The first men’s cricket World Cup was held in England in 1975, four years after the first recognised one-day international had been played in 1971, on the fifth day of a washed out test between Australia and England in Melbourne.
In the world of men’s ODI cricket, ICC World Cup is regarded as the premier tournament, witnessing participation as well as viewership from all across the globe. Its history dates back to the year 1975, when the inaugural tournament was played on England soil, with the participants being the six Test-playing nations at the time i.e. Australia, England, the West Indies, New Zealand, India, and Pakistan, along with Sri Lanka and a composite team from East Africa. The first three events of the competition were held in England and officially known as the Prudential Cup, after the sponsor – Prudential plc.
The first World Cup, A. K. A. the Prudential Cup Trophy, had matches of 60 overs per innings, with each over comprising of 6 balls. The tournament comprised of daytime matches, played in the traditional form, and was won by West Indies (who defeated Australia in the finals). The Second World Cup saw the introduction of ICC Trophy, held for the purpose of selecting non-Test playing teams for the World Cup. In the first ICC Trophy, Sri Lanka and Canada emerged as the winners. However, the World Cup went, once again, to the West Indies team, who won the final match after defeating the hosts i.e. England.
Fine weather blessed the first global one-day tournament culminating in an unforgettable final between West Indies and Australia at Lord’s. Striking the ball with relaxed brutality, West Indies’ captain Clive Lloyd tamed an attack headed by the pace and fury of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson to score 102 from 85 balls.
He was ably assisted by the 39-year-old Rohan Kanhai, a late replacement for his injured contemporary Garfield Sobers. Kanhai contributed 55 to West Indies’ 291 for eight from their 60 overs.
Australia captain Ian Chappell led a spirited reply with 62 before he fell victim to one of three runouts effected by the electric reflexes of Viv Richards. Lillee and Thomson added 41 for the final wicket before Australia were finally dismissed for 274 at twilight on the longest day of the year.
In a meeting following the Second ODI World Cup, the International Cricket Conference decided to make the competition a quadrennial event i.e. an event that would be held only once in four years.
Peace was brokered with Australian entrepreneur Kerry Packer, whose rebel World Series had split world cricket, shortly before the second World Cup. Australia still chose not to select any of the players who had signed for Packer but West Indies did and a team who were to rule world cricket throughout the next decade demolished England in the final.
Richards, then the world’s number one batsman, stroked an imperious 138 and Collis King struck a whirlwind 86. Although England captain Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott put on 129 for the first wicket, they took up 38 of the 60 overs. After their dismissals, the giant Joel Garner ran through the middle order with a series of unplayable yorkers to take five wickets in 11 balls and give his team victory by 92 runs.
So, the next tournament was held in 1983, hosted by England and won by the Indian team (after defeating the previous champions – West Indies – in the final match). It was in this World Cup only that the fielding circle was introduced, 30 yards (27 m) away from the stumps, in which four fieldsmen had to be present at all times.
Richards seemed intent on winning the final against underdogs India on his own after West Indies had been set a modest 184 to win. He struck seven boundaries in his 33 from 28 balls before top-edging a hook which India captain Kapil Dev, running away from the pitch towards the boundary at mid-wicket, coolly collected.
West Indies imploded thereafter, with India recording a famous 43-run victory which was to have profound implications at home where one-day cricket quickly superseded the test game as the most popular form of the sport.
1987, India and Pakistan
The fourth ICC Cricket World Cup was held in 1987, with India and Pakistan playing the hosts. The tournament saw two new occurrences first, it was the first time that the matches were played outside England and second, the overs were reduced from 60 to 50 per innings. The Australian team won this time, defeating England by 7 runs in the final (this is, till now, the closest margin in World Cup final history).
England appeared to be cruising to victory in the final against Australia at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens when Mike Gatting tried a reverse sweep off opposing captain Allan Border’s first delivery and lobbed a simple catch.
1992, Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand hosted the fifth World Cup, in which Pakistan emerged as the winner, after defeating England. This tournament also saw the introduction of colored clothing, white balls and day/night matches, along with a change in the fielding restrictions.
Famously urged by their captain Imran Khan to “fight like cornered tigers,” Pakistan rebounded from imminent elimination in the opening round to defeat England in the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Imran, the greatest player to emerge from Pakistan, scored 72 batting at number three in his final match for his country. He also took the final wicket after his protege Wasim Akram had blown away Ian Botham, Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis.
The Indian subcontinent once again became the host of World Cup in 1996, when the matches were played in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The final match was played in Lahore and saw Sri Lanka emerging as the winner, defeating Australia by seven wickets.
Sri Lanka, with the explosive Sananth Jayasuriya at the top of the order and Muttiah Muralitharan bewitching opposing batsmen with his prodigious powers of spin, proved worthy champions.
The Sri Lankans had demonstrated before the tournament that they could chase down totals previously thought beyond reach and they exploited the fielding restrictions at the start of the innings by attacking from the first ball.
Aravinda da Silva, their most accomplished batsman, scored an assured unbeaten century in the seven-wicket win over Australia in the final in Lahore.
The next tournament was organized, once again, in England, with some matches also being held in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Netherlands. The final match, played between Australia and Pakistan, saw the former claiming its second win. Australia made no contest of the final against Pakistan, taking barely 4-1/2 hours to overwhelm the 1992 champions.
Australia, the world’s best test side, were in danger of elimination in the group stages and again in the Super Six round where 120 not out from captain Steve Waugh, dropped on 56 by Herschelle Gibbs, ensured victory over South Africa.
Then, in a semi-final between the same teams, South Africa needed only one run with four balls remaining in the final over with their best one-day batsman Lance Klusner on strike. A panicky runout tied an epic match which put Australia through by virtue by beating South Africa in the previous round.
The eighth World Cup saw the number of participating teams increase to fourteen, from twelve; Kenya’s victories over Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe; and forfeiture by New Zealand (because of security reasons). The feat was repeated by Australia in the World Cup, held in 2003, when it beat India by 125 runs.
Australia’s new one-day captain Ricky Ponting struck eight sixes in his 140 not out in the final against India as his team scaled new heights with a relentless 125-run victory. The Australians became the first team to win three World Cups and took their unbeaten run in the tournament to 16.
2007, West Indies
The ninth ODI World Cup was hosted by the West Indies. With this, it became the first such tournament to be hosted on all six populated continents. The competition saw a number of firsts. It was the first time Bangladesh progressed to the 2nd round and it was the first time Ireland played in the World Cup (and even went ahead to the main ODI table). The tournament was won by Australia, registering its fourth win (defeating Sri Lanka in the final match).
Adam Gilchrist bettered Ponting’s record tally in a final with a typically audacious 149. Two other Australian giants, Matthew Hayden and Glenn McGrath, were the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker respectively.
The tournament was overshadowed by the death of popular Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer at the age of 58 in his hotel room in Jamaica after his team had unexpectedly lost to Ireland. Police launched a murder investigation which led nowhere and a jury later returned an open verdict.
2011, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
The 10th ICC Cricket World Cup was hosted by India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. 2011 WC was won by India who defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets. India became the first nation to win a world cup final on home soil.
Mahela Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 103 in Sri Lanka’s challenging 274-6 but India recovered from a slow start to win by six wickets with 10 balls to spare with Gautam Gambhir making 97 and India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni an unbeaten 91.
Pakistan were also selected as one of four co-hosts but were stripped of their matches because of security fears following the attack on the touring Sri Lankan team in 2009.
2015, Australia and New Zealand
The 2015 Cricket World Cup is the 11th Cricket World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015. Fourteen teams have played 49 matches in 14 venues. The final match of the tournament took placeed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between co-hosts New Zealand and Australia with Australia winning by 7 wickets.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptil (547) was the highest run scorer in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, while Australian seamer Mitchell Start Starc (22) and New Zealand’ pacer Trent Boult (22) leading wicket takers in the tournament.
|1.||1975||England||West Indies||Australia||07-Jun to 21-Jun|
|2.||1979||England||West Indies||England||09-Jun to 23-Jun|
|3.||1983||England||India||West Indies||09-Jun to 25-Jun|
|4.||1987||India, Pakistan||Australia||England||08-Oct to 08-Nov|
|5.||1992||Australia, New Zealand||Pakistan||England||22-Feb to 25-Mar|
|6.||1996||India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka||Sri Lanka||Australia||14-Feb to 17-Mar|
|7.||1999||England, Scotland, Ireland||Australia||Pakistan||14-May to 20-Jun|
|8.||2003||South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya||Australia||India||09-Feb to 23-Mar|
|9.||2007||West Indies||Australia||Sri Lanka||13-Mar to 28-Apr|
|10.||2011||India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh||India||Sri Lanka||10-Feb to 02-Apr-|
|11.||2015||Australia, New Zealand||Australia||New Zealand||14-Feb to 29-Mar|
|12.||2019||England||TBD||TBD||30-May to 15-Jul|