to dismantle the batter’s off stump. India then took control of the game, and registered a famous win over their arch-rivals.

Bangladesh upset England (2015) vs Deflection off Stokes’ bat in final over  (2019)

Bangladesh upset England 

England’s World Cup campaign hit its nadir with a defeat to Bangladesh. Their lead-up to the tournament hadn’t been the strongest and the side had underwhelmed against the big opponents.

A defeat to Bangladesh, however, ended their chances of making the quarter-finals, while also propelling Bangladesh to their first-ever Cricket World Cup knockout game. 

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Deflection off Stokes’ bat in final over of 2019

A World Cup final of close margins was decided by the finest of calls. The game was won by England in the Super Over after they overcame New Zealand. But this wouldn’t have been possible but for a deflection off the bat of Ben Stokes in the last over of the England innings. 

Chasing 242, England needed nine off three balls. Stokes hit one in the legside, and was almost caught short off a Martin Guptill throw from the deep. But not only did Stokes make it back just in time, his bat inadvertently deflected the ball towards the boundary. And England ended up getting six in place of the expected two that the batters had ran. They were able to get two off the next ball to secure a tie and force a Super Over. 

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