1) The inaugural Cricket World Cup was held in 1975 in England. Eight teams took part in the event and West Indies, which was the best team in the world in those days, beat Australia by 17 runs in a closely contested final.
2) Four years later, the tournament returned to England. Again,eight teams participated in the event and, yet again, West Indies made it to the final. And though its opponent on this occasion was England, the result was the same, only more emphatic - the Windies grabbed the 1979 trophy, trouncing England by 92 runs.
3) Even before the 1983 edition began in England, it was almost a given that West Indies would complete a hat-trick of World Cup triumphs. And when the Caribbean kings made it to the summit clash and then bowled India out for 183, the result seemed a mere formality. However, an inspired Indian bowling performance saw the West Indies being bowled out for 140 as India claimed an implausible 43-run win and with it became the first team other than the West Indies to win a World Cup. (Note: The first three World Cups were of 60 overs per side.)
4) In 1987, the World Cup finally moved outside England. India and Pakistan jointly hosted the event. India was considered among the favourites but bowed out in the semi-finals following a loss to England. The latter went on to face Australia in the finals. And, in a close game, the Aussies got home by seven runs, the closest margin of victory in a World Cup final in terms of runs.
5) The fifth edition of the World Cup in 1992 gave a chance to Australia and New Zealand to do the hosting honours and they did not disappoint. This edition also saw the introduction of coloured clothing in World Cups. Pakistan was crowned the new champion as its Imran Khan-led team got the better of England by 22 runs.
6) 1996 saw the World Cup returning to the sub-continent, with Sri Lanka joining India and Pakistan as hosts. There was further joy for Lanka, as not only did it make it to the finals, but also outdid the Australians by 7 wickets.
7) For the first time since 1983, the World Cup returned to England in 1999. Not surprisingly, Australia made it to the finals and trounced a hapless Pakistan by eight wickets as the latter was bowled out for a miserable 132.
8) In 2003, the cricket carnival moved to South Africa. Australia continued its domination, remaining undefeated throughout. It amassed a mammoth 359 in the finals and its opponents, India, fell way short, losing by 125 runs.
9) Like the 2003 edition, the 2007 World Cup in West Indies was also dominated by Australia. This time round, the Australians comfortably defeated Sri Lanka by 53 runs the Duckwort-Lewis (D/L method) to complete their fourth World Cup triumph.
10) The 2011 edition saw India win the cup, after 28 long years, on home turf. The rest, as they say, is history!
Some surprise success stories…
- Navjot Singh Sidhu made four consecutive 50s during India's 1987 World Cup campaign.
- Geoff Allot of New Zealand picked up 20 wickets in the 1999 World Cup.
- In 2003, Kenya became the only non-Test playing nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup.
- Chetan Sharma became the first cricketer to register a World Cup hattrick.
- Zimbabwe defeated Australia in an opening round match in the 1983 tournament.