As we celebrate the maiden anniversary of the 12th edition of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which was scheduled from May 30 – July 14, a brief outlook on the previous editions would give us a clear picture of what is different & unique in the history of the tournament & the sport.
The origin of the Cricket World Cup can be traced back to the year 1975 (June 7) when the 1st ever edition was organized.
The governing body of the cricket was founded in 1909 by representatives from England, Australia & South Africa which was named “International Cricket Council” (ICC) which was renamed as “International Cricket Conference” in 1965 but later regained its original name back in 1989.
Initially, only 3 test playing nations (founders) were the part of full member nations in the council which later doubled as Westindies, Newzealand & India earned the status of test playing countries in 1926. Gradually, the game started picking pace & gaining popularity in other parts of the world. After the partition of independent India, newly formed Pakistan was granted the test status in 1952 increasing the count to seven.
1975 Cricket World Cup
International Cricket Council (ICC) organized the first major limited overs format looking at the success of the game in the various countries. It was officially known as the Prudential Cup,1975 which was held from June 7-21,1975 in England with the finals scheduled to be played at the historic ground of Lords in London.
Though the concept of limited-overs cricket was raw, a total of 18 matches were contested between the test playing nations. Sri Lanka & East Africa made their appearance in the maiden edition of the World Cup on the basis of invitational format conducted by ICC.
It was a round-robin competition wherein 2 groups were formed among the participating nations among which they were divided equally in each of the groups competing with their rivalling counterparts in order to progress in the tournament.
Group A comprised of England, NZ, India & East Africa whereas Group B had likes of Australia, Westindies, Pakistan & Srilanka. 4 matches were conducted on each of days of June 7,11 & 14 (2 from each group).
The semi-finalists were to be decided based on the points each team had. The winning team of a match was credited with 4 points at the end of the game. The structure of the tournament was designed as such that the top 2 teams from each group after their preliminary stages progressed to the knockout stages where the topper of Group A challenged the team finishing second in other groups for a spot in the finals of the tournament.
Australia reached the finals of the 1st Cricket World Cup following a low scoring thriller against England. Westindies defeated Newzealand to earn a place in the finals.
Clive Lloyd-led WI team emerged as the World Champions of the inaugural edition of the WC, thus leaving behind both powerhouses of the cricketing world.
1979 Cricket World Cup
Post the success of the 1st edition of the World Cup, the venue remained unchanged for the next major 60 over tournament of Cricket. Qualifying tournaments were been held by ICC known as the ICC Trophy wherein the 2 finalist teams got a golden chance to represent their nation in the 2nd edition of Cricket World Cup hosted by England.
Apart from the 6 full member nations who gained direct qualification, Srilanka & Canada gained the ticket to the 1979 World Cup post their performance in the 1979 ICC Trophy. 13 other nations participated in the ICC Trophy among which notable were Bangladesh, Argentina, PNG, Singapore, East Africa, Denmark, Canada, USA, Wales & Netherlands. Srilanka emerging victorious in the tournament found a place in the WC alongside runners-up Canada. East Africa failed to qualify though after their appearance in the maiden WC of 1975.
England, NZ, Pakistan & WI grabbed the semi-finals spot post their performance in their respective group stages. England & Westindies were yet again dominant throughout the tournament by remaining undefeated. Vivian Richards through his blistering powerful unbeated knock of 138 was enough for the Caribbean side to sail towards their second continuous victory in the finals of the WC.
Nine ducks in World Cup finals
Amidst Vivian Richards’ destructive century, three West Indies batsmen failed to open their accounts in the 1979 final at Lord’s. The Caribbean tail-enders — Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, and Michael Holding — were dismissed for a duck while the fourth of the pace quartet, Colin Croft failed to score any run from the two deliveries, remaining not out.
After their embarrassing outing with the bat, the quartet struck hard with the ball, dismissing five England batsmen without troubling the scorers. David Gower, Wayne Larkins, Chris Old, Bob Taylor and Mike Hendrick were out without scoring a single run to increase the overall tally of batsmen with a duck in the final to nine!
Westindies dominated the hosts in the final & won the historic finals by a margin of 92 runs with Joel Garner grabbing 5 English batsmen.
On June 23, 1979; Clive Lloyd lifted the World Cup trophy again on the historic balcony of Lords thereby extending the dominance of West Indian cricket over the World.
1983 World Cup – End of domination & a new emergence in World Cricket
Zimbabwe made their maiden appearance in the 3rd edition of the 60 over tournament after being crowned as the champions of the 2nd ICC Trophy hosted by England in 1982. Srilanka had been awarded the Test status by ICC which meant automatic qualification for the World Cup.
A total of 16 nations participated in the 1982 ICC trophy which marked the roadmap for the World Cup,1983 to be hosted by England for 3rd consecutive time. Zimbabwe emerged victorious which meant they booked their berth alongside 7 other participating nations in the WC.
Westindies were the hot favourites to lift the trophy for the 3rd consecutive time & create a unique record before the start of the tournament. The title holders faced their first ever defeat in the history of the tournament when they their group match against Kapil Dev led side Indian team at Old Trafford,Manchester. Other teams being Zimbabwe & Australia in the group failed to qualify for the semifinals managing 1 & 2 wins respectively in their group stages.
After their win against former 2 times World Cup Champions, the morale of the Kapil Dev led Indian side was boosted as they defeated the hosts in the semifinals at Old Trafford. Defeating the home side at their backyard in the biggest tournament of cricket was itself a huge victory.
On 25th June,1983 at the historic ground of Lords, Westindies faced the pressure of defending their title against the underdogs India. Westindies seemed confident of their 3rd WC title as they had previously defeated India in the group stages. The odds were against India in the high intensity finals.
In the finals, India lost the toss and were asked to face the deadly bowling attack probably from the World’s best bowling attack. India managed to put a meagre total of 183 on scorecard which was a cakewalk for the WI team having likes of Viv Richards & Clive Lloyds.
Madan Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny alongside captain Kapil Dev demonstrated a brilliant allround performance in the other department after the batting lineup had failed miserably on the night of finals.
India cleaned up the WI innings for 140 showcasing that the game of cricket doesn’t rely only on batting partnerships but deadly bowling can win important matches too. Kapil Dev took the lone wicket of Andy Roberts in form of LBW which saw a new World Cup champion in form of India.
1987 World Cup Maiden tournament outside England
For sponsorship reasons (popularly known as the Reliance Cup) and held in the subcontinent, the story of the 1987 Cricket World Cup unfold.
Be it – Kolkata’s Eden Garden witnessing a closely fought encounter between arch-rivals- Australia & England or the last time the teams appearing in traditional white clothing.
The 4th edition proved that with the advancement in time, not only the tournament was crossing the boundaries, but also the hands on the coveted trophy were being changed. India & Pakistan finished atop in their respective groups, but unfortunately succumbed to defeat by hands of England & Australia in the SF played at Bombay & Lahore respectively (home grounds).
The finals witnessed the Ashes rivals appearing in their 2nd finals of the tournament from previous 3 editions with Australia & England, both losing once to the Westindies in 1975 & 1979 respectively. A record 95,000 crowd gathered at the Eden witnessed the closest winning margin ever in the Finals as Allan Border led Australia defended 17 runs in the last over to win 1st trophy of its kind in their cabinet.
1992 Benson & Hedges World Cup – A colourful debut in the sub-oceanic continent
The southern hemisphere witnessed the very first kind of colourful mega tournament. The coloured jersey could be tracked down to back in 1978, when Westindies XI took on WSC Australia XI for first ever day-night match, but 1992 edition of the World Cup was the first edition to feature that change.
It began in the early quarter of the year. Below par performances from the previous winners including Westindies, India & Australia paved a smooth sail for the Imran Khan led Pakistan to the finals & eventually becoming the World Champions. It was during this time that “Big hitters” started to make a mark among the strong bowling line-up.
From Pakistan’s perspective, slice of luck & favouring of statistics which included most wickets (18) by Wasim Akram , most number of centuries (3) out of total 8 scored by Pakistani players & 5 half centuries scored by Javed Miandad which was a record by itself transformed the deep-driven ragged Pakistan team emerged into World Champions.
On March 25 at Melbourne- the Men in green surpassed the English challenge owing to an all-round performance by Wasim Akram (33* & 3/49) & Imran Khan (72) which played a crucial role in setting & defending a target of 250 in the finals.
1996 Wills World Cup – Unfancied Lankans took the world by storm fighting against odds
The process began sooner than later for the Islandic nation in June 1995, as the management & players underwent some major transition. It is during this time- Dave Whatmore (known for his longer coaching career than his playing days), Duleep Mendis (long-term manager during the time frame) formed the team’s core management committee.
Above all, he is been remembered for the Sri Lankans having won their maiden & only WC triumph in the history of the Cricket WC. Under the captaincy of Arjuna Ranatunga, SL had a dream start to their campaign with the initial 2 encounters against Australia & Westindies being won by a walkover at the R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo.
Their first real test was confronted against England in the Quarter Finals. A fluke win against India & free points in the remaining encounter had paved their way to the knock-out stages. England, too were unable to perform against the expectations as the 2 victories in the group stage for them came against minnows- UAE & Netherlands. 2 spots from the sub-continent were cemented in the SF stage as the other QF was between the arch rivals- India & Pakistan in Benglauru.
Though defeating England comfortably with help of thunderous knock by Sanath Jayasuriya 82(44) paved their way to the SF, a rioting crowd at the Eden Gardens by Indian fans as a result of which match referee, Clive Lloyd favouring the result in favour of Ranatunga’s men eased their final marching against Australia at the Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore.
As expected, the atmosphere at the stadium saw the Lankan flags flying higher. Australia with a thunderous start at 136/1 in the middle of their innings, en route to somewhere 300 fall prey to Aravind De Silva heroics on the field as the right-hander was involved in the dismisals of 5 Aussie players including 3 wickets & 2 catches. As a result, Australia slogged to 170/5.
Despite the slump in the middle; a target of 242 was being set for the SL batsmen. In-form batsmen- Sanath fell cheaply along with his opening partner Kaluwitharana as the scorecard read 23/2. The middle-order trio of Gurusinha- Aravind de Silva- Arjuna Ranatunga held on to their nerves as SL were rock solid ahead for the run-chase. The latter two finished the run chase comfortably as a new chapter in the history of the World Cup was being added- “Sri Lanka – World Champions”