Cricket World Cup Winners 1975-2015
The six-week long 2019 World Cup comes to its conclusion with a showpiece final at Lord’s today between the host England and New Zealand.
One thing is for certain, the world of cricket shall have a new limited-overs champion for neither team have previously worn the crown of World Cup winners.
Astonishingly England, the favourites, have not reached the World Cup final since 1992 and today has a great chance to create history, in front of the home crowd. Captain Eoin Morgan, a key figure behind the team’s revival, buoyant after a commanding 8-wicket win against Australia in Birmingham, is determined to put behind the nightmare of the 2015 tournament. On the other hand, its rivals New Zealand, led admirably by Kane Williamson thus far, are more than capable to cause an upset.
Originally pencilled in to be played a year before, the inaugural World Cup, sponsored by Prudential, held in the glorious English summer of 1975, was a great success. Having overcome a strong Pakistan challenge in the round match in Birmingham, West Indies, led by Clive Lloyd became the first World Cup winners, with a 5-wicket win in the semi-final against New Zealand and then beating Australia by 17 runs, in a classic final at Lord’s.
Both England and Australia, two major limited-overs teams, had gone into the 1979 Prudential World Cup, without their Kerry Packer WSC players. Four years on from its initial success, West Indies were even stronger line-up and having beating Pakistan by 43 runs in the semi-final at The Oval, three days later, as expected, beat England by 92 runs, in the final at Lord’s.
The all-conquering Clive Lloyd-led West Indies team were on the verge of a hat-trick of World Cups when India, against heavy odds defended its small total of 183 to win by 43 runs in the 1983 final at Lord’s. It was an incredible day for the Indian cricket for previously it had not shown much appetite for one-day cricket and now had beaten West Indies side that had enough quality to rule the world for many years to come. In the semi-final in Manchester, India had beaten host England by 6 wickets, again against great odds. The world of cricket was certainly turned upside down.
In the first World Cup to be held outside England and with neutral umpires, the unfancied Australian team, led by Allan Border, became the new limited-overs champions. In the final at Calcutta it beat arch rival England by 7 runs, in a thrilling game of cricket, having earlier stunned Pakistan in the semi-final at Lahore. India and Pakistan, the two co-hosts of 1987 Reliance World Cup, could not have asked for a more exciting tournament, now played on 50-over, as opposed to first three in England that were 60-overs per innings.
Pakistan, led by its charismatic all-rounder Imran Khan, were the winners of the 1992 Benson & Hedges World Cup, jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. After a wretched start to its campaign, Pakistan, inspired by the ‘cornered tiger’; theme became the world leader by beating England by 22 runs in the final at Melbourne. In the semi-final at Auckland, it had gained a 4 wicket win against New Zealand, in a narrow finish. The single-league format was adopted for the first time in the World Cup and so were the day-night format, colour clothing, black sight screens and white balls.
The 1996 Wills World Cup, co-hosted by three sub-continental countries – India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was the last such tournament to carry a sponsors’ name. With hardly any success in the previous five World Cups and having only recently found its feet in limited-overs format, Sri Lanka, against great odds beat strong favourites Australia in the final at Lahore by 7 wickets. The leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga and the pinch hitting of openers – Sanath Jayasuiya and Romesh Kaluwitharana - were the key features of islanders’ great success. All the more surprising for the title was still elusive for the likes of England, South Africa and New Zealand.
The World Cup returned to England in 1999, after a lapse of 16 years. Surprisingly Australia did not have a great start and it came to a stage where every game became a must-win. A tied semi-final against South Africa at Birmingham, was a heart-stopper. Steve Waugh’s captaincy under pressure saw the Australians peak at the right time as it were rewarded with the most one-sided final in the World Cup history. Its opponents Pakistan could not stop the yellow shirts to romp home by 8 wickets with almost 30 overs to spare.
The defending champions Australia left no one in any doubt about its superiority in world cricket by staying undefeated in the entire tournament, jointly hosted by South Africa and Zimbabwe. The 2003 ICC World Cup, first to be staged in Africa, was jointly hosted by South Africa and Zimbabwe. Led superbly and aggressively by its star batsman Ricky Ponting, Australia were too good for Sri Lanka in the semi-final at Port Elizabeth and beat India convincingly in the final by 135 runs at Johannesburg.
In the 2007 ICC event, Australia became the first team to achieve the World Cup hat-trick and in doing so it also remained undefeated in the tournament, for the second time running. The dynamic leadership of Ricky Ponting and the presence of two all-time greats - Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist - held the key to Australia’s domination in the tournament. After beating South Africa by 7 wickets in the semi-final at Gros Islet, it won the 38-over final against Sri Lanka by 53 runs at Bridgetown.
The 28-year wait was over for India when its captain M.S.Dhoni smashed a six over long-on to seal a six-wicket win against Sri Lanka at Mumbai. The 2011 ICC World Cup was jointly hosted by Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. It was the first case of a host team winning the World Cup. India in its semi-final had beaten arch-rival Pakistan at Mohali. It was worthy winners of the title and accorded a great send-off to master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, appearing in a record-equalling sixth World Cup.
The final of the 2015 World Cup played between the two co-hosts failed to live up to the expectations as Australia beat New Zealand by 7 wickets at Melbourne. Its captain, Michael Clarke, signed off his ODI career in style by picking up the trophy. In the semi-final at Sydney, Australia had beaten the defending champions India by 95 runs and delighted its supporters to win the World Cup for the fifth time.
©Cricket World 2019