The Cricket World Cup is one of the most eagerly anticipated competitions in the world of cricket. It is watched by millions of people all over the globe and provides nothing but quality entertainment (and suspense whenever the team that you support are playing). Below you will find out everything that you need to know about this fantastic tournament.
When Were the Very First Matches Held?
The very first Cricket World Cup was played in England back in 1975, with each match consisting of 60 overs per team. It was contested in England because it was the only country at the time that had the grounds and the resources to hold such a prestigious event. The following two World Cups in 1979 and 1983 were also held in England for the same reason. These first three tournaments were called the Prudential Cup as the sponsors were the financial and insurance firm Prudential plc.
Eight teams competed in the inaugural tournament:
- England, Australia
- New Zealand
- India, Pakistan
- the West Indies
- Sri Lanka
- East Africa (a cricket team that was made up of players from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia).
If you are wondering where South Africa were, well they were banned from taking part in any international cricket due to Apartheid. The West Indies won the tournament by defeating Australia at Lord’s by 17 runs.
If you are into interesting facts, you will be intrigued to know that Roy Fredericks was out hit-wicket in the final, making him the first ever batsman to get out in this manner in the ODI format. So, the next time you are watching cricket with your family or friends and a player is out hit-wicket, you can let everyone know how much of a cricket buff you are by informing them of this piece of trivia.
How Many Teams Participated at Each World Cup?
As we mentioned above, the very first World Cup that was played consisted of eight teams and that was the same for the 1979, 1983, and the 1987 World Cups. In the 1979 event, the teams were the same as the 1975 one, except for Canada, who took the place of East Africa as a reward for making it to the final of the 1979 ICC Trophy. In the 1983 event, Zimbabwe took Canada’s place due to the fact that they won the 1982 ICC Trophy and they also won the 1986 ICC Trophy, meaning they qualified for the 1987 World Cup event.
The next World Cup took place in 1992 and saw nine teams competing instead of eight. This was because South Africa was allowed back into international cricket as they had put an end to Apartheid.
The 1996 event saw the number of teams competing increase to twelve – Zimbabwe had become a test-playing nation so was allowed to compete, while Kenya, Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates made their debuts after qualifying through the 1994 ICC trophy. The 1999 World Cup also had twelve teams competing; Bangladesh qualified for the first time as winners of the 1997 ICC Trophy, Kenya competed for the second time as they were runners-up, while Scotland made their debut as a reward for finishing third.
The 2003 version saw the number of teams participating increase to fourteen. The 10 test-playing nations at the time all qualified automatically, while Kenya qualified automatically thanks to their ODI status. The final three spots went to the Netherlands, Canada, and Namibia, who finished first, second, and third in the 2001 ICC Trophy.
The number of participating teams increased to sixteen for the 2007 World Cup. There were the same teams that had competed in the previous tournament with the addition of Ireland, Bermuda, and Scotland. The 2010 event saw all ten test-playing nations compete and the final four spots were given to the Associate Members that finished in the top four of a qualifying event that the ICC organised. The teams that qualified were Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Kenya.
The 2015 World Cup saw fourteen teams compete. The ten test-playing nations got automatic qualification as usual, while Ireland and Afghanistan qualified through the World Cricket League Championship, and Scotland and the United Arab Emirates qualified through the World Cup Qualifiers.
ShapeThe ICC decided to reduce the 2019 World to just ten teams. England were awarded automatic qualification as hosts, while the seven other top teams in the ICC ODI rankings were invited to compete. The final two spots were given to Afghanistan and West Indies as they contested the final of the 2018 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers.
The World Cup in 2023 will feature ten teams as well, but only the hosts will be granted automatic qualification. The rest will need to compete in the 2020-2022 Cricket World Cup Super League for the right to compete in this tournament.
How Has the ICC Cricket World Cup Format Changed Over the Years?
The 1975 and 1979 tournaments saw the eight teams split into two groups of four, with each team playing the other teams in the group once in a sixty over match. The top two teams in each group then advanced to the semi-finals, with the teams that finished first playing the team the finished second in the other group. The 1983 tournament had the same format, but teams played each other twice instead of just once. The 1987 event was the same as the 1983 one, but the matches were reduced to fifty overs per side instead of sixty.
The format was changed completely for the 1992 Cricket World Cup. The two groups were scrapped and replaced with a round-robin. Each team played everyone once and the top four sides qualified for the semi-finals, with those who finished first playing those who finished fourth and those who finished second playing those who finished third.
Once again, the format changed for the 1996 tournament. It went back to two groups (this time with six teams) and the team that finished first in one group, played the team that finished fourth in the other, while those that finished second in one group, played the team that finished third in the other for a right to compete in the semi-finals.
Believe it or not, but the ICC changed the format once again in 1999. The twelve teams were split into two groups of six with each team playing everyone once. The top three in each group then went through to what was known as the “Super Six”. The teams that qualified for this stage played each other one time, and the top four qualified for the semi-finals. The team that finished first played the team that came forth and the team that came second played the team that came third. The 2003 tournament, surprisingly, had the same format as the previous one.
The 2007 competition was split into four groups of four, and the top two teams in each group after all teams had played each other once went through to the “Super Eight”. Here teams played everyone once and the top four went on to compete in the semi-finals.
In typically indecisive ICC fashion, the format changed once again for the 2011 World Cup. The fourteen teams were split into two groups of seven and the top four from each group qualified for the knockout stage. The 2015 tournament had the exact same format as the previous competition.
The 2019 tournament went back to a round-robin format where all ten teams played each other once, with the top four going through to the semi-finals. Once again, the team that came first, played the team that came forth, and the team that came second, played the team that came third.
The format for the 2023 World Cup in India has yet to be decided.
Which Teams Have Held the Cricket World Cup Aloft?
- 1975 – West Indies beat Australia at Lord’s, London, by 17 runs.
- 1979 – West Indies beat England at Lord’s, London, by 92 runs.
- 1983 – India beat West Indies at Lord’s, London, by 43 runs.
- 1987 – Australia beat England at Eden Gardens, Calcutta, by 7 runs.
- 1992 – Pakistan beat England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, by 22 runs.
- 1996 – Sri Lanka beat Australia at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, by 7 wickets.
- 1999 – Australia beat Pakistan at Lord’s, London, by 8 wickets.
- 2003 – Australia beat India at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, by 125 runs.
- 2007 – Australia beat Sri Lanka at the Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, by 53 runs (D/L).
- 2011 – India beat Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, by 6 wickets.
- 2015 – Australia beat New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, by 7 wickets.
- 2019 – England drew with New Zealand at Lord’s, London, but won the trophy due to the boundary countback rule.
Is There an ICC Women Cricket World Cup?
The first Women’s Cricket World Cup actually took place two years before the first men’s tournament, but due to lack of funding, there was sometimes a gap of six years between tournaments. However, since 2005, this tournament, like the men’s version, has been played at four-year intervals.
Since the 2000 tournament, eight teams have competed. Overall, Australia has won the title six times, England have won it four times, and New Zealand have won it once.
The women’s tournament is obviously not as popular as the men’s one, but women’s cricket is definitely improving in quality, meaning that it should get more popular in time.
Don’t Forget to Check Out Our Cricket World Cup Prognostics
We have prognostics available for all popular cricket tournaments, so don’t forget to give them a look when the next World Cup swings by. By reading our tips, you can seriously improve your chances of winning some money while being thoroughly entertained by the great cricket on show. What’s not to like about that?