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Cricket Match Predictions: When a chicken farmer proved too good for England at 1992 World Cup

England's Neil Fairbrother

In our new feature series - Who would have predicted that? – we are looking back at matches where there were big upsets or extraordinary individual performances that turned matches on their head.


What first looked like a dead rubber turned out to be thorough entertainer. A nine-run win for Zimbabwe against England in the 1992 Benson Hedges World Cup helped them get Test status just three months later.


It was the last league game of the tournament for both England and Zimbabwe. England had already qualified for the semis, winning five games apart from losing their last match against New Zealand by seven wickets. Zimbabwe, on the contrary, were yet to open their account after seven games and it looked like the associates would return home without any cheers.


Match Summary


Zimbabwe 134(46.1 Overs) - Iain Butchart 24 (36), Dave Houghton 29 (74);  Ian Botham 3/23 (10), Richard Illingworth 3/33 (9.1)


England 125(49.1 Overs) - Neil Fairbrother 20 (77), Alec Stewart 29 (96); Eddo Brandes 4/21 (10), Ali Shah 2/17 (10)


Result - Zimbabwe won by 9 runs


Put in to bat by England on an Albury pitch that kept low and had variable bounce, Zimbabwe collapsed for just 134, with Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth proving too good for them. The Zimbabwe batsmen tried big shots one after the other but to no avail. Dave Houghton and Iain Butchart were their only two players who reached the 20s. 


Understandably, an annoyed Geoffrey Boycott gave an earful to to a distraught Dave Houghton, Zimbabwe's captain, at the lunch break. "This is the problem with you amateur sides, you don't know how to just rotate the strike and take singles. You watch the professionals come out of the lunch. They'll just knock the ball into the gaps and run their ones and twos and win this game easily."


Fall of wickets: 1-12 (Andy Flower), 2-19 (Andy Pycroft), 3-30 (Wayne James), 4-52 (Kevin Arnott), 5-65 (Andy Waller), 6-77 (Ali Shah), 7-96 (Dave Houghton), 8-127 (Iain Butchart), 9-127 (Eddo Brandes), 10-134 (Malcolm Jarvis)


England were pretty relaxed coming Ito the easy chase. Perhaps, they turned off the switch far too early. On top of that, they ran into a chicken farmer, Eddo Brandes, raring to go. He dismissed Graham Gooch off the first ball of the innings and then rocked their middle order by getting Alan Lamb, Robin Smith and Graeme Hick.


Though Neil Fairbrother and Alec Stewart tried to post a recovery, Ali Shah got the prized wicket of Stewart, breaking the 52-run stand, and Iain Butchart got two more. The Zimbabwe bowlers ultimately bowled them out, 10 runs short of the target. Brandes walked away with the man of the match award as England could manage only 125.


Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Graham Gooch), 2-32 (Allan Lamb), 3-42 (Ian Botham), 4-42 (Robin Smith), 5-43 (Graeme Hick), 6-95 (Alec Stewart), 7-101 (Phil DeFreitas), 8-108 (Neil Fairbrother), 9-124 (Richard Illingworth), 10-125 (Gladstone Small)


Zimbabwe got Test status just three months after this inspired win.




England - Graham Gooch (c), Ian Botham, Allan Lamb, Robin Smith, Graeme Hick, Neil Fairbrother, Alec Stewart (wk), Phil DeFreitas, Richard Illingworth, Gladstone Small, Phil Tufnell


Zimbabwe - Wayne James, Andy Flower (wk), Andy Pycroft, Kevin Arnott, Dave Houghton (c), Andy Waller, Ali Shah, Iain Butchart, Eddo Brandes, John Traicos, Malcolm Jarvis


Match Details


Match: England v Zimbabwe, 35th Match, Benson Hedges World Cup, 1992

Date: Wednesday, March 18, 1992

Toss: England won the toss and opt to bowl

Venue: Lavington Sports Oval, Albury 

Umpires: Brian Aldridge, Khizer Hayat


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