Cricket World Cup 2019: Herschelle Gibbs' dropped catch and Shane Warne's admission among classic shockers

Here is a look at the 10 most shocking moments to have made cricket's flagship tournament even more memorable

17 Jun 1999:  Allan Donald of South Africa is run out and Australia go through to the World Cup final after a dramatic semi-final at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England. The match finished a tie and Australia went through after finishing higher in the SuperSix table. \ Mandatory Credit: Ross Kinnaird /Allsport

1. Herschelle Gibbs drops the World Cup

South Africa v Australia, 1999

Hubris never got anyone anywhere. Herschelle Gibbs will forever rue his decision to showily toss the ball away before he had actually completed the catch of Steve Waugh in the Super Sixes phase of the 1999 World Cup at Headingley.

He had made a dapper century himself earlier on. And Australia were struggling in their chase of 272.

Then he shelled the chance to remove Waugh, and the Australia captain went on to guide his side to the win.

The incident is remembered for Waugh telling him he had just dropped the World Cup.

Which was not actually correct, according to Waugh, whose autobiography recalled the exchange as being: "Do you realise you've just cost your team the match?"

Either way, it was seminal. Twenty years on, South Africa are still no closer to winning the cup.

2. White Lightning is not so flash

South Africa v Australia, 1999

South Africa’s reputation for choking at major tournaments has been hard-earned.

In 1999, for instance, they managed to throw away a winning position twice, against the same opposition, who would go on to become the eventual champions.

After the Gibbs shemozzle at Headingley, the Proteas and Australia shared in arguably the greatest ever World Cup match. Or perhaps the best cricket match of any sort.

The semi-final at Edgbaston was the first tie in a cricket World Cup. It was clinched by a breathless, agonising run out of Allan Donald, after Lance Klusener had taken the South Africans to the brink.

Donald, known as “White Lightning”, dropped his bat, misheard the call, failed to make his ground, and has had to live with the anguish ever since.

3. Umpires forget the rules

Australia v Sri Lanka, 2007 final

The 2007 tournament was by turns tragic – in the real, rather than sporting sense – and farcical.

The death of Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, at a Jamaican hotel, cast a pall over what should have been a joyous competition in the Caribbean.

The cricket itself reached its conclusion in the dark. In truth, the salient memory – 12 years removed – of Australia’s comfortable win in the final against Sri Lanka, was Adam Gilchrist’s 149.

But the farce that saw the umpires recall the players to play out a few, meaningless deliveries in the dark lingers, too.

4. Shaun Pollock loses count

South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2003

The weight of a whole country’s expectations, as Kumar Sangakkara was so keen to point out from behind the stumps, were on Shaun Pollock at the 2003 World Cup.

As one of the game’s great all-rounders, he had broad enough shoulders to cope with most things.

In the end, though, he was done in by a botched job reading a Duckworth-Lewis read-out.

The home side at the South Africa World Cup had manoeuvred themselves into position to win their rain-affected pool match against Sri Lanka, and thus advance to the knock-out stage.

Mark Boucher, who was batting at the time, even celebrated when he hit a six, then blocked the next ball, before weather curtailed the match.

All it had meant, though, was the scores were tied – which was enough to take Sri Lanka through as group winners, and send the Proteas out.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 01: Cricket umpire Harold 'Dickie' Bird reacts during a Test Match circa 1993 at the Oval, England.  (Photo Allsport/Getty Images)

5. Dickie Bird loses his hat

West Indies v Australia, 1975 final

How times change. Nowadays, woe betide spectators who attempt to bring non-ICC endorsed snacks into the stadiums.

Back when it all started, by contrast, they were barely even curbs in place to stop fans wandering onto the field whenever it took their fancy, let alone on what they ate.

Like at the conclusion of the first final, when scores of West Indies supporters poured onto the Lord’s turf to joyously acclaims their all-conquering heroes as champs.

Only, it had been a no-ball by Vanburn Holder, the game was still going on, and Australia’s last-wicket pair of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson were still running between the wickets.

Amid the melee, umpire Dickie Bird’s hat was snatched from his head. It only delayed the inevitable, as West Indies became cricket’s first World Cup-winners.

8 Nov 1987:  Mike Gatting of England is caught out for 41 off Allan Border of Australia during the World Cup Final at Eden Gardens in Calcutta, India. Australia won by 7 runs. Mandatory Credit: Adrian Murrell /Allsport

6. Mike Gatting goes into reverse

England v Australia, 1987 final

England have been to the World Cup final three times, but have still got no closer to winning it than they did at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 1987.

Their challenge died on one rash shot by Mike Gatting. Reverse-sweeps are 10 a penny in the modern game, but in 1987 the shot was still viewed with suspicion by many.

Gatting did little to further its case, as he bungled his attempt to reverse-sweep Allan Border’s first delivery.

It went off his bat, onto his shoulder, and on to Greg Dwyer, who was so stunned by the turn of events he almost spilled the chance.

England had been well placed at 135-2, chasing 254 to win at the time. But that was the end of that.


7. Wasim Akram opts to bat first

Pakistan v Australia, 1999 final

There have been some shocking decisions by captains when the coin has fallen in their favour down the years.

Wasim Akram’s call to bat first in the 1999 final was up there with Nasser Hussain having a bowl first at Brisbane in the 2002 Ashes.

The fact the start was delayed by 30 minutes by rain was a clue to the fact it was a standard British bowl-first morning.

Instead of starting up with himself and Shoaib Akhtar, though, Wasim opted to send his batsmen in to face Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Paul Reiffel. By 4.30pm, Australia had the title all wrapped up.

Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev during his record innings of 175 not out off 138 balls against Zimbabwe in the Cricket World Cup at Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 18th June 1983. India won the match by 31 runs and later won the tournament. (Photo by Trevor Jones/Getty Images)

8. The television blackout

India v Zimbabwe, 1983

If Kapil Dev scored one of the all-time great World Cup centuries, but the TV cameras were not there to show it, did it really happen?

The tournament of 1983 was one of the most important moments in shifting cricket’s power base from England and Australia to Asia. And for Asia, read India.

Winning the World Cup did wonders for India’s national identity. On the back of the heroics of Kapil’s Devils, their massive cricket-loving population was mobilised, and it has subsequently become the sport’s one major powerbase.

Amazing, then, to consider that the greatest moment of it – other than victory over West Indies in the final, of course – was lost to televisual history because BBC technicians were on strike.

Captain Kapil lifted India to victory from being nine for four early in their innings against little-heralded Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells, as he scored 175. Not that you will ever see any footage of it anywhere.

9. The wrong bus

Bangladesh v West Indies, 2011

Everyone makes mistakes. Even supporters.

When West Indies summarily thrashed Bangladesh in a group stage match in Dhaka in 2011, they were rewarded by having their team bus pelted with stones en route back to the hotel.

Only, it was not them the irate supporters were targeting.

“The fans thought it was the Bangladesh team bus and they hurled stones at it,” Imtiaz Ahmed, Dhaka's deputy commissioner of police, was quoted as saying.

MELBOURNE - FEBRUARY 22:  Australian cricketer Shane Warne attends his trial with the Australian Cricket Board governing body's anti-doping panel in Melbourne, Australia on February 22, 2003. Warne has been suspended for twelve months from international, state, and any district cricket as a result of testing positive for a diuretic on January 22, the day he announced his retirement from one-day cricket. (Photo by Getty Images)

10. Shane Warne misses the party

Australia v Pakistan, 2003

Two days after the 2003 tournament began, and on the eve of the start of Australia’s title defence, Shane Warne was jettisoned because of a failed drugs test.

His defence was that he had taken a diuretic given to him by his mother, in an attempt to get him looking more trim on the TV. Few were impressed by his explainer.

“The source is not relevant,” Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, was quoted as saying.

“You cannot have an IQ over room temperature and be unaware of this as an international athlete.”