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TOP 10 Greatest ICC Finals in WORLD CUP ever

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Old 05-27-2019, 03:57 PM
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Default TOP 10 Greatest ICC Finals in WORLD CUP ever

Top 5 ICC Cricket World Cup finals

There have been 10 World Cup finals until now, with the inaugural edition having been held back in 1975. Naturally, we’ve had five winners, four of whom have also been runners-up on other occasions. And then there is England which has played as many finals as India and West Indies, but is yet to win a single edition. While a World Cup final is always a special occasion, not all finals have been as exciting and engrossing as one would’ve hoped.Some haven't even been remotely interesting. Come to think of it, Australia's hat-trick of World Cup wins from 1999 to 2007 had been ruthless from a cricketing perspective, but boring from an audience's perspective. The World Cup still awaits a nail-biting final, the kind that goes down to the last ball or wicket. However, there have also been a few interesting contests; some even managed to throw up surprising results.Here are the top 5 World Cup finals of all-time:

#5 1996 - Sri Lanka vs Australia

It was a tough call between 1996 and 1975. On the basis of the scorecard, the ‘75 final looks closer. But on a closer look, you’ll notice that a lot of runs in the run chase were scored by the last wicket pair of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson when there was not much to lose. On the other hand, the ‘96 final in Lahore was tense almost right throughout.
Australia, who had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the West Indies in the semi-finals, posted a decent 241 on the board. More importantly, they had Sri Lanka tottering at 23/2 with openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, who had set the tournament ablaze with their smashing brand of cricket, back in the hut.
But like Shane Warne in ‘99, Aravinda de Silva owned the finals in ‘96 with an unbeaten century which made sure that the chase was always on track, following on from his half-century in the semi-finals. Asanka Gurusinha and, later, skipper Arjuna Ranatunga supported him ably, ensuring Sri Lanka got home well before time.

Australia had Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Warne at their disposal, but they were yet to touch greatness and were very much second-best against a rampant Sri Lankan unit.

#4 1983 - India vs West Indies

India might’ve won the 1983 World Cup final against the West Indies by a comfortable 43 runs, but it will always remain the biggest upset in the history of World Cup finals. India, after all, were rank outsiders against two-time champions West Indies going into the final. Just to give you an idea of their all-round strength, they possessed a bowling attack that had Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Andy Roberts and a batting line-up that had Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd.

India posted 183 on the board after being sent in to bat, with Kris Srikkanth top scoring for the Indians with a score of 38. While the total was competitive, it seemed nowhere near enough against an intimidatory batting line-up like the West Indies. It was only when the explosive Richards was dismissed on 33, courtesy of a brilliant running catch by Kapil Dev, that India actually started believing they could win. Soon the whole complexion of the match changed, and the West Indies were eventually bundled out for 140.
Mohinder Amarnath claimed the Man-of-the-Match for his spell of 3/12 in addition to a decent contribution of 26 with the bat. The victory changed the Indian sports scene forever, and more importantly, showed that the seemingly invincible West Indies could be beaten after all.

#3 2011 - India vs Sri Lanka

The final scorecard shows that India won the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka with 6 wickets and 10 balls to spare. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. The final at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, was definitely one of the more intense matches in World Cup history, constantly swinging one way to the other. Sri Lanka, batting first, scored 274 on the back of a Mahela Jayawardene century.

India’s subsequent run chase began on the wrong note as they lost their talismanic openers, Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, early on in the innings. It was time for some of India’s other big match players to step up, and they duly did. Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni, eventual man-of-the-match for his knock of 91*, ensured India didn’t panic as they put together a dazzling 109-run partnership for the fifth wicket, not to forget a crucial knock by the young Virat Kohli to support Gambhir after the fall of the two early wickets.

When Gambhir was dismissed for 97 with India still needing 52 runs for victory, however, Sri Lanka would’ve felt they were in with a minor chance of making a comeback. But Dhoni, who was Man-of-the-Match for his knock of 91*, along with eventual Man-of-the-Tournament Yuvraj Singh made sure that wasn’t the case as they led India to their first World Cup win in 28 years.

#2 1992 - Pakistan vs England

The World Cup final in 1992 will be remembered forever for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Pakistan were never meant to win against an in-form England going into the match. Hell, they weren’t even meant to reach the World Cup finals. After all, they were dismissed for a paltry 74 against England in the league stage and poised to exit the tournament before the rain interrupted England’s chase and handed Pakistan a precious point. Little would’ve England known at that stage, however, that the rain would go on to hand Pakistan not just a point but the World Cup itself.

In the final, England were set a target of 250 for victory after Pakistan posted a total of 249 for 6 from their 50 overs. At 69 for 4, England were in deep trouble and in danger of falling way short of the target. A defiant 72-run partnership between Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb, though, ensured a minor recovery and even gave hope of an unlikely victory for the English.

But any hope they had receded when Wasim Akram produced two magical deliveries back to back to get rid of Lamb and Chris Lewis.
Pakistan eventually completed a 22-run victory, with Akram rightly receiving the man-of-the-match award. Apart from his figures of 3/49 from his 10 overs, he had also played a cameo of 33 from 21 deliveries with the bat in hand to lift Pakistan to a match-winning total.

#1 1987 - Australia vs England

The match that boasted of the notorious Mike Gatting reverse sweep, the World Cup final between Australia and England in 1987 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, remains the closest in terms of competitiveness as the Aussies emerged triumphant over their arch-rivals by just 7 runs. In what was the first final to be held outside Lord’s, England were set a target of 254 for victory. They were on course at 135/2 at one stage, with skipper Gatting playing beautifully for an almost run-a-ball 41.

Then, Gatting had a brain fade all of a sudden as he tried to cheekily reverse sweep his counterpart, Allan Border, and went down in history books for all the wrong reasons. England lost their fizz from there on and fell agonizingly short of victory.

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