World Cup Cricket Trophies Over the Years – Image source: Bingabonga1, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Cricket world cup takes place every 4 years similar to the football world cup. In the list of most-watched world cups, cricket ranks at number 3 just behind football and Tour de France. Interestingly, in the 2019 world cup, 2.6 billion viewers tuned in to watch the most popular cricket event of the year. This goes on to prove that cricket certainly is more popular than most people imagine it to be. The first-ever Cricket world cup dates back to 1975, which is less than 50 years ago. Since then there have been 12 cricket world cup winners.
Throughout the years the number of teams that participate in the world cup has had variations. On the contrary, after the 2015 world cup, the number has been set to 10. One Day International cricket is the variation in the cricket world cup. Another variation is the T20 cricket world cup with 20 overs instead of the regular 50.
Let’s take a look at the cricket world cup winners since 1975.
1975 Cricket world cup winners: West Indies
The first-ever cricket world cup was held in England which consisted of 8 teams: England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, West Indies, and East Africa. This world cup had 60 overs for an ODI which differs from the current standard of 50 overs.
These teams were divided up into two groups of 4 with each group playing only once against a team. Initially, from these two groups, the two top teams proceeded to the semi-finals. From group A the two teams were England and New Zealand which proceeded to play against group B. The teams in group B were Australia and West Indies with the latter being in the lead. Consequently, the final which took place in Lord’s held the West Indies victorious.
West Indies won by 17 runs with a score of 291-8. Australia could only manage to make 274 in 58.4 overs before the whole team was knocked out. The man of the match award went to Clive Lloyd who made 102 runs in the final match. For the entire tournament, Glenn Turner from New Zealand was the top-scorer with 333 runs, meanwhile, Gary Gilmour from Australia took 11 wickets.
1979 Cricket world cup winners: West Indies
The second round of the cricket world cup also took place in England. Several cities including Manchester and London were among the host’s list for the tournament. Again 8 top teams made it to England to take part in the most prestigious event of the sport. England, India, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka were all returning teams. Meanwhile, Canada made a debut at the 1979 world cup. England and Pakistan made it to the semi-finals from group A, whereas West Indies the defending champions, and New Zealand were winners from group B.
In the semi-finals clash, England beat New Zealand by 9 runs in a tough match. Whereas, West Indies emerged victorious with a score of 293/6 against Pakistan who lost all wickets at 250. The final between the two winning teams was not a close one in which West Indies won by 92 runs. The consecutive cricket world cup winners were the first to make a record of a winning streak.
Viv Richards of West Indies was the man of the match due to a high run score of 138. He is also the second-highest scorer in the tournament behind Gordon Greenidge of West Indies who made 253 runs throughout the tournament. Mike Hendrick from England took the lead in being the best bowler with a record of taking 10 wickets in the entire event.
1983 Cricket world cup winners: India
Since England is the birthplace of cricket, the 3rd round of the cricket world cup was also held on English soil. From the 8 teams which took part in the previous tournament, only Zimbabwe replaced Canada. The host team along with Pakistan won from a competitive group A. On the other hand, West Indies the second time defending champions made their entry into the semi-finals alongside India.
India’s performance took a boost in the semi-finals after defeating the English team by 6 wickets and achieving the target set by them. Parallel to this, West Indies once again made their way to the finals after defeating Pakistan by 43 runs. The Pakistani team lost all batsmen at 140 and could not meet the target of 183. In the final match of 60 overs, India beat West Indies after knocking out their entire team at 140 and winning by 43 runs. Hence India became the cricket world cup winners.
Man of the match went to Mohinder Amarnath for his 3/12 bowling score. The batsman of the tournament went to David Gower from England for a staggering score of 384 runs. Roger Binny from the new world champions team made a record by taking 18 wickets in the entire tournament.
1987 Cricket world cup winners: Australia
The 1987 world cup holds significance for multiple reasons. The first reason is that this was the first world cup to take place outside of England. For the fourth world cup, the host countries were India and Pakistan. Due to this endeavor, the name of the world cup was Reliance Cup 1987.
Another notable mark of the 1987 world cup has been the changing of the number of overs from 60 to 50. This change lasts even to this day. The teams from the 1983 world cup were the ones to take part in 1987 as well. From the group, India and Australia emerged victorious after beating New Zealand and Zimbabwe. On the other hand, England Pakistan beat West Indies and Sri Lanka to enter the semi-finals. The 1987 world cup was the first one in which the West Indies did not qualify for the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, both the host teams got eliminated and Australia and England proceeded to the final. Pakistan lost to Australia by 18 runs after losing the entire team in 49 overs. Whereas England beat India by 35 runs. 1987 final is infamous for being rather intense in comparison to previous finals. England lost by 7 runs with 2 more batsmen to go but no overs left. This was the first of the many more world cup victories for Australia.
1992 Cricket world cup winners: Pakistan
The 1992 world cup hosting saw another partnership between Australia and New Zealand. The countries divided the scheduling of the matches with most matches taking place in Australia. This year also saw a few firsts including colored jerseys for the players which was a big improvement from the pale white uniforms. Another first was the addition of South Africa to the list of teams participating in the world cup. This made the total number of teams go to 9. Along with this, the matches would go on into the night instead of finishing during the day.
Since the number of participating teams became odd, the Round-robin competition system was introduced. This method ensures that all teams face each other in an orderly manner. A table listing the points of the teams allowed the top four teams to proceed to the semi-finals.
Below is the table with the teams and their corresponding points at the end of the knockout stages:
Pakistan proceeded to face New Zealand, the highest team on the table, in the semi-finals. Pakistan beat New Zealand with a margin of 2 runs and won by 4 wickets. On the other hand, England won from South Africa by 19 runs. England was once again in the finals with another opponent. However, Pakistan proceeded to score a 249/6 and bowled out the entire English team at 227 to become the new cricket world cup winners in 1992.
Pakistani bowler Wasim Akram won man of the match with 33 and 3/49 score in the final. Akram also holds the record of taking 18 wickets during the series and was the top wicket-taker. Martin Gower from Australia made a new record at the time by making a total of 456 runs during the tournament.
1996 Cricket world cup winners: Sri Lanka
For the 1996 cricket world cup, India and Pakistan once again got the honor of hosting the matches. Part of the matches was set in Sri Lanka which did not take place later due to an unfortunate event. This year the usual number of 10 participating teams increased to 12 with the debut of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands. The teams were divided into two groups of six with the top three teams proceeding to the quarter-finals. The teams to proceed from Group A were:
The group B teams which made it to the quarter-finals were:
In the quarter-final matches, England was the first team to leave after losing to Sri Lanka by 5 wickets. The next was the defending champions Pakistan who lost by 39 runs to India. West Indies once again made their way to the semi-finals after defeating South Africa with a margin of 19 runs. Lastly, the Australian team beat New Zealand by 6 wickets.
In the semi-finals Sri Lanka and Australia went on to defeat India and West Indies respectively, consequently meeting in the finals to compete for the trophy. The final of 1996 was not as competitive as one might think. The Sri Lankan team met the target of 241 with 7 wickets remaining and became the cricket world cup winners of 1996.
1999 cricket world cup winners: Australia
This world cup took place after 3 years than the standard 4. The world cup took place primarily in England with some matches scattered around the UK and the Netherlands. The teams from the 1996 world cup took part in 1999 with the replacement of UAE and Netherlands with Bangladesh and Scotland.
A new system of distributing the playoffs was devised for the year. After group A and B matches the play proceeded to a new round called the Super Sixes. The top three teams from each group would play each team in the Super Sixes. The teams to end up in the Super Sixes after the group matches were as following:
The top four teams from the table went on to play in the semi-finals. The semi-finals were an interesting feature in the 1999 world cup. Pakistan beat New Zealand in a tremendous victory with 9 wickets remaining. Meanwhile, the game between Australia and New Zealand ended up in a draw. Australia was allowed to proceed to the finals due to higher ranking in the Super Sixes.
The final was a quick one where Pakistan only managed to make 132 before the entire team was knocked out. Australia won their second world cup title by 8 wickets. Shane Warne the famous Australian legend took home the man of the match title with a score of 4/33. Lance Klusener of South Africa received the man of the tournament for a spectacular performance with a score of 281 and 17 wickets. The lead run-scorer of the tournament was India’s Rahul Dravid with 461 runs during the series. The highest number of wickets taken was 20 by New Zealand’s Geoff Allott which was a new record in the world cup.
2003 cricket world cup winners: Australia
The 2003 world cup was co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. This led to Africa being the host for the first time for a major cricket event. Along with this, the world cup also included 2 more teams making the total number of teams 14. Namibia was the only team to make a debut in the 2003 world cup. Whereas teams like Canada made a comeback. Instead of the standard group of 6, the pool consisted of 7 teams each. The format from the 1996 games regarding Super Sixes continued in the 2003 world cup.
During the group matches, the results took a surprising turn when the leading teams took an exit from the series. The first ones to leave were Pakistan, England, West Indies, and the host team South Africa. The top 3 teams from each group headed to the Super Sixes:
Semi-finals saw Australia facing off with Sri Lanka in the first match and India encountering Kenya. Australia and India contested in the final after defeating their opponents by 48 and 91 runs respectively. In the final Australian team gave a hard time to the Indians who could only make 234 runs before losing all their wickets. The target was 359 and India lost by 125 runs. This made Australia the only team to be cricket world cup winners 3 times.
The famous Ricky Pointing took home the Man of the Match award. India’s Sachin Tendulkar made a staggering 673 runs in the entire series and won the Man of the Series award. Pakistani bowler Shoaib Akhtar also set the record for the fastest delivery at the speed of 161.3 km/h in the world cup of 2003.
2007 cricket world cup winners: Australia
The year 2007 brought the 9th series of the cricket world cup with the most number of teams participating in history. A total of 16 teams participated with Bermuda making its debut in the game. The ICC (International Crickets Council) announced an extended format to deal with the increasing number of teams. In 2007 the 16 teams were divided into 4 groups instead of the standard 2. Two top scoring teams would then proceed to the Super Eights who would then progress to the semi-finals.
The following are the teams that made it to the Super Eights:
India and Pakistan were knocked out in the group stages making way for Bangladesh and Ireland to appear in the super eights. During the super eights, Australia again took the lead in the table with 14 points. Consequently, South Africa went on to face the defending champions in the semi-finals and lost by 7 wickets. On the other hand, Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by 81 runs and met Australia in the final.
The final match saw interruption due to rain which reduced the overs to 38. Sri Lanka batsmen Jayasuriya and Sangakkara kept the run rate going until they lost their wickets and Australia eventually took the lead. Due to further mishap on the umpire’s part, Sri Lanka had to play in unpreferable conditions which ultimately led to Australia’s third consecutive win in the world cup. This feat had never been accomplished before since West Indies only won the first two consecutive world cups in the beginning. This also led to Australia maintaining a win rate of 29 consecutive games without any losses.
Man of the match title went to Australian batsman Adam Gilchrist who scored 149 runs for the team. Glenn McGrath scored the title of the man of the series and the Golden Ball award due to his outstanding performance in the series by taking 26 wickets. The Golden Bat award for most runs during the series went to Mathew Hayden for making a total of 659 runs.
2011 cricket world cup winners: India
Cricket world cup once again came to India along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh for hosting the matches. After the 2007 world cup, ICC decided to downsize the number of teams to 14. For the 2011 world cup, the format was reverted to the one used in 1996 before the super sixes and eights were introduced. Teams from two groups of 7 would proceed to the quarter-finals.
In group A, Pakistan was leading with 10 points after breaking Australia’s 34 matches winning streak in the world cup. Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Canada were the first ones to be dismissed from group A. Whilst Bangladesh, Ireland and the Netherlands were knocked out from Group B with South Africa in the lead.
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Group A teams and their points are the following:
The top 4 teams to qualify from group B are as following:
Since the 1992 world cup, Australia has been appearing in semi-finals until 2011 one. The infamous cricket rivalry between India and Pakistan was heightened during the semi-finals match. India proceeded to the finals with a victory of 29 runs. The Sri Lankan team met them in the finals after defeating New Zealand by 5 wickets.
The final match between the two host teams was a rather close one. India chased the target of 277 set by the Sri Lankan team. Thus, India became the cricket world cup winners for the second time with 6 wickets remaining. Additionally, the captain, MS Dhoni became the man of the match after scoring 91 runs. Whereas the Pakistani bowler, Shahid Afridi won the golden ball award after taking 21 wickets. Yuvraj Singh from India was awarded man of the series after setting a staggering score of 362 runs and 15 wickets.
2015 cricket world cup winners: Australia
The 11th series of the cricket world cup took place in Australia and New Zealand.
Consequently, India, Australia, England, and New Zealand qualified for the quarter-finals. The Indian captain, MS Dhoni played in partnership with top-ranking batsmen to reach the target of 239 set by the New Zealanders. However, during the last over India lost all its batsmen and lost by 18 runs. Meanwhile, Australia faced England who performed exceptionally well and managed to reach the target of 223 in just 32 overs with 8 wickets remaining.
The ultimate cricket play
The English team with a spike in their performance met New Zealand for the ultimate cricket world cup final game in history. The match started with both teams playing rather competitively. The New Zealand team set the target at 241 in 50 overs. In the last, over of the game the English team required 15 runs from the last over. Ben Stokes, a paramount player in England’s endgame had an accidental deflection of the ball which resulted in the 15 runs being completed. Hence the game advanced to a super over in which England was the first to bat making a total of 15 runs. New Zealand batsmen Guptil and Neesham made another tie but the match ultimately went to England due to the boundary countback rule.
Furthermore, the man of the match title naturally went to Ben Stokes for helping England cross to the side of the winners. Meanwhile, Kane Williamson took home the man of the series award for having an incredible score of 578 runs and 2 wickets. Consequently, Indian batsman, Rohit Sharma won the golden bat for the highest score of 648 runs throughout the series. On the other hand, Mitchell Starc set the record for the highest number of wickets taken in the cricket world cup by taking 27 wickets.