Ten Cups, Forty Years and a Billion cheers

Apurv Shukla

Apurv ShuklaAs the Eleventh Cricket World Cup starts in New Zealand and Australia, we look back at the history of the most coveted trophy in global event, which is now 40 years old.

The first World Cup was played in 1975 in England, the home of Cricket.

It was an eight-nation, 60 overs-a-side affair. One-Day Cricket was still in its nascent stages based on the template of Test Cricket.

Ten Cups, Forty years- Black CapsA good illustration of this probably was Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar carrying himself through the innings to score 36 runs of 174 balls against England.

West Indies, led by Clive Lloyd, won the inaugural Championship.

The fearsome fast bowling battery of West Indies catapulted the team to its second World Cup in 1979, also held in England, by beating the hosts in the final.

Turning Point

The third Edition of the Cup held in 1983 turned out to be the turning point for India.

An unfancied Indian side, led by Haryana All-Rounder Kapil Dev, had a dream-run at the event, beating World Champions West Indies in the final at Lords by 43 runs.

The win captured the sporting imagination of India, and since then Cricket has become a passion for most Indians.

The World Cup left the shores of England in 1987, the year in which India and Pakistan jointly hosted the global event.

The Grand Failure

The Reliance Group of Companies was the earliest Indian company to be the Title Sponsor of World Cup Cricket.  The series saw the finals days of Gavaskar on the field.

India and Pakistan disappointed their fans by losing in the semi-finals to England and Australia respectively.

England entered as a favourite at the finals at Eden Garden in Kolkata, but lost to a combative Australian side brilliantly led by Alan Border.

Coloured Clothing

Australia and New Zealand were the joint hosts of the World Cup Cricket for the first time in 1992. Coloured clothing and white balls were introduced at the Fifth Edition of the Cup, at which South Africa made its World Cup debut.

Rain played spoilsport in the Proteas semifinal chase against England.

The team lost from a seemingly winnable position, after the ‘Duckworth Lewis Method’ was used to calculate revised targets.

New Zealand had one of its best Cups to date, with Martin Crowe leading a team in superb form, until the players ran into a batting blitzkrieg by Inzamam Ul Haq in the semifinals against Pakistan at Eden Park, losing by four wickets.

Imran Khan, one of the greatest All-Rounders of the game, led Pakistan to its first World Cup title.

Sub-Continent blues

The World Cup returned to the Indian Sub-Continent in 1996, with Sri Lanka joining India and Pakistan as co-hosts.

Sri Lanka, under Arjuna Ranatunga, beat Australia in the finals at Lahore.

The 1999 Edition was played in England.

It was a thrilling series until the final, which was a one-sided affair with Australia easily beating Pakistan at Lords.

Millennium First

South Africa hosted the Millennium’s first World Cup Cricket.

Led by Saurav Ganguly, India had a good run, but was eventually piped at the post by Australia (with Richard Ponting as the Captain) by 125 runs in the final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Controversial Series

Year 2007 produced a drab and controversial Cup in West Indies.

India bowed out early and Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer mysteriously died during the course of the event. Australia added to its cupboard of three Cups, by beating Sri Lanka easily in the fading light at Barbados.

The last World Cup Cricket, hosted by Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in 2011, was memorable for India.

Brilliantly led by M S Dhoni and aided by Yuvraj Singh’s all-round skills, India beat Sri Lanka in the finals at Mumbai to win its second World Cup.

Exciting opportunity

The current series present an exciting opportunity for past winners to reassert their supremacy, while new stars would be identified.

The big question is, “Who will win the World Cup Cricket in 2015?”

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