So many records, so many milestones, so many ecstasies and so many heartbreaks! We have witnessed and cherished all such moments in the quadrennial cricket tournament, but there have been some incidents which are beyond any logical reasoning. We take a quick look at some of those bizarre moments at the World Cup.
Javed 'Jumping Jack' Miandad
When it is India versus Pakistan, you know something unusual is round the corner. And when the two play each other in the World Cup, where India have a 100 per cent record, the temperature soars. Therefore, it was no different with the archrivals in the 1992 Benson and Hedges World Cup.
Javed Miandad, the street smart Pakistani cricketer, known for his fighting attitude, did a jig that bemused the spectators and the players alike, though it was not really in a good taste. Each of his opponents knew he should not be rubbed the wrong way, as once instigated, he could do a lot harm with the bat and his tongue.
On the other end was Indian wicketkeeper Kiran More, who had the knack of getting under the skin of the batsman on crease with his constant chats and jeering while encouraging his bowlers. He was no different when Miandad was batting. He kept mouthing words to disturb the temperamental Pakistani batsman. While Miandad was trying to pull his team out of trouble, More was at his best standing behind the stumps.
He kept appealing, which irked Miandad. The two also got involved in some verbal bantering. However, Miandad's moment of madness came in the 25th over, when after completing a run he did three monkey jumps thrice, mimicking the Indian keeper.
Interestingly, on-field umpires David Shepherd and Peter McConnell did lot lodge any complaint against the two players because they could not understand the language they used. Later match referee Ted Wykes said: "One of the big problems with the whole incident was that no one spoke in English."
Gavaskar's Snail Knock
The inaugural World Cup in 1975 witnessed a knock that demeaned the very concept of a one-day game. Strangely enough, it came from a batsman who is one of the all-time greats. In the opening round match against India, hosts England scored 334 for 4 in 60 overs. It was the highest score at that point of time. According to rule, run-rate would have decided the qualifier from a group in case of a tied situation. So, more runs meant better chances to make it to the last four.
Sunil Gavaskar, who opened the batting, just could not pull himself out of the Test mode. Nobody knew what he was up to, and the way he was batting, it seemed even he had no clue. His snail-paced batting left Indian fans praying hard for some miracle and his teammates dejected in the dressing room balcony. He remained unbeaten with his 36 off 174 balls.
That was one bizarre knock, but the explanation that followed made it even weirder. After the match was over, India's team manager GS Ramchand said that Gavaskar thought the target was unachievable and hence had taken practice. Needless to say, it could not be true and he was slammed both by fans and critics.
Did Gibbs Drop World Cup?
It happened during the Super Six stage match between Australia and South Africa in 1999. Chasing a target of 272 runs, Australia were 152/3 when they almost lost skipper Steve Waugh. In a Lance Klusener over, Waugh played a shot directly to Herschelle Gibbs at mid-wicket. Hailed as one of the best fielders, Gibbs latched onto it but he celebrated his effort much before he had even completed it. The ball dropped from his hand just when he was about to throw the ball. Allegedly, Waugh said: "You just dropped the World Cup mate!"
Well, if that's what he said, it was true. Waugh went on to score an unbeaten 120 runs and guided his side to a 5-wicket win and the semi-finals.
However, Gibbs calls that statement a myth. ""If Australia hadn't won the World Cup, you'd have never heard of it, because it isn't true," he said. Even if that's true, one would like to go with Waugh since the statement justly glorifies the win.
Australia's Bizarre Strategy
Australia used their match versus West Indies against New Zealand. Chasing a target of 111 would have been a cakewalk but that was not what the Aussies wanted. After ensuring the win, Australia brought down the scoring rate. Skipper Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan took 73 and 69 deliveries for their 19 and 20 runs, enabling the Windies to improvise their run-rate.
Why? Well, according to rules, a team retained points won against fellow-qualifiers. Against New Zealand, Australia had none; against West Indies, they had two. West Indies captain Brian Lara was furious with the strategy, while Australia entered the Super Six with a win.
The 2007 World Cup will always be remembered more for wrong reasons than right. Big upsets, a coach's mysterious death, a long tournament, rain interruptions and bad organization - all of these overshadowed Australia's magnificent achievement of completing a hat-trick of World Cup titles.
Not getting perturbed by any of these, Australia made it to the finals as did Sri Lanka. Everyone knew who the favourites were. Adam Gilchrist, playing one of the best ODI knocks, scored 149 to take Australia to 281. But rain gods made sure they had played one last time in the tournament. Rain interrupted the play and Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis smirked at the Lankans, sitting peacefully in their heavenly abode. The revised target for the islanders was 269 in 36 overs.
It was complete dark (literally not metaphorically!) in Bridgetown. Sri Lanka were reduced to 206/7 in 33 overs and Australia's victory was certain, but the umpires insisted the game was officially not over. Soon the stands and podium for the post-match ceremony were brought on to the field and the Australian team started celebrating. Much to their disappointment, the umpires asked the ground staff to leave and asked them to continue playing. And the two teams completed the 36-over match with Australia winning it by 53 runs (D/L).