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5 Dropped catches that proved costly in ODI World Cup

Ross Taylor. (Photo Source: X(Twitter)

In World Cups, it’s crucial for players to be active on the field all the time while serving their teams. Any negligence from players while fielding in the middle could wreck their teams’ chances in crucial matches. Every disciplined side acknowledges that ‘catches win matches’ on the World Cup stage and teams want their players to follow these three words strictly to pocket matches comfortably.

However, sometimes fielders fail to hold their nerves in the massive event and pay the huge cost of dropping chances against batters. Back in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final match between New Zealand and the West Indies, when Marlon Samuels dropped Martin Guptill in the first over, the Kiwi opener took advantage of the chance and went on to play an unprecedented knock of 237 off 163 deliveries. 

Guptill’s 237 runs is the second-highest individual score in the history of the ODI format. The missed chance by Samuels became a blunder for the Windies team as the Kiwis put up 393 runs on the board which is their highest total in World Cups. In the end, New Zealand defended the massive total successfully and knocked the Windies side out of the 2015 World Cup. In the history of ODI World Cups, there are many instances to recount when missed chances proved costly to some teams but it’s time to know about five dropped catches that grabbed a lot of headlines among cricket supporters. 

Here are five dropped catches that proved costly in the ODI WC

5. Kamran Akmal’s butterfingers proved costly for Pakistan in the 2011 Group match against New Zealand

Pakistan and New Zealand were placed in Pool A in the 2011 World Cup and both sides clashed with each other at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in the 24th match of the tournament. The match went in New Zealand’s favour by a margin of 110 runs due to the Pakistan wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal’s grave mistake. 

Batting first after winning the toss, the Kiwi team lost their top-order batters Brendon McCullum and Jamie How early. The matter could’ve got worse for New Zealand if Akmal hadn’t dropped Ross Taylor in Shoaib Akhtar’s first over of the second spell. Taylor was on eight when Kamran dropped the sitter.

Taylor punished Pakistan for the missed chance as he led an onslaught from his team and took Pakistan’s bowling unit to the cleaners. The right-handed batter went back to the pavilion with his score of unbeaten 131 off 124. In the last four overs, the dashing Kiwi batter adopted a relentless approach against Pakistan bowlers which helped his team to score 302 runs. 

4. Rahat Ali’s dropped chance helps Australia kick Pakistan out of the 2015 edition

In the third quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup played at the iconic Adelaide Oval, Pakistan and Australia squared off with each other. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq emerged victorious at the toss and chose to bat first. In front of the quality bowling, the Men in Green failed to play 50 overs and racked up only 213 runs in 49.5 overs.

Defending the low total for Pakistan, Wahab Riaz stepped up in the big game and bowled an impressive spell to create pressure on the Aussies, picking up dangerous David Warner and Michael Clarke. With three down at the score of 83 in 16 overs, the Aussies were under immense pressure to go close to the target.

The fierce battle between Wahab and Shane Watson had intensified the game. In the amazing contest, Wahab could have had the last laugh against Watson. On the first delivery of the 16th over, the Aussie all-rounder hit Wahab’s short-pitched delivery towards the backward square leg, where Rahat Ali was deployed. 

Rahat had a chance to complete the catch and bring his team back into the game but the pacer dropped the dolly. The Aussie veteran grabbed the lifeline with both hands and stood at the crease until the end of the game. The hosts registered a convincing six-wicket victory and Watson made an important contribution of 64 runs off 66 balls.

3. Yasir Shah gives a lifeline to Virat Kohli with a dropped catch in the high-octane clash in the 2015 WC

The 2015 World Cup’s much-awaited game between India and Pakistan was played at the Adelaide Oval. In the huge match, India were looking to continue their winning streak in the marquee ODI event while Pakistan’s endeavours were to end the jinx against the arch-rivals. Pakistan emerged as the losing side as they were handed a 76-run defeat by MS Dhoni and his men at the end of the day.

The high-voltage game kicked off with India winning the toss and batting first. The 1992 champions got a positive start in the match, dismissing Rohit Sharma in the eighth over. Pakistan had got a chance to make Virat Kohli join his colleague Rohit in the pavilion.

On the fifth delivery of the 11th over, Kohli was on when he played a shot towards the deep mid-wicket. Yasir Shah covered the long way to complete the grab but he failed to secure the ball in his hands. The leg-break bowler’s error proved expensive for Pakistan as Kohli hit a fabulous ton to help his team score 300 runs, which proved too big for Misbah and his men. 

2. Herschelle Gibbs dropped Steve Waugh in the Super Six round in the 1999 edition

South Africa’s infamous tie against Australia in the 1999 World Cup semi-final still resides in the minds of Protea cricket supporters. The stalemate against the Aussies in the knockouts ended South Africa’s journey in the competition as Australia qualified for the final on the basis of points table standings in the Super Six round.

Both teams racked up six points each in the Super Six stage but Australia were superior to South Africa on the basis of the run rate. In South Africa’s elimination from the tournament, Herschelle Gibbs’ dropped catch against Steve Waugh in the Super Six round played a major factor.

In the Super Six contest, South Africa scored 271 in their 50 overs. Pursuing the total, Australia lost three batters at a score of 48 in 11.3 overs. Waugh came at number five and stabilized Australia’s innings. In the 31st over, the Aussie captain played a stroke towards the mid-wicket region against Lance Klusener. 

Herschelle Gibbs, who was guarding the area failed to be efficient and dropped the Aussie veteran. Waugh didn’t miss this golden chance as he scored an unbeaten 120 and snatched the game from South Africa. The stylish Aussie captain also got the Player of the Match award for guiding his team to a five-wicket win with his brilliant innings. 

1. Misbah-ul-Haq drops Sachin Tendulkar in 2011 World Cup semi-final 

India and Pakistan locked horns with each other at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium in the 2011 World Cup semi-final. The blockbuster contest is one of the most viewed one-day matches in the history of the sport. In that exciting game, India emerged triumphant by 29 runs.

Sachin Tendulkar played his part magnificently in the enormous clash. The Master Blaster chalked up 85 runs off 115 balls and became the Player of the Match. The Men in Green lost the match not only due to Tendulkar’s batting excellence but also because of their horrendous fielding.

In the vital knockout game, Pakistan dropped Tendulkar four times. The first error happened when the Master Blaster was on 27 as the vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq dropped him. After Misbah, Younis Khan also missed the chance to send the batting maestro back to the pavilion on 45. Akmal brothers didn’t learn a lesson from their previous mistakes as they jointly gave two more lifelines to the India stalwart. 

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