Vaibhav Tripathi ∙ Updated: May 19 2023, 5:59 PM | 6 Min Read

Top Five Game Changing Moments in Cricket

image-lgwbjtt1Steve Waugh running after hitting the winnings run against South Africa. (Twitter)

Just like any other sport, cricket too requires its fair share of exceptional players and unforgettable moments to motivate and inspire the upcoming generation. In a game of cricket, certain instances have the power to drastically alter the momentum and add an enthralling twist to the match. A prime example of such a game-changing moment is a crucial catch that comes at the perfect timing. Over the years, we have witnessed some remarkable moments that have completely turned the tide of the game and acted as pivotal turning points.

Each year, cricket aficionados bear witness to incredible player performances and iconic moments that leave a permanent mark in the annals of cricketing history. There have been several such moments that have revolutionized the sport of cricket and will remain etched in our memories for years to come. While it may be a daunting task to narrow down the five most significant cricketing moments of the decade, we have endeavored to curate the finest compilation possible:

5) Herschelle Gibbs dropped the World Cup

The cricketing cricket has been graced with some of the most exhilarating contests, and the battles between Australia and South Africa have produced some of the most unforgettable moments. One such closely contested match saw the decisive impact of a dropped catch by Herschelle Gibbs. 

The stage was set for a crucial game, with South Africa setting a daunting target of 272 for Australia to chase. At 152-3 in 38 overs, the Australian skipper, Steve Waugh, was at the forefront, leading his team's charge with a commanding performance. Earlier in the match, Gibbs had been in top form, opening the innings for South Africa and smashing a magnificent century, propelling his team to a competitive total of 271. 

However, his moment of glory quickly turned to despair when he dropped a catch of a well-set Australian skipper, Steve Waugh, while attempting to celebrate, letting the ball slip from his grasp. The match took a dramatic turn, as Waugh capitalized on the reprieve, going on to score the highest number of runs in the match and leading his team to a thrilling victory in a nail-biting run-chase. 

The dropped catch by Gibbs proved to be a defining moment in the history of Australia-South Africa ODI encounters, etched in the memories of cricket fans worldwide.

4) Pollard outfoxed by Dhoni in the 2010 IPL final 

In a nail-biting IPL 2010 final at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai, MS Dhoni executed a masterful trap for Kieron Pollard, ultimately leading to Chennai Super Kings' victory. Facing off against the Mumbai Indians, led by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, CSK were defending a total of 168, with the pressure mounting as Mumbai Indians stumbled to 114/6 in the 17th over. Pollard, revered for his prowess as a fearsome finisher, was tasked with turning the game around for his team. 

In no time, he had already smashed 27 runs off just 9 balls and was on a roll. With only 27 runs needed off 7 balls in the 19th over, Dhoni made a strategic move by bringing the mid-off fielder straight and putting his trust in Albie Morkel to bowl the all-important over. 

 And the move paid off - Pollard hit the ball straight into the hands of the alert Matthew Hayden at mid-off, clinching the win for CSK. Dhoni's unorthodox field placement drew widespread praise for its brilliance, as it prevented Pollard from pulling off another one of his miraculous last-over comebacks and stealing the game away from CSK.

3) Hardik Pandya's brilliance in the last over

In a thrilling ICC World T20 match, the fate of the game hung on the shoulders of Hardik Pandya, who was entrusted by the great MS Dhoni to prevent Bangladesh from scoring 11 runs in 6 balls. The tension was palpable as Mahmudullah and Mushfiqur Rahim, two experienced Bangladeshi batsmen, stepped up to the crease. Despite the pressure, Pandya showed nerves of steel and dismissed both batsmen in quick succession, leaving Bangladesh with only 2 runs to win off the last 3 balls. 

As the crowd held its breath, Pandya bowled a wide delivery, but his skillful maneuvering caused Shuvagata Hom's bat to miss, and India's victory was all but sealed. However, the drama was not yet over as Mustafizur Rahman attempted a desperate bye, only to be run out by the quick-thinking Dhoni behind the stumps, securing India's one-run win. 

Pandya's masterful performance and Dhoni's impeccable decision-making led India to a historic triumph in a match that will be remembered for years to come. 

Before this over, Pandya had a forgettable outing but his two wickets in the final over coupled with Dhoni's brilliance behind the wicket allowed India to complete one of the most memorable victories of all time.

2) Kapil Dev caught the World Cup

The Indian cricket team accomplished a historic feat by securing their first-ever Cricket World Cup title against all odds, defeating West Indies by 43 runs in the finals at the legendary Lord's Stadium. The West Indies won the toss and chose to bat first, limiting India to only 183 runs in 54.4 overs during the summit clash. 

India faced a daunting task defending their moderate total against a formidable West Indies batting line-up. The match looked to be slipping out of India's grasp when the legendary Viv Richards was motoring along nicely with 33 runs off 27 balls, confidently taking the game away from Kapil Dev's underdogs. 

However, Kapil Dev's stunning catch at short midwicket, running backward with his eyes on the ball and taking it with a spectacular leap, proved to be the game-changing moment. West Indies could not recover, and eight wickets fell for the next 83 runs, resulting in India securing their maiden World Cup title and toppling the Caribbean Empire. The momentous victory forever etched India's name in cricketing history.

1) Dhoni's masterstroke in 2011 final

The words "Dhoni... Finishes off in style!" have been forever etched in the hearts and minds of every Indian. Ravi Shastri, who is a renowned commentator, rekindled the excitement of that commentary during the World Cup final, when MS Dhoni hammered the winning six, turning it into a decade-long memory that holds immense emotional significance. 

After a hiatus of 28 years, India won the World Cup, and the captain himself, MS Dhoni, who scored an unbeaten 91 runs off 79 deliveries, was bestowed with the coveted Man of the Match award. His scintillating six at the Wankhede Stadium not only sealed the triumph but also clinched the country's second ODI world cup title, leaving a lasting impression on the world of cricket. 

Despite struggling with his form during the ICC event, Dhoni's bold move to promote himself ahead of the in-form Yuvraj Singh in the World Cup 2011 final, is now celebrated as one of the most famous and courageous decisions in the history of the game. 

Dhoni's remarkable skills were on full display during the high-pressure situation, and he executed the match-winning shot with precision and confidence, cementing his status as a true champion. This move of Master Dhoni deserves the top spot on our list.