ICC Cricket World Cup Winners

The ICC World Cup is a cricket tournament of ODI cricket held every four years to determine who the best of the best is. The event is organized by ICC to determine the best cricketing nation in the world. Although the format of the tournament has changed numerous times over the years, the core points remain the same i.e. the top 8 nations in ICC ODI rankings qualify readily for the World Cup meanwhile the other teams have to square off against one another in preliminary qualifying matches to earn a chance to play in the main event. Throughout history, various nations were able to lift the trophy while some came close. In the current scenario, it’s safe to say that this World Cup might be the most dubious tournament yet as there are no clear-cut favorites. With uncertainty in the wind, you can bet that this World Cup will provide some nail-biting contests.

ICC Cricket World Cup Winners

YearWinnerScoreRunner-upScoreResult
1975West Indies291–8Australia274West Indies won by 17 runs
1979West Indies286–9England194West Indies won by 92 runs
1983India183West Indies140India won by 43 runs
1987Australia253–5England246–8Australia won by 7 runs
1992Pakistan249–6England227Pakistan won by 22 runs
1996Sri Lanka245–3Australia241Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets
1999Australia133–2Pakistan132Australia won by 8 wickets
2003Australia359–2India234Australia won by 125 runs
2007Australia281–4Sri Lanka215–8Australia won by 53 runs
2011India277–4Sri Lanka274–6India won by 6 wickets
2015Australia186–3New Zealand183Australia won by 7 wickets

Since its inception, the World Cup has witnessed many changes to the procedure in which it is conducted. The first World Cup was held in 1975 in England which is fitting as England is the inventor of the game. The first three World Cup were hosted by England but then rules were altered in order to allow each full member nation to host the World Cup at least once. Although the group stages have seen changes in multiple WCs, the key points remain the same. The top 8 ODI nations automatically qualify for the event whereas other teams have to qualify for the tournament. Generally, 2 or 4 nations other than the top 8 nations are selected to compete in the main event. Teams battle in group stages to earn a spot in the semi-finals. The semi-finals determine which two teams will face off in the final for cricket supremacy.

For quite some time, the World Cup format consisted of teams divided into two different groups and teams had to compete against other teams of the same group. Top 2 teams were selected from both groups to face off in the semi-finals. The format has changed this year as this time, each team has to play against the other 9 teams at least once. At the end of these matches, the top 4 teams will be making their way into the semi-finals. This is a better option as no team can complain now that their group was tougher than the other.

Playing Teams:

Under the regulations of ICC, the top 8 ODI nations get a direct ticket to compete in the World Cup. The remaining nations have to clash in a series of qualifying matches to earn a spot in this event. The upcoming World Cup will comprise of 10 teams facing one another at least once throughout the tournament. These nations are given below in the order of their rankings in ODIs:

  1. England
  2. India (won twice)
  3. New Zealand
  4. South Africa
  5. Australia (won five times)
  6. Pakistan (won once)
  7. Bangladesh
  8. Sri Lanka (won once)
  9. West Indies (won twice)
  10. Afghanistan

WI and Afghanistan had to qualify for this event which is interesting because this is the first time WI had to qualify for a WC and this is the first time Afghanistan will compete at the grandest stage of them all.

History:

The first World Cup was held in 1975, four years after the first ODI match and since then has been a proud tradition in the cricketing world. Although the rules and regulations are improving day by day, the essence of the WC remains the same which is to determine the best cricket nation by pitting them against one another. Over the years, World Cup has provided some glamorous matches and provided long-standing rivalries a venue to settle their scores. Many minnow teams came into the spotlight due to their performances in WC. A brief history of World Cup is explained below:

1.    First Three World Cup (1975 – 1983):

The inaugural World Cup was held in England in 1975 and involved only 8 teams. Despite being held in England which provided an advantage to the host side, England couldn’t win the event. WI and Australia were the favorites for the event and they both faced off in the finals. WI eventually won the WC which was obvious looking at the fact that it was the strongest WI till date. The 1979 World Cup was also held in England and WI again won the WC which made them the first team to win the World Cup back to back.

England once again hosted the WC in 1983 and WI once again made it to the finals due to their strong squad. It seemed that WI would win yet again. However, India came out of nowhere to win in the final against WI to earn their first world title. This ended the decade long domination of WI in cricket.

2.    World Cup after WI dominance (1987 – 1996):

After dominating the cricketing world for more than a decade, WI’s supremacy was crushed in the later WCs. The 1987 World Cup was jointly hosted by Pakistan and India. Continuing their sublime form in ODI cricket, Australia demolished other teams to pick up their first world title. England came so close to winning but they eventually lost by 7 runs which was heartbreaking for the English fans.

The 1992 World Cup was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. England continued to impress cricket fans as they made their way into another World Cup final. Pakistan, however, has a rocky start to their tournament but they eventually bounced back and defeated England to become the world champions for the first time.

The 1996 was held jointly in the Indian sub-continent by Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka were considered as the underdogs of the event but they crushed India in the semi-finals and went on to defeat Australia in the final to become the world champions. This victory converted Sri Lanka from a minnow team to the cricketing giants of the world.

3.    Australian Supremacy (1999 – 2007):

Perhaps Australia’s best performances were in the decade 1999 – 2009. In this era, they were unstoppable. The likes of Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey etc. legitimized Australia’s claim as the strongest team in the world. No one could defeat them in this period. In 1999, the tournament was against hosted by England. Twelve teams faced off one another for the prize. Australia managed to defeat South Africa in the semi-final and went on the face Pakistan in the final. Pakistan suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Australia who managed to clinch their 2nd world title.

Then came the era of sheer dominance. Australia became an unstoppable force in the cricket world in all formats of the game. Other teams just didn’t have an answer for Australian offense. They took this tremendous form to the World Cup 2003 held in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Australia were outstanding throughout the tournament and easily defeated India in the final to win their 2nd consecutive and 3rd overall world title. They became the 2nd team after West Indies to win consecutive WCs.

Australia didn’t stop here and continued to dominate the cricketing world with their stupendous all-round performances. No side were a match to them. Years went by as Australia continued to defeat all top ranked teams eventually leading upto the World Cup 2007. The event was hosted by West Indies and featured 16 international teams battling for supremacy. Of course, no team was a match for Australia as they competed aggressively in all matches and defeated Sri Lanka in the final to win their 3rd consecutive and 4th overall world title. They became the first and only team to win 3 back to back World Cup. No team is more successful than Australia when it comes to the main events.

4.    Triumphant Hosts:

From 2010 onwards, no team has been favorite heading into the WC. There has always been a degree of uncertainty. It was a dubious situation when teams faced each other in 2011 World Cup hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as Pakistan was stripped of their hosting rights following the incident with Sri Lankan team. India defeated Pakistan in the semi-final to duel against SL in the final. They defeated SL rather comfortably at home to win their 2nd world title.

Situation seemed unclear till the next World Cup and finally 14 teams competed in the World Cup 2015 held jointly in New Zealand and Australia. No team was favorite here although some analysts put Australia at an advantage because of home conditions. New Zealand performed extraordinarily in the entire event. They defeated South Africa in a scintillating semi-final to earn a spot in their maiden WC final. They eventually lost to Australia in a one-sided contest and Australia picked up their 5th World Cup title which is the most by any team to date. Looking at the stats, it’s safe to say that Australia might be looking at another WC win but other teams have been performing spectacularly so it will be an uphill battle for the defending champions.

Upcoming World Cup:

World Cup 2019 is all set to initiate on 30th May in England and Wales. 10 teams will compete for ultimate sovereignty at the grandest stage. 8 top teams qualified automatically for World Cup while 2 teams qualified for the event. This time, there is a different format to be followed for the tournament. Previously all teams were divided into two groups and teams only had to face other teams of their respective groups. Top 2 teams from both groups used to face off in the semi-finals to determine finalists for the event who then battled for the world title. This time, teams have not been divided into groups and each team has to face all other teams at least once. At the end of this preliminary stage, top 4 teams will be selected on the basis of points and net run rate. These 4 teams will then square off in the semi-finals. No clear-cut favorites this time heading into the WC. England will definitely have the advantage because of their home ground. They’re scoring runs consistently and have a decent bowling line-up. India might have the strongest batting line-up leading into the event. Virat Kohli is in the form of his life and they’re opening pair is firing on all cylinders. NZ and SA have evenly matched balanced squads who can destroy any opposition. Australia hit a rough patch when Smith and Warner were banned but they decimated Pakistan in the recent ODI series which shows that they’re back and more ready than ever. Pakistan’s bowling attack can put any batting line-up under pressure. Smaller teams like Bangladesh and West Indies can cause huge upsets given the chance. Whoever wins the World Cup , cricket fans are anticipating some close nail-biting contests.

Conclusion:

Over the years, WC events have gone through rapid changes. In the beginning, ODIs used to be 60 overs per innings but then they were reduced to 50 overs. The format has developed as well, from groupings to free for all. The end result remains the same. Whoever wins is crowned the champion of the world. Australia have won a record 5 times and if their recent performances show anything, they exhibit that they want to make it 6. England are the top ranked ODI nation right now and although they’ve made their way into several finals, they haven’t won a single World Cup. They’ll be hoping to break this bad omen. South Africa might be the most underrated team in WC history but they choke every time. SA need to perform exceedingly well as they hunt for their first title. New Zealand have been performing well since World Cup 2015 and onwards. They played their maiden World Cup final last time so they’re definitely in line for a world title. India have the best batting line-up capable of chasing down any score. Pakistan have a decent bowling attack. Bangladesh shocked the world when they played the semi-final of CT 2017. WI are back in form and ready to win the event. In short, each team have their strengths and weaknesses. Whoever performs consistently throughout the tournament will win it all.