USA vs Pakistan: What are the five biggest upsets in T20 World Cup history?

After USA record a historic win over Pakistan, Al Jazeera lists the five major upsets in the tournament’s history.

usa vs pakistan
United States' Saurabh Netravalkar celebrates after his team's win against Pakistan at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, Texas, the US [Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo]

USA have pulled off one of the biggest upsets in cricket’s history by beating Pakistan in their T20 World Cup 2024 encounter in Dallas.

The win, which came in a super over after scores were tied after the regulation 20 overs, sent shockwaves through the cricket world and led many experts to believe that cricket may finally take off in the land of baseball.

Here are the top five upsets – in order of their shock value – in the 17-year history of the T20 World Cup:

1. USA beat Pakistan: 2024

The co-hosts had never played Pakistan in any format of the game before Thursday’s match. Ranked 12 places below the 2009 champions, the USA went into the match riding on the wave of their win over Canada in their opening match of the tournament. Pakistan entered the tournament on the back of a series loss against England.

Despite the contrasting forms, not many experts would have predicted a team of recently-turned-professional cricketers would turn the tables on one of cricket’s powerhouses.

USA’s squad comprises cricketers who played in India, Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa and New Zealand until a few years ago. The country’s cricket infrastructure is not among the best, and the World Cup is being staged in the United States by the International Cricket Council itself.

None of that had a say on the calm and professional demeanour of the team USA players as they pulled off the shock in Dallas to launch the biggest cricket party in the USA.

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Players of the United States celebrate after their win [Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo]

2. Netherlands beat England: 2009

The first – and only – T20 World Cup opened at the home of cricket at London’s Lord’s Cricket Ground with hosts England taking on so-called minnows, the Netherlands.

It all seemed to be going nicely for England when they posted a score of 163, which was considered well above par in the early days of T20 cricket, and the Netherlands lost their first wicket in the first over. However, the Dutch consolidated in the middle overs and a 60-run partnership between Tom de Grooth and Peter Borren brought them a famous victory under the grey evening sky at Lord’s.

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Edgar Schiferli of Netherlands, second right, celebrates winning the match after Stuart Broad missed the stumps during their ICC World Twenty20 Cup match at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London on June 5, 2009 [Ian Kington/AFP]

3. Nepal beat Afghanistan: 2014

Nepal were making their debut at the T20 World Cup and had already registered one win over Hong Kong. However, Afghanistan were a team on the rise with several squad members playing league cricket around the world.

The likes of Mohammad Shahzad, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi and Asghar Afghan were in the playing XI that was dismissed nine runs short of the target set by Paras Khadka’s Nepal.

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Nepalese cricketers celebrate after defeating Afghanistan by nine runs during their ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on March 20, 2014 [Bikas Das/AP Photo]

4. Namibia beat Sri Lanka: 2022

While Namibia had been around on the associate cricket circuit for many years, for them to beat the 2014 T20 champions and 1996 50-over World Cup winners was a mean feat.

The Africans posted a fighting total of 163 and then produced a stunning bowling display to rattle Sri Lanka. The island nation were dismissed for 108 in 19 overs to set off the celebrations for Namibia.

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Namibia’s and Sri Lanka’s players shake hands after their T20 World Cup match in Geelong, Australia [Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP Photo]

5. Afghanistan beat West Indies: 2016

West Indies went into the 2016 tournament as one of the favourites, with T20 stars Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Daren Sammy in their line-up.

Samuel Badree left their spin-bowling attack as they restricted Afghanistan to 123, but the Afghan spinners had plans of their own. Rashid Khan and Nabi took two wickets apiece to send the 2012 reeling as Afghanistan completed a famous six-wicket win.

The West Indies went on to lift the trophy a few days later, making Afghanistan’s feat all the more incredible.

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Afghanistan’s cricketers celebrate their win over West Indies in the ICC World Twenty20 2016 in Nagpur, India [File: Saurabh Das/AP Photo]
Source: Al Jazeera