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The first ever World Cup – called the Prudential Cup – was held in England and won by the West Indies. Led by Clive Lloyd and boasting the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Rohan Kanhai and a young Vivian Richards – the men from the Caribbean brooked no opposition in their march towards world glory. Lloyd himself caned 102 off 85 balls in the final against Australia while Richards effected three run-outs as the Windies beat the Aussies by 17 runs to lift the trophy.


Clive Lloyd’s men retained the title of world champions with an even more imperious display in the second edition. Both Australia and Pakistan had come close to beating them in 1975. This time, no quarter was given – especially by the pace-bowling quartet of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Colin Croft. On the batting front Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Alvin Kallicharran and Lloyd struck fear into the heart of the opposition. However, Collis King and Viv Richards stole the show with a violent 139-run partnership against England in the final as the Windies posted 286 in their 60 overs. England were ripped apart by Joel Garner – who took five wickets for 38 runs – and fell short by 92 runs.


Having won only one game in the previous two world cups, India were rank outsiders in the third one. However, led by the legendary Kapil Dev, the unheralded Indians stormed into the final – even beating West Indies in the process. They met the two-time defending champions again in the summit clash and were dismissed for a mere 183. Not even the most one-eyed Indian supporter would have given his side a chance but India’s medium-pacers tore into the feared Windies line-up. Lloyd’s men were reduced to 66 for five; Kapil accounting for Richards with a catch that has now become part of Indian cricket’s folklore. Mohinder Amarnath applied the finishing touches and when he dismissed Michael Holding with the score on 140 – the Indians had sealed one of the most unlikely victories of all-time.


Bobby Simpson and Allan Border put together a gritty Aussie outfit that defied expectations to win the first world cup held outside England. On home soil, India and Pakistan were the favourites but lost to England and Australia respectively in the semi-finals. Batting first in the final – Australia put up 253 in 50 overs – with David Boon’s sedate 75 laying the foundation and Mike Veletta’s quick-fire 45 adding the flourish. England looked well in control until Mike Gatting’s reverse-sweep – perhaps the most reviled shot in English cricket history – led to their chase being derailed. Ultimately, they fell short by 7 runs as Australia took over the mantle of world champions.


Pakistan shocked all by winning the Benson & Hedges World Cup in Australia. The shock was not because the team wasn’t considered good enough but because they had been on the verge of being knocked out in the group stages. Dismissed for 74 against England, Imran Khan’s men looked destined for defeat until rain led to the match being abandoned. They managed to qualify for the last four on the back of three successive group wins before an Inzamam-ul-Haq hurricane (66 off 37 balls) helped them beat New Zealand in the semi-finals. The two old hands – Imran and Javed Miandad then helped the side post 249 in the final against England before a superb bowling attack (containing Wasim Akram, Aqib Javed, Imran and Mushtaq Ahmed) condemned the English to their third World Cup final defeat. Imran’s tigers had conquered the world.


The world cup returned to the sub-continent and Sri Lanka made history by becoming the only host nation to win the cricket’s most prestigious trophy. The Lankans were the dark horses for the tournament but gave notice of their title credentials by destroying India in a group game in New Delhi. In Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumara Dharmasena, they had spinners perfectly suited to the slow sub-continental surface. But the real sting was in the batting. Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana habitually destroyed bowlers before the likes of Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama and Aravinda de Silva put on the squeeze. De Silva, in particular, was simply sensational in this tournament – his silky batting and flighted off-spinners grabbing the headlines. “Mad Max” saved his best for the last though – taking three wickets in the final against Australia before putting the game to bed with a chanceless century to take his side to the title. Sri Lanka had arrived on the world stage in a big way.


The return of the world cup to England also signaled the beginning of Australia’s stranglehold on the trophy. Through the 90s, the men from Down Under had been going from strength to strength. By the end of the decade their hegemony had begun to resemble that of the Windies in the 80s. There were still teams who could challenge them though – none more so than South Africa. Between them the teams served up two great games. First Steve Waugh’s “you’ve dropped the world cup son” innings helped the Aussies into the semis – where the two outfits played out a tie – and perhaps the greatest one-day international of all time. Australia progressed into the final by dint of a superior run-rate. At Lord’s – the scene of so many great cricket moments – the men in baggy green, led by Shane Warne knocked Pakistan over for 132 and cantered to an eight-wicket win – the first of three successive trophies.


Australia left the rest of the cricket world trailing in their wake with an unbeaten run that culminated in a 125-run thrashing of India in the final. If 1999 had been a back-to-the-wall victory, 2003 was a majestic march to glory for the Aussies. In Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Michael Bevan, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, they had players at the top of their game. It was little surprise then that they cast a colossal shadow over the rest of the opposition. Messrs Ponting and Martyn put on a magnificent 234-run unbeaten partnership as Australia all but sealed the title by setting India a target of 360 runs.

Indian hopes of regaining the title they had won two decades ago were smashed when McGrath accounted for Sachin Tendulkar in the first over of the innings. Virender Sehwag smacked 82 off 81 balls – but there was no way this Aussie juggernaut was going to be stopped. It was all yellow – once again.


Australia maintained their incredible world cup record with yet another unbeaten campaign – this time in the West Indies. They had retained the services of most of their 2003 heroes – who stepped up yet again when called upon. Glenn McGrath was man-of-the-series with the most wickets, Matthew Hayden scored the most runs while Adam Gilchrist put Ricky Ponting’s 2003 exploits in the shade. The opener struck 149 in 104 balls as the champions amassed 281 for four in a rain-curtailed 38 over final against Sri Lanka. The 1996 winners were never really in contention and fell 53 runs short of the target as darkness enveloped the Kensington Oval in Barbados. Australia had achieved an unprecedented hat-trick and scalped the third major sub-continental team in three finals.


Who will be the next ???

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One Response to “Cricket World cup history”

  1. amit ranjan May 22, 2011

    india wins this wc