Ahead of the 2023 tournament, we take a look at the five highest successful run chases in men’s Cricket World Cup history.
The ICC ODI Men’s Cricket World Cup has witnessed some of the most thrilling and unforgettable moments in the history of the sport. Among these moments are the extraordinary run chases that put cricket enthusiasts around the world on the edge of their seats. A successful run chase is a testament to a team’s skill, determination, and most importantly their nerve. These matches showcase the power of teamwork, the brilliance of individual performances, and the sheer drama that makes cricket one of the world’s most loved sports.
In this article, we look back on the top five highest successful run chases in men’s Cricket World Cup history. From historic comebacks to record-breaking partnerships, these run chases have left an indelible mark on the tournament’s rich tapestry, and they continue to be celebrated by cricket fans worldwide.
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka (2023 World Cup) – 345 runs
Pakistan hunted down a target of 345 – the highest-ever chase in a World Cup – with six wickets to spare against Sri Lanka at the 2023 World Cup. Leading their charge were tons from Abdullah Shafique and Mohammad Rizwan, after a pair of centuries by Kusal Mendis and Sadeera Samarawickrama for Sri Lanka had powered them to 344-9.
Rizwan remained not out in the end on a 121-ball 131. Together with Shafique – who logged 113 off 103 – they put together a match-winning third-wicket stand worth 176 off just 156 deliveries.
Ireland vs England (2011 World Cup) – 328 runs
In the 2011 ODI World Cup, Ireland recorded a historic victory that is still celebrated today. Facing their arch rivals, England, in Bengaluru, India, Ireland pulled off their highest successful run chase in World Cup history, pursuing a massive target of 328 runs. England had set a formidable total, with Jonathan Trott (92 runs), Ian Bell (81 runs) and Kevin Pietersen (59 runs) leading the charge. However, Ireland’s John Mooney was the standout bowler, taking four wickets for 63 runs.
Ireland’s chase started poorly as they stumbled to 111-5 in the 25th over. Then came the unforgettable heroics of Kevin O’Brien, who smashed a blistering 113 runs from just 63 balls, including 13 fours and six sixes. O’Brien’s century in a mere 50 balls remains the fastest in World Cup history. Supported by Alex Cusack (47 runs) and John Mooney (33 not out), Ireland pulled off an incredible victory with just five balls to spare, forever etching their name in cricket history.
Bangladesh vs West Indies (2019 World Cup) – 322 runs
In the 2019 World Cup, Bangladesh pulled off a remarkable run chase against the West Indies in Taunton. Bangladesh captain, Mashrafe Mortaza, chose to bowl first after winning the toss, but the decision didn’t pay off as the West Indies compiled a formidable total of 321-8. Three West Indian batsmen made significant contributions to their innings, with Shai Hope being the main protagonist, scoring an impressive 96 runs. Evin Lewis added 70, and Shimron Hetmyer’s explosive 50 off just 26 balls bolstered their total.
However, Bangladesh hit their target in just 41.3 overs, carving their names in cricketing annals. The partnership between Tamim Iqbal and Soumya Sarkar, who put up 52 runs for the first wicket, laid a solid foundation. Then, later in the innings, Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das took charge, forging an unbeaten partnership worth 189 runs to secure victory. Shakib remained unbeaten with an impressive 124 runs, while Litton (94 not out) narrowly missed out on a well-deserved century by six runs.
Bangladesh vs Scotland (2015 World Cup) – 319 runs
Bangladesh again, and the first of two entries from the tournament hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2015. This game against Scotland was the Tigers’ highest successful run chase in World Cup history at the time. Their captain, Mashrafe Mortaza, decided to bowl first after winning the toss but Scotland responded impressively, posting a strong total of 318-8, with opener Kyle Coetzer delivering a standout performance by scoring his first ever century in a World Cup match.
In their pursuit of a challenging target of 319 runs, Bangladesh showcased their batting prowess, successfully reaching the target with 11 balls to spare. Opener Tamim Iqbal played a pivotal role, contributing significantly with 95 runs, providing a solid foundation for Bangladesh’s triumphant chase. Following Tamim’s contribution, three more Bangladesh batsmen – Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan – all scored critical half-centuries. Coetzer’s exceptional innings of 156 runs off 134 balls earned him the Player of the Match award, although it couldn’t secure victory for Scotland.
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe (1992 World Cup) – 313 runs
On February 23, 1992, a cricketing revolution began as Sri Lanka achieved a historic milestone in One Day Internationals. In a World Cup match against Zimbabwe at Pukekura Park, Australia, Sri Lanka became the first team to successfully chase down a 300-plus total in ODIs. Skipper Aravinda de Silva’s decision to put Zimbabwe in to bat caused worry in the Lions camp with Zimbabwe posting a formidable 312-4 in 50 overs. Andy Flower’s brilliant unbeaten century (115) and a scintillating 83 from Andy Waller powered Zimbabwe’s total.
Sri Lanka’s chase began emphatically, with openers Roshan Mahanama (59) and Athula Samarasekera (75) providing a solid platform with a 128-run partnership. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Arjuna Ranatunga (88 not out) and a young Sanath Jayasuriya (32) guided Sri Lanka to victory. Their brisk partnership and Ranatunga’s late heroics ensured Sri Lanka won by three wickets with four balls to spare.
While Andy Flower earned the Player of the Match for his century, this match marked a turning point in ODI cricket, ushering in a new era of high-scoring chases and a change in the way the game was played. This was also the highest successful run chase in World Cup history at that point of time, and it was a record that stood for more than 19 years.
Sri Lanka vs England (2015 World Cup) – 310 runs
Sri Lanka earn a second mention in this list for outclassing England (a slightly less wanted second mention) by nine wickets in Wellington, New Zealand, at the 2015 World Cup. The target was a daunting 309 runs, but Sri Lanka displayed their batting prowess right from the start.
A 100-run opening partnership set the tone, with Kumar Sangakkara (117 not out) and Lahiru Thirimanne (139 not out) delivering a sensational unbeaten 212-run partnership. This remarkable performance not only made England’s James Anderson-led bowling attack appear ordinary but also established a record for the highest second-wicket partnership against England in World Cup history. Only Tillakaratne Dilshan (44) fell to England’s off-spinner Moeen Ali.
Despite earlier fielding lapses, Sri Lanka’s exceptional batting performance secured the victory. England had posted a competitive 309-6 in 50 overs, largely thanks to Joe Root’s century (121) and Jos Buttler’s quickfire 39 not out from 19 balls.
Teams to Have Participated in at Least One Cricket World Cup
Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Canada, East Africa, England, India, Ireland, Kenya, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, United Arab Emirates, Zimbabwe