Cricket World Cup history

Dion Nash celebrates a wicket during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Photo / Getty Images
Dion Nash celebrates a wicket during the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Photo / Getty Images

A look back at the past winners of the Cricket World Cup.

2007
Hosts: West Indies
Final: Australia beat Sri Lanka by 53 runs via D/L
New Zealand - losing semifinalists

Australia clinched an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title after a rain-reduced final that ended in farcical circumstances in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Adam Gilchrist smashed 149 - posting the fastest century and highest score in a World Cup final - as Australia scored 281-4 from 38 overs against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was 206-7 with three overs to go when its two batsmen left the field amid dark and overcast conditions, prompting celebrations among the Australians and the crowd, who thought the game was over.

After some confusion on the field, the batsmen came back and the game resumed in near darkness.

Lasith Malinga was subsequently run out and the final few balls were played out in surreal circumstances as Sri Lanka had no hope of victory.

"It's a bit dark, but I'm loving every minute of it," said veteran Australian paceman Glenn McGrath, who along with Gilchrist collected his third consecutive World Cup winners' medal. Gilchrist and McGrath then retired from international cricket, leaving gaps in the Australian lineup that are still yet to be fully filled.

Brian Lara also retired from international cricket after being unable to guide the hosts and two-time champion West Indies to the title in the first World Cup ever staged in the Caribbean.

The tournament was overshadowed by the death of Pakistan's England-born coach Bob Woolmer. Woolmer was found unconscious in his hotel room the day after Pakistan's shocking loss to Ireland in the group stage, sparking a homicide investigation in Jamaica.

Jamaican authorities initially said Woolmer had been strangled. In an embarrassing reversal, police later said experts had concluded he died of natural causes, most likely heart disease.

The group-stage exits of Pakistan and India also detracted from the tournament, while some individual performances left marks that will take a long time to beat.

Herschelle Gibbs became the first batsman to hit six sixes in one over in an international match when he belted consecutive sixes off Dutch legspinner Daan van Bunge in the 30th over of a group match at St. Kitts. A tournament sponsor had only the previous week offered $1 million for charity designated by the first batsman to do something that only the great West Indies allrounder Garfield Sobers (1968) and India's Ravi Shastri (1985) had ever done in first-class cricket.

South Africa was on the receiving end of a record when Sri Lanka's Malinga took four wickets with four consecutive balls -- also a first in international cricket.

When Malinga ran in for the fifth ball of the 45th over of the match at Guyana, South Africa needed four runs to win and had five wickets in hand.

The paceman took four wickets with consecutive deliveries to turn what should have been a comfortable victory into a tense, last-over one-wicket win.

2003
Hosts: South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe
Final: Australia beat Indian by 125 runs
New Zealand - reached Super Six

After cruising through the tournament unbeaten, Australia became only the second team to retain the World Cup when it beat India in a lopsided final at Johannesburg.

Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden shared an opening partnership of 105 from 14 overs after being put into bat. Captain Ricky Ponting then smashed 140 from 121 balls in a man-of-the-match performance to steer Australia to a mammoth 359-2 from 50 overs -- a record for a World Cup final.

Glenn McGrath caught and bowled batting legend Sachin Tendulkar in the first over of India's reply. The rain offered India hope of respite, but conditions improved and McGrath finished with 3-52 as India was dismissed for 234 with more than 10 overs still left.

"When World Cups come around, you've got to play your best when it counts, and we've done that," Ponting said.

The success was also notable for the absence of star spinner Shane Warne, who was sent home the day before Australia's opening match after testing positive for a banned diuretic.

The first World Cup in Africa was co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Kenya provided the surprise of the tournament by beating test nation Sri Lanka on the way to an appearance in the semifinals.

But the success of Kenya and Zimbabwe in an interminable tournament that required 42 games to narrow the field from 14 teams to six owed much to the refusal of England and New Zealand to play in those countries because of security concerns.

The African nations won the fixtures by walkovers. Zimbabwe also reached the second-round Super Six stage.

1999
Hosts: England, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland
Final: Australia beat Pakistan by eight wickets
New Zealand - losing semifinalists

Shane Warne was the star with four wickets in the final as Australia bowled out Pakistan for 132 at Lord's and eased to 133-2 from 20 overs thanks to Adam Gilchrist's 54 from 36 balls.

Australia's first World Cup since 1987 confirmed its status as cricket's premier limited-overs lineup but it was its two matches against South Africa that went down in cricketing folklore.

Australia won the teams' first meeting in the inaugural Super Sixes stage by five wickets, with Steve Waugh scoring a match-winning 120. The Australia captain was dropped by a prematurely celebrating Herschelle Gibbs when he was on 56 and was said to have told the South African, "You've just dropped the World Cup."

Waugh denied saying it, but the comment rang true after the teams met in the semifinal.

With victory in sight, South Africa's Allan Donald was run out with two balls left following a shocking miscommunication with allrounder Lance Klusener. The match ended in a tie, with both teams on 213 all out, allowing Australia to advance by virtue of its win in the earlier head-to-head match.

After two losses in its first three matches, Australia simply hit form at the right time and rode its luck.

Host England and the fading West Indies were knocked out in the first round of the 12-team tournament, with Pakistan, New Zealand, India and Zimbabwe joining Australia and South Africa in the Super Sixes.

1996
Hosts: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Final: Sri Lanka beat Australia by seven wickets
New Zealand - losing quarterfinalists

Aravinda da Silva's all-round brilliance inspired Sri Lanka to its first World Cup title.

Da Silva claimed three wickets, including those of danger men Mark Taylor and Ricky Ponting, and two catches as Australia struggled to 241-7 in the final at Lahore.

The allrounder then sealed his third man-of-the-match award of the tournament with a stylish 107 not out as his side reached its victory target with ease.

Sri Lanka's surprising and emotional win in a tournament it co-hosted with India and Pakistan ensured the event at least ended on a high note.

The sixth Cricket World Cup exasperated fans with its seemingly interminable group stage, which lasted three weeks and took in 29 matches before only eliminating Zimbabwe, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands.

Australia and West Indies forfeited their group games in Colombo following a terrorist bombing in the city three weeks earlier, and still reached the quarterfinals.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the group stage was provided by Kenya's rotund wicketkeeper Tariq Iqbal, who put a series of errors behind him with a catch to dismiss Brian Lara in his side's shock 73-run win over West Indies.

But the tournament reached another low in the semifinal at Calcutta when India's fans, outraged by their team's slide to 120-8 in reply to Sri Lanka's 251-8, began throwing bottles onto the pitch and lighting fires in the stands.

The game was abandoned, leaving batsman Vinod Kambli in tears and Sri Lanka, with a then revolutionary gameplan that had batsmen attacking from the first over, to take the glory in the final.

1992
Hosts: Australia, New Zealand
Final: Pakistan beat England by 22 runs
New Zealand - losing semifinalists

Pakistan lifted the World Cup for the first time with a 22-run win over England in front of a crowd of 87,182 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Imran Khan (72) and Javed Miandad (58) helped Pakistan set a target of 250, and Wasim Akram took crucial wickets in the reply as England fell short, sparking jubilant scenes on the streets of Pakistan.

"It was one of the biggest days in Pakistan cricket history," Khan said later.

Co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the 1992 World Cup was the first to feature colored clothing, a white ball and matches played under floodlights.

Defending champion Australia missed out on the semifinal, partly because of a shock loss to the tournament's surprise package New Zealand, which was eventually beaten by Pakistan in the last four.

South Africa's return to international competition after 21 years of isolation was a success as Kepler Wessels' side opened with a dominant win over Australia on its way to the semifinals.

But its campaign ended in bizarre fashion when, needing 22 from 13 balls to beat England, a heavy rain shower fell in Sydney. The rules used at the time to recalculate targets in rain-affected matches left South Africa needing 21 from one ball. The ensuing controversy eventually led to the introduction of the Duckworth/Lewis Method of revising targets.

1987
Hosts: India
Final: Australia beat England by seven runs
New Zealand - Didn't get out of group play

Australia's enthralling seven-run win over England put the seal on a memorable World Cup.

Captain Allan Border was carried on the shoulders of his teammates at Calcutta's Eden Gardens after leading the team to its first World Cup title, Australia's total of 253 proving just out of reach for Mike Gatting's England lineup.

"At the end of the game we did a lap of honor and I'll never forget that," batsman Dean Jones recalled. "Fireworks were going off in the stands and it was like a scene out of a movie."

The first World Cup to be played outside England was also the first to be reduced from 60 to 50 overs for each innings.

Chetan Sharma recorded the first hat-trick in a World Cup in India's nine-wicket win over New Zealand in a group stage round which delivered several thrilling encounters.

Pakistan's 15-run win over Sri Lanka set the tone; Australia beat India by one run; England scored 35 runs in the last three overs to beat West Indies; New Zealand avoided an almighty upset by edging rookie Zimbabwe by three runs.

England, with a win over India, and Australia, which beat Pakistan, put paid to the co-hosts' hopes in the semifinals before Border's side, propelled by David Boon's 75, prevailed in a hotly contested final to start a golden era for Australian cricket.

1983
Hosts: England
Final: India beat West Indies by 43 runs
New Zealand - Didn't get out of group play

India caused a major upset in world cricket by lifting the trophy at Lord's against a West Indies side that had won the two previous editions and featured Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and Desmond Haynes.

Having successfully negotiated the group stage, in which teams played each other twice, India made short work of England in the semifinals with a six-wicket victory at Old Trafford.

The West Indies were even more impressive, though, in limiting Pakistan to 184 before cruising past the victory target for the loss of just two wickets at The Oval.

Richards scored 80 runs from a 96-ball knock, while Malcolm Marshall led the bowling with 3-28.

The performances seemed to leave little room for doubt about the final, and even less after India could only reach 183 runs after losing the toss.

However, things started to go wrong for the all-conquering West Indies after Haynes' dismissal left his team on 50-2. Two catches by Kapil Dev, one featuring a memorable 20-meter dash, removed Richards and Lloyd, as Mohinder Amarnath (3-12) and Madan Lal (3-31) ripped through the West Indies batting order.

The Windies were all out for 140 with eight overs to spare in what was a stunning result, and a defining moment, for Indian cricket.

1979
Hosts: England
Final: West Indies beat England by 92 runs
New Zealand - losing semifinalists

The West Indies were favorites and worthy winners, helped in the final by the brilliance of Viv Richards and Collis King at the crease, and a batting collapse by the hosts that was spectacular even by England standards.

In a promising start, bowlers Mike Hendrick and Chris Old appeared to have the reigning champions in some trouble at 99-4. But a swashbuckling 86 off 66 balls from King and an inspired knock by Richards, who went on to finish unbeaten on 138, added a punitive 139 runs for the next wicket.

Set a victory target of 287, Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott put runs on the board - but did so far too slowly.

England needed a full 38 overs to reach 129 for the first wicket and even Graham Gooch's best efforts failed to make a decisive impact.

From 183-2, England's batsmen added a paltry 11 runs for the next eight wickets as the West Indies retained their title.

There was no room in the semifinals for a below-strength team from Australia, whose best players were all absent due to their contracts with Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket.

The new ICC Trophy for non-test playing nations, created to give World Cup berths to the tournament's two finalists, provided places at the main event for Sri Lanka and Canada.

1975
Hosts: England
Final: West Indies beat Australia by 17 runs
New Zealand - losing semifinalists

Hosted by England, the inaugural two-week tournament was seen at the time as a major innovation for the sport. Eight teams were divided into two round-robin groups of four, with the top two advancing to the semifinals before a showcase final at Lord's.

Sides such as the West Indies and Australia flourished in the 60-over format, while other test nations struggled to grasp the need for quick runs.

India's Sunil Gavaskar memorably plodded through all 60 overs against England, scoring just 36 runs in a heavy group stage defeat.

Australia beat host England in the semifinals after a superb display by Gary Gilmour, whose bowling figures of 6-14 remain a World Cup record and whose 28 runs in as many balls helped seal a four-wicket victory.

The West Indies went one better, beating New Zealand by five wickets in the other semifinal, to line up a decider in which Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards dominated the pace attack of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson.

Lloyd's 102 in an innings total of 291 had Australia under pressure right from the start, while Richards' three run outs - among a remarkable total of five - decided an entertaining contest.

A series of pitch invasions by an impatient crowd marred the closing stages, with umpire Dickie Bird losing his hat in the final jubilant surge.

-AP

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