ICC Cricket World Cup – The summit of cricketing talents
ICC Cricket World Cup is the culmination of cricketing skills, once in four years, where cricket playing nations compete to decide the champion in one-day international cricket.
The International Cricket Council is the sport’s governing body and the World Cup is an important event in the cricketing arena. Moreover, it is one of the most-viewed sports in the world.
The fascinating sports event dates back to June 1975 and it began in England. It didn’t take much time between the playing of a first one-day cricket match and conducting a world-cup tournament. Because, the first one day match was played, only four years before.
But, the first Women’s Cricket World Cup was held two years before the men’s event. Interestingly, a tournament with many participating countries was held earlier in the year 1912. And it was a triangular test tournament between Australia, England, and South Africa.
England was the host country for the first three world cup tournaments. But after the year 1987, member countries began to hold the tournaments by an unofficial rotation system.
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Chronology of ICC Cricket World Cup
Notable Events Before the first Cricket World Cup
Early 19th Century
Teams from different countries met and played matches even before the year 1975. In 1844, Canada and the united states played a match on September 24 and 25.
The beginning of the ashes series would be in the year 1877 when Australia and England played the first test match. After that, the teams started to play matches regularly every year.
Then in the year 1889, South Africa got the test status. In subsequent years, bilateral competitions began to take place.
In the summer Olympics 1900 held in Paris, cricket was included and Great Britain won the gold medal by defeating France. It was the only time cricket took part in the Olympics.
The test playing nations England, Austalia and South Africa met for the first multilateral test series in the year 1912. But, the event was not a success due to weather conditions and poor attendance of the audience.
In the following years, many countries started to acquire test playing status. West Indies acquired it in the year 1928. Subsequently, Newzealand in 1930, India in 1932 and Pakistan in 1952 got the test playing status.
But, there were no multilateral test matches but the test playing nations only played bilateral test competitions. And the duration of the matches varied between three, four or five days.
Then during the early 1960s, English county cricket teams tried a much shorter version of the game and the play lasted for one day only. In 1962, they played a four-team knockout competition named as Midlands Knock-Out Cup.
With the addition of the Gillette Cup in the year 1963, the popularity of the game grew in England. And also a national Sunday League was formed in the year 1969.
Interestingly, the first one-day international match was born when a five-day test match between England and Australia in 1971 was nearly abandoned due to rain.
On the fifth day, organizers held the match to satisfy the visited people and it was 40 over per side match and each over consisted of eight balls.
World Series Cricket & New Innovations
Kerry Packer, an Australian Media Tycoon founded the World Series Cricket (WSC) in the late 1970s.
In the WSC series, many things started as an innovation, like-colored uniforms, night matches under floodlights, usage of the white ball for night matches, multiple camera angles, pitch microphones, and on-screen graphics.
On January 17, 1979, the first match with colored uniforms was held between Australia and Westindies at VFL Park in Melbourne.
As domestic one day matches in many parts of the world and one-day international matches were held successfully, ICC started planning the cricket world cup.
ICC Cricket World Cup 1975 – 1983
The Prudential Cup
England hosted the first Cricket World Cup in the year 1975. The tournament started on 7 June and the sponsor of the event was Prudential plc, which was an insurance company based in London.
The match consisted of 60 overs a side with six balls per over. They played it in the day time, players wore the traditional white uniform and used the red cricket ball.
Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and a composite team from East Africa were the eight teams that participated in the tournament. South Africa was banned due to the apartheid regime.
The West Indies won the tournament and the team defeated Australians by 17 runs in the final at Lord’s.
For the World Cup in 1979, ICC conducted ICC Trophy to select the non-test playing nations for the world cup. The countries Srilanka and Canada got the qualification and entered the world cup tournament.
The West Indies won the world cup for the second consecutive time by defeating the host England by 92 runs in the final.
England hosted the 1983 event also and it hosted the world cup for the third consecutive time. During this period Sri Lanka had acquired the test playing nation status and Zimbabwe got qualification through the ICC trophy.
In this tournament, the rules underwent some changes. A 30-yard fielding circle was introduced and four fieldsmen had to stand inside it all the times, became a rule.
Then, the teams faced each other twice before moved into the knock-outs. In the final, India beat west indies by 43 runs and won the tournament.
Other World champions (1987–1996) in ICC Cricket World Cup
In 1987, the venue was moved outside England for the first time and Indian and Pakistan jointly hosted the event.
Further, the innings were reduced from 60 overs an innings to 50 overs due to the short duration of daylight in the Indian subcontinent. In the end, Australia won the world cup by defeating England by 7 runs in the final.
ICC brought many changes in the 1992 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. It introduced new fielding restrictions and colored clothing. ICC also started day-night matches and the usage of white balls in the tournament.
In this tournament, South Africa participated for the first time as the apartheid regime ended. In the final, Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs and emerged as the winner.
India, Pakistan, and Srilanka jointly hosted the world cup in 1996. In the semi-final match between India and Srilanka, crowd unrest broke out and Sri Lanka won the match by default. Eventually, Sri Lanka became the champion by winning Australia in the final.
Australian Hat-trick (1999–2007) in ICC Cricket World Cup
England hosted the World Cup in 1999. Some matches were also played in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Netherlands.
The semi-final match between Australia and South Africa ended in a tie and Australia reached the final. Interestingly, also in the qualifying match in the super six-round, Australia faced South Africa and defeated it to reach the semi-final match.
In the final against Pakistan, Australia won the match by reaching the target of 132 runs in less than 20 overs with the loss of two wickets only.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya jointly hosted the 2003 World Cup. In the tournament, Kenya defeated Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe and reached the semi-final.
Australia once again won the World Cup by defeating India in the final with a huge margin of 125 runs.
In the 2007 World Cup also, Australia won the final. It defeated Sri Lanka in the final by 53 runs. West Indies hosted the tournament.
Hosts & Champions (2011–2019)
India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh jointly hosted the World Cup in the year 2011. Pakistan was not included as a host due to a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in the year 2009.
Australia lost its final group stage match against Pakistan. But, it recorded an amazing winning streak of 35 World Cup matches which began in the year 1999.
India emerged as the champion in the tournament and it won the final against Sri Lanka.
In the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, Australia and New Zealand served as host countries. In a semi-final match, New Zealand beat South Africa in a thrilling finish and entered its maiden world cup final. Eventually, Australia beat New Zealand and became the champion for the fifth time.
England and Wales hosted the 2019 World Cup. England and New Zealand reached the final and it was the first time for both the teams to reach the final.
Interestingly, both the teams scored 241 runs in 50 overs and tied the match. When they played the super over, the teams scored 15 runs and tied it again. Finally, England won the World Cup by the higher number of boundaries in the batting innings.
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Format of ICC Cricket World Cup
The countries which have the test playing status qualify by default to the World Cup tournament. But, other teams have to play a series of qualifying matches.
ICC introduced the qualifying matches for the second World Cup and conducted the ICC trophy. The number of teams that got the selection varied throughout the years.
Then ICC provided the World Cricket League as the qualification system to give more opportunities to the associate and affiliate member countries. Now the name “ICC Trophy” is not in use, instead, it is known as “ICC World Cup Qualifier”
In the World Cup league, associate and affiliate members must play between two and five stages to qualify for the World Cup Tournament. And it depends on the division in which they start the qualifying process.
Over the years the format of the World Cup underwent many changes. In the first four tournaments, eight teams participated and played in two groups of four. And the competitions had two stages: a group stage and a knock-out stage.
In the group stage, the teams played the matches in the round-robin method and the resulting top two contenders from each group met in the semi-finals.
In 1992, with the addition of South Africa, nine teams participated in the group stage and the top four teams progressed to the semi-finals.
With the addition of three more teams, two groups of six teams played in the 1996 tournament. Then four teams from each group met in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
In the 1999 and 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup, the teams played in two pools and the top three teams in each pool advanced to the super six stages.
In the super six stages, three teams from a group clashed with the other three teams from another group. The teams also carried points from the group stage so that they got an incentive for their performance in the group stage.
Then the top four teams from the super six stage met in the quarter-finals. The winners in the quarterfinals met in the semifinals and the resulting two teams clashed in the final.
In the World Cup 2007, 16 teams in four groups played in a round-robin method in the group stage. Points were given and the teams got one point for a win and half-point for a tie.
Top two teams from each group then moved to the Super 8 stage. Then the top four teams from the Super 8 round met in the semi-finals, and the winners of the semi-finals played in the final.
In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and 2015, the teams again were in two groups only. And each group consisted of seven teams. Then the top four teams from each group met in the knockout stage in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and in the final.
Again in the year 2019, the teams met and played in the round-robin method as the number of participants was only ten. And played the semi-final and final as in the 1992 World Cup.
The ICC created the trophy which is presently in use for the 1999 championships. It became the permanent trophy as the ICC awarded different trophies for the earlier World Cup Matches.
The trophy is made from silver and gilt. In the trophy, a golden globe is held by three silver columns. The columns represent batting, bowling and fielding, the three aspects of cricket and the globe characterizes a cricket ball. The slight tilt in the seam shows the axial tilt of the earth.
The height of the trophy is approximately 60 centimeters, and it weighs 11 kilograms. The base contains the names of the previous winners engraved in it and it has a space for twenty inscriptions.
The ICC keeps the original trophy and award a replica which differs only in the inscription, to the champion team.
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