The 2015 Cricket World Cup has already produced a number of high-profile slip-ups and shocks, not least England’s humbling by a rampant New Zealand side. Here we take a look back at 10 classic moments that left fans, pundits and fellow players pinching themselves for hours after they occurred (probably).
10) Signs of a Prosper-ous future
Zimbabwe have produced a number of results against the odds over the years. However, very few people could have predicted their one-day victory against an in-form Australia in September 2014. After restricting the visitors to just 209, tail-enders Elton Chigumbura and Prosper Utseya hammered Zimbabwe to their first victory over the Aussies for 11,406 days, leaving the Australian media to brand the result as one of the most humiliating in the country’s history.
9) ‘A 10 year-old would catch that’
South Africa’s Vernon Philander will go down as one of the greatest fast bowlers the country has produced, which is just well as it means this ghastly drop will often be forgotten. In just his sixth ODI appearance, England’s Matt Prior gave Philander a chance at mid-off that Geoffrey Boycott’s mum would have taken blindfolded. However, he somehow put it down and left Mark Nicholas speechless – it really was that bad.
8) Ever heard of a bat?
The 2005 Ashes series may have been a disaster for Australia but they did have some moments to smile about, including this dismissal. Shane Warne, spinning the ball a mile, floated a delivery up outside off stump. Andrew Strauss went to pad it away, leaving all three stumps visible. The ball pitched, spun and cannoned into Strauss’ exposed wicket, leaving him walking off very sheepishly and the mercurial spinner giggling like a mischievous kid.
7) Dye-ing to beat you
England have an unfortunate history of losing to ‘minnows’ at recent tournaments, especially the Netherlands. However, it was their defeat by Ireland at the 2011 World Cup that was undoubtedly the most embarrassing. Not only was the result itself humiliating, especially considering it was their first loss to the associate side after setting them a huge target of 328, but match-winner Kevin O’Brian had bright pink hair at the time. ‘Nuff said.
6) ‘Keep your face to the sunshine and you won’t catch the ball’
Missing a catch is bad, but not even getting your hands to an attempt is all-but-unforgivable. During South Africa’s tour of Australia in 2008/2009, the Protea’s Dale Steyn sliced a shot high into the line of the sun. Mike Hussey was the nearest man but it was clear he couldn’t see the ball and, eventually, it landed a good two metres to his left. Even his own fans couldn’t help but laugh.
5) Not such a magic number
Last April, Wirral CC’s 1st XI were dismissed for just 3 runs. Whilst this isn’t the lowest total ever recorded in cricket, the only scorers were ‘Extras’ and the last batsman, who ended up unbeaten with a single run to his name. Whilst being dismissed for such a paltry total is one thing, being outscored by a tail-ender with a highest score of just 14 is simply degrading.
4) Gibbs ‘drops the World Cup’
Dropped catches are as much a part of cricket as sledging and egg-and-bacon ties, but there are some that should never happen. During the 1999 World Cup, Australian captain Steve Waugh hit the ball straight at South African Herschelle Gibbs. He initially took the chance but, in going to throw the ball in celebration, saw it slip out of his hands. He never made the same mistake again.
3) Ajit quacks up
Spare a thought then for poor Ajit Agarkar, who once registered seven – yes, seven – consecutive Test ducks against Australia. Whilst looking hopeless against pace of Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath and Damien Fleming, his worst dismissal was when he slapped a truly awful delivery from part-time bowler Mark Waugh straight at the fielder at point. It was funny at best, tragic at worst.
As well as his run-scoring feats, Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq will also be remembered for many whacky dismissals throughout his career, the most ignominious being when he fell onto his stumps when trying to sweep England’s Monty Panesar in 2006. The ball missed the bat, hiting Inzi’s considerable midriff and causing him to lose his balance. Despite a Herculean effort to leap over them, gravity took over and he could only career into the stumps.
1) Tuffers’ moment of madness
Phil Tufnell’s career is littered with ridiculous mistakes and howlers. This missed run-out in an ODI against Australia, though, is scarcely believable. After a mix-up between the batsmen left them stranded at the same end, the ball was gently lobbed to Tufnell for an easy wicket, yet he managed to drop it. Not only that, his subsequent throw from a metre away missed the stumps, summing up English cricket in the ‘90s – truly awful.