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Cricket World Cup

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ICC Cricket World Cup
Administrator International Cricket Council
Format One Day International
First tournament 1975, England
Last tournament 2011, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka
Next tournament 2015, Australia and New Zealand
Tournament format multiple (refer to article)
Number of teams 19
Current champion  India (2 titles)
Most successful  Australia (4 titles)
Most runs India Sachin Tendulkar (2,278)
Most wickets Australia Glenn McGrath (71)

The ICC Cricket World Cup is the premier international championship of men's One Day International (ODI) cricket. The event is organised by the sport's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), with preliminary qualification rounds leading up to a finals tournament which is held every four years. The tournament is the world's fourth-largest and fourth-most-viewed sporting event. According to the ICC, it is the most important tournament and the pinnacle of achievement in the sport. The first Cricket World Cup contest was organised in England in 1975. A separate Women's Cricket World Cup has been held every four years since 1973.

The finals of the Cricket World Cup are contested by all ten Test-playing and ODI-playing nations, together with other nations that qualify through the World Cup Qualifier. Australia has been the most successful of the five teams to have won the tournament, taking four titles. The West Indies and India have won twice, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka have each won once.

All the countries except for Kenya who have qualified for semi-finals have been full members.

The 2011 edition was the first one to not to have a "Super 6" or "Super 8",instead it had two groups and the four toppers of each group met in the semi-finals.

The 2011 Cricket World Cup was co-hosted by Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka from 19 February to 2 April 2011. 14 countries participated in the tournament. India won the cup by defeating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the final in Mumbai on 2 April and became the first team to win the World Cup final on home soil.


Before the first Cricket World Cup

The first ever international cricket match was played between Canada and the United States, on the 24 and 25 September 1844. However, the first credited Test match was played in 1877 between Australia and England, and the two teams competed regularly for The Ashes in subsequent years. South Africa was admitted to Test status in 1889. Representative cricket teams were selected to tour each other, resulting in bilateral competition. Cricket was also included as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Games, where Great Britain defeated France to win the gold medal. This was the only appearance of cricket at the Summer Olympics.

The first multilateral competition at international level was the 1912 Triangular Tournament, a Test cricket tournament played in England between all three Test-playing nations at the time: England, Australia and South Africa. The event was not a success: the summer was exceptionally wet, making play difficult on damp uncovered pitches, and attendances were poor, attributed to a "surfeit of cricket". In subsequent years, international Test cricket has generally been organised as bilateral series: a multilateral Test tournament was not organised again until the quadrangular Asian Test Championship in 1999.

The number of nations playing Test cricket increased gradually over the years, with the addition of West Indies in 1928, New Zealand in 1930, India in 1932, and Pakistan in 1952, but international cricket continued to be played as bilateral Test matches over three, four or five days.

In the early 1960s, English county cricket teams began playing a shortened version of cricket which only lasted for one day. Starting in 1962 with a four-team knockout competition known as the Midlands Knock-Out Cup, and continuing with the inaugural Gillette Cup in 1963, one-day cricket grew in popularity in England. A national Sunday League was formed in 1969. The first One-Day International event was played on the fifth day of a rain-aborted Test match between England and Australia at Melbourne in 1971, to fill the time available and as compensation for the frustrated crowd. It was a forty over match with eight balls per over. In the late 1970s, Kerry Packer established the rival World Series Cricket (WSC) competition, and it introduced many of the features of One Day International cricket that are now commonplace, including coloured uniforms, matches played at night under floodlights with a white ball and dark sight screens, and, for television broadcasts, multiple camera angles, effects microphones to capture sounds from the players on the pitch, and on-screen graphics. The first of the matches with coloured uniforms was the WSC Australians in wattle gold versus WSC West Indians in coral pink, played at VFL Park in Melbourne on 17 January 1979. The success and popularity of the domestic one-day competitions in England and other parts of the world, as well as the early One-Day Internationals, prompted the ICC to consider organising a Cricket World Cup.

Prudential World Cups

The Prudential Cup trophy

The inaugural Cricket World Cup was hosted in 1975 by England, the only nation able to put forward the resources to stage an event of such magnitude at that time. The 1975 tournament started on 7 June. The first three events were held in England and officially known as the Prudential Cup after the sponsors Prudential plc. The matches consisted of 60 six-ball overs per team, played during the daytime in traditional form, with the players wearing cricket whites and using red cricket balls.

Eight teams participated in the first tournament: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the West Indies (the six Test nations at the time), together with Sri Lanka and a composite team from East Africa. One notable omission was South Africa, who were banned from international cricket due to apartheid. The tournament was won by the West Indies, who defeated Australia by 17 runs in the final at Lord's.

The 1979 World Cup saw the introduction of the ICC Trophy competition to select non-Test playing teams for the World Cup, with Sri Lanka and Canada qualifying. West Indies won a second consecutive World Cup tournament, defeating the hosts, England, by 92 runs in the final. At a meeting which followed the World Cup, the International Cricket Conference agreed to make the competition a quadrennial event.

The 1983 event was hosted by England for a third consecutive time. By this time, Sri Lanka had become a Test-playing nation, and Zimbabwe qualified through the ICC Trophy. A fielding circle was introduced, 30 yards (27 m) away from the stumps. Four fieldsmen needed to be inside it at all times. India, an outsider quoted at 66–1 to win by bookmakers before the competition began, were crowned champions after upsetting the West Indies by 43 runs in the final.


The 1987 tournament, named the Reliance World Cup after their Indian sponsors, was held in India and Pakistan, the first time that the competition was held outside England. The games were reduced from 60 to 50 overs per innings, the current standard, because of the shorter daylight hours in the Indian subcontinent compared with England's summer. Australia won the championship by defeating England by 7 runs in the final, the closest margin in World Cup final history.

The 1992 World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand, introduced many changes to the game, such as coloured clothing, white balls, day/night matches, and an alteration to the fielding restrictions. The South African cricket team participated in the event for the first time, following the fall of the apartheid regime and the end of the international sports boycott. Pakistan overcame a dismal start to emerge as winners, defeating England by 22 runs in the final and therefore winning the first white-ball world cup.

The 1996 championship was held in the Indian subcontinent for a second time, with the inclusion of Sri Lanka as host for some of its group stage matches. In the semi-final, Sri Lanka, heading towards a crushing victory over India at Eden Gardens (Calcutta) after their hosts lost eight wickets while scoring 120 runs in pursuit of 254, were awarded victory by default after crowd unrest broke out in protest against the Indian performance. Sri Lanka went on to win their maiden championship by defeating Australia by seven wickets in the final, which was held in Lahore.

Australian treble

In 1999 the event was hosted by England, with some matches also being held in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Netherlands. Australia qualified for the semi-finals after reaching their target in their Super 6 match against South Africa off the final over of the match. They then proceeded to the final with a tied match in the semi-final (also against South Africa) where a mix-up between South African batsmen Lance Klusener and Allan Donald saw Donald drop his bat and stranded mid-pitch to be run out. In the final, Australia dismissed Pakistan for 132 and then reached the target in less than 20 overs, with eight wickets in hand.

A large crowd of over 10,000 fans welcome the Australian team on completing the first World Cup hat-trick – Martin Place, Sydney.

South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya hosted the 2003 World Cup. The number of teams participating in the event increased from twelve to fourteen. Kenya's victories over Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, among others – and a forfeit by the New Zealand team, which refused to play in Kenya because of security concerns – enabled Kenya to reach the semi-finals, the best result by an associate. In the final, Australia made 359 runs for the loss of two wickets, the largest ever total in a final, defeating India by 125 runs.

In 2007 the tournament was hosted by the West Indies; the Cricket World Cup became the first such tournament to be hosted on all six populated continents. Bangladesh progressed to the second round for the first time, after defeating India, and they later went on to defeat South Africa in the second round. Ireland making their World Cup debut tied with Zimbabwe and defeated Pakistan to progress to the second round, where they went on to defeat Bangladesh to get promoted to the main ODI table. Following their defeat to Ireland, the Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room; it was later found out that he died of heart failure, though his death may not have been a direct result of the match's outcome. Australia defeated Sri Lanka in the final by 53 runs (D/L), in farcical light conditions, extending their undefeated run in the World Cup to 29 matches and winning three straight World Cups.


The 2011 Cricket World Cup was jointly hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Pakistan were stripped of their hosting rights following the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, with the games originally scheduled for Pakistan redistributed to the other host countries.

The 2011 World Cup was the tenth edition of the tournament. Fourteen teams participated, split into two pools of seven teams each. The top four teams from each group qualified for the quarter-finals. India won their second World Cup title by beating Sri Lanka by 6 wickets in the final in Mumbai, thus becoming the first country to win the Cricket World Cup final on home soil.India's Yuvraj Singh was declared the man of the tournament. This is first time in World cup history that two Asian teams appeared in final. This was also the first time since 1992 World Cup that the final match did not feature Australia. India and Sri Lanka between them have made it to the finals of all World Cup tournaments in this millennium


The next World Cups will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand in 2015, and England and Wales in 2019.



The Test-playing nations qualify automatically for the World Cup main event, while the other teams have to qualify through a series of preliminary qualifying tournaments. The One Day International playing nations automatically enter the final qualification tournament, the World Cup Qualifier, along with other nations who have qualified through separate competitions.

Qualifying tournaments were introduced for the second World Cup, where two of the eight places in the finals were awarded to the leading teams in the ICC Trophy. The number of teams selected through the ICC Trophy has varied throughout the years; currently, six teams are selected for the Cricket World Cup. The World Cricket League (administered by the International Cricket Council) is the qualification system provided to allow the Associate and Affiliate members of the ICC more opportunities to qualify.The name "ICC Trophy" has been changed to "ICC World Cup Qualifier".

Under the current qualifying process, the World Cricket League, all 91 Associate and Affiliate members of the ICC are able to qualify for the World Cup. Associate and Affiliate members must play between two and five stages in the ICC World Cricket League to qualify for the World Cup finals, depending on the Division in which they start the qualifying process.

Process summary in chronological order:

  1. Regional tournaments: Top teams from each regional tournaments will be promoted to a division depending on the teams' rankings according to the ICC and each division's empty spots.
  2. Division One: 6 Teams – All automatically qualify for the World Cup Qualifier.
  3. Division Three: 6 Teams – Top 2 promoted to Division Two.
  4. Division Two: 6 Teams – Top 4 qualify for the World Cup Qualifier.
  5. Division Five: 6 Teams – Top 2 promoted to Division Four.
  6. Division Four: 6 Teams – Top 2 promoted to Division Three.
  7. Division Three (second edition): 6 Teams – Top 2 qualify for the World Cup Qualifier.
  8. World Cup Qualifier: 12 Teams – Top 6 are awarded ODI status and Top 4 qualify for the World Cup.


The captains of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The format of the Cricket World Cup has changed greatly over the course of its history. Each of the first four tournaments was played by eight teams, divided into two groups of four. There, competition comprised two stages, a group stage and a knock-out stage. The four teams in each group played each other in the round-robin group stage, with the top two teams in each group progressing to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals played against each other in the final. With the return of South Africa in 1992 after the ending of the apartheid boycott, nine teams played each other once in the group phase, and the top four teams progressed to the semi-finals. The tournament was further expanded in 1996, with two groups of six teams. The top four teams from each group progressed to quarter-finals and semi-finals.

A new format was used for the 1999 and 2003 World Cups. The teams were split into two pools, with the top three teams in each pool advancing to the Super 6. The "Super 6" teams played the three other teams that advanced from the other group. As they advanced, the teams carried their points forward from previous matches against other teams advancing alongside them, giving them an incentive to perform well in the group stages. The top four teams from the "Super 6" stage progressed to the semi-finals, with winners playing in the final.

The last format used in the 2007 World Cup, features 16 teams allocated into four groups of four. Within each group, the teams play each other in a round-robin format. Teams earn points for wins and half-points for ties. The top two teams from each group move forward to the Super 8 round. The "Super 8" teams play the other six teams that progressed from the different groups. Teams earned points in the same way as the group stage, but carrying their points forward from previous matches against the other teams who qualified from the same group to the "Super 8" stage. The top four teams from the "Super 8" round advance to the semi-finals, and the winners of the semi-finals play in the final.

The current format, approved by ICC to be used in 2011 World Cup, features 14 teams allocated. Within each group, the teams will play in a round-robin format. The top four teams from each group will proceed to the knock out stage playing quarter-finals. Winners of the quarter-finals will play semi-finals and the winning semi-finalists will play in the final.


The ICC Cricket World Cup Trophy is presented to the winners of the World Cup finals. The current trophy was created for the 1999 championships, and was the first permanent prize in the tournament's history; prior to this, different trophies were made for each World Cup. The trophy was designed and produced in London by a team of craftsmen from Garrard & Co over a period of two months.

The current trophy is made from silver and gild, and features a golden globe held up by three silver columns. The columns, shaped as stumps and bails, represent the three fundamental aspects of cricket: batting, bowling and fielding, while the globe characterises a cricket ball. It stands 60 cm high and weighs approximately 11 kilograms. The names of the previous winners are engraved on the base of the trophy, with space for a total of twenty inscriptions.

The original trophy is kept by the ICC. A replica, which differs only in the inscriptions, is permanently awarded to the winning team.

Selection of hosts

Civic Centre, South Africa honours the 2003 World Cup.

The International Cricket Council's executive committee votes for the hosts of the tournament after examining the bids made by the nations keen to hold a Cricket World Cup.

England hosted the first three competitions. The ICC decided that England should host the first tournament because it was ready to devote the resources required to organising the inaugural event. India volunteered to host the third Cricket World Cup, but most ICC members believed England to be a more suitable venue because the longer period of daylight in England in June meant that a match could be completed in one day. The 1987 Cricket World Cup was the first hosted outside England, held in Pakistan and India.

Many of the tournaments have been jointly hosted by nations from the same geographical region, such as South Asia in 1987, 1996 and 2011, Australasia in 1992, Southern Africa in 2003 and West Indies in 2007.

Tournament history

Performances by teams

Map of each nation's best results

Nineteen nations have qualified for the finals of the Cricket World Cup at least once (excluding qualification tournaments). Seven teams have competed in every finals tournament, five of which have won the title. The West Indies won the first two tournaments, and Australia has won four, India has won two, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka have each won once. The West Indies ( 1975 and 1979) and Australia ( 1999, 2003 and 2007) are the only nations to have won consecutive titles. Australia has played in 6 of the 10 final matches (1975, 1987, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007). England has yet to win the World Cup, but has been runners-up three times (1979, 1987, 1992). The best result by a non-Test playing nation is the semi-final appearance by Kenya in the 2003 tournament; while the best result by a non-Test playing team on their debut is the Super 8 (second round) by Ireland in 2007.

Sri Lanka, who co-hosted the 1996 Cricket World Cup, was the first host to win the tournament, though the final was held in Pakistan. India won the 2011 as host and was the first team to win in a final played in their own country. Other countries which have achieved or equalled their best World Cup results while co-hosting the tournament are New Zealand, semi-finalists in 1992; Zimbabwe, reaching the Super Six in 2003; and Kenya, semi-finalists in 2003. In 1987, co-hosts India and Pakistan both reached the semi-finals, but were eliminated by Australia and England respectively.


Year Number of teams
1975 8
1979 8
1983 8
1987 8
1992 9
1996 12
1999 12
2003 14
2007 16
2011 14
2015 14
2019 10

Debutant teams

Year Teams
1975  Australia,  East Africa,  England,  India,  New Zealand,  Pakistan,   Sri Lanka,  West Indies
1979   Canada
1983   Zimbabwe
1987 none
1992  South Africa
1996   Kenya,   Netherlands,   United Arab Emirates
1999   Bangladesh,   Scotland
2003   Namibia
2007   Bermuda,   Ireland
2011 none

No longer exists.


The table below provides an overview of the performances of teams over past World Cups, as of the end of the 2011 tournament. Teams are sorted by best performance, then total number of wins, then total number of games, then by alphabetical order.

Team Appearances Best result Statistics
Total First Latest Played Won Lost Tie NR Win%
 Australia 10 1975 2011 Champions ( 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007) 76 55 19 1 1 72.36
 India 10 1975 2011 Champions ( 1983, 2011) 67 39 26 1 1 58.20
 West Indies 10 1975 2011 Champions ( 1975, 1979) 64 38 25 0 1 59.37
 Pakistan 10 1975 2011 Champions ( 1992) 64 36 26 0 2 56.25
  Sri Lanka 10 1975 2011 Champions ( 1996) 66 31 31 1 2 46.96
 England 10 1975 2011 Runners-up ( 1979, 1987, 1992) 66 39 25 1 1 59.09
 New Zealand 10 1975 2011 Semifinals ( 1975, 1979, 1992, 1999, 2007, 2011) 70 40 29 0 1 57.14
 South Africa 6 1992 2011 Semifinals ( 1992, 1999, 2007) 47 31 14 2 0 65.95
  Kenya 5 1996 2011 Semifinals ( 2003) 29 6 22 0 1 20.68
  Zimbabwe 8 1983 2011 Super Six ( 1999, 2003) 51 10 37 1 3 19.60
  Bangladesh 4 1999 2011 Super 8 ( 2007) 26 8 17 0 1 30.76
  Ireland 2 2007 2011 Super 8 ( 2007) 15 4 10 1 0 26.66
  Canada 4 1979 2011 Group Stage 18 2 16 0 0 11.11
  Netherlands 4 1996 2011 Group Stage 20 2 18 0 0 10.00
  United Arab Emirates 1 1996 1996 Group Stage 5 1 4 0 0 20.00
  Bermuda 1 2007 2007 Group Stage 3 0 3 0 0 0.00
  Namibia 1 2003 2003 Group Stage 6 0 6 0 0 0.00
  Scotland 2 1999 2007 Group Stage 8 0 8 0 0 0.00
East Africa 1 1975 1975 Group Stage 3 0 3 0 0 0.00

No longer exists.

Teams' performances

Comprehensive teams' performances of over the past World Cups:

Team 1975 1979 1983 1987 1992 1996 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015 2019
England England England Pakistan
New Zealand
Sri Lanka
England South Africa West Indies Cricket Board India
Sri Lanka
New Zealand
 Australia 2nd R1 R1 1st R1 2nd 1st 1st 1st QF Q
  Bangladesh R1 R1 S8 R1 Q
  Bermuda R1
  Canada R1 R1 R1 R1
East Africa R1
 England SF 2nd SF 2nd 2nd QF R1 R1 S8 QF Q
 India R1 R1 1st SF R1 SF S6 2nd R1 1st Q
  Ireland S8 R1
  Kenya R1 R1 SF R1 R1
  Namibia R1
  Netherlands R1 R1 R1 R1
 New Zealand SF SF R1 R1 SF QF SF S6 SF SF Q
 Pakistan R1 SF SF SF 1st QF 2nd R1 R1 SF Q
  Scotland R1 R1
 South Africa SF QF SF R1 SF QF Q
  Sri Lanka R1 R1 R1 R1 R1 1st R1 SF 2nd 2nd Q
  United Arab Emirates R1
 West Indies 1st 1st 2nd R1 R1 SF R1 R1 S8 QF Q
  Zimbabwe R1 R1 R1 R1 S6 S6 R1 R1 Q

No longer exists.

Prior to the 1992 World Cup, South Africa was banned due to apartheid.


  • 1st- Winner
  • 2nd- Runner up
  • SF – Semi-final
  • S8 – Super Eight (2007 only)
  • S6 – Super Six (1999–2003)
  • QF – Quarter-finals (1996 & 2011)
  • R1 – First round


Man of the tournament

Since 1992, one player has been declared as "Man of the Tournament" at the end of the World Cup finals:

Year Player Performance details
1992 New Zealand Martin Crowe 456 runs
1996 Sri Lanka Sanath Jayasuriya 221 runs and 7 wickets
1999 South Africa Lance Klusener 281 runs and 17 wickets
2003 India Sachin Tendulkar 673 runs and 2 wickets
2007 Australia Glenn McGrath 26 wickets
2011 India Yuvraj Singh 362 runs and 15 wickets

Man of the Match in the World Cup Final

Previously, there was no tournament award, although Man of the Match awards have always been given for individual matches. Winning the Man of the Match in the final is logically noteworthy, as this indicates the player deemed to have played the biggest part in the World Cup final. To date the award has always gone to a member of the winning side. The Man of the Match award in the final of the competition has been awarded to:

Year Player Performance details
1975 West Indies Cricket Board Clive Lloyd 102 runs
1979 West Indies Cricket Board Viv Richards 138 *
1983 India Mohinder Amarnath 3/12 and 26
1987 Australia David Boon 75 runs
1992 Pakistan Wasim Akram 33 and 3/49
1996 Sri Lanka Aravinda de Silva 107 * and 3/42
1999 Australia Shane Warne 4/33
2003 Australia Ricky Ponting 140 *
2007 Australia Adam Gilchrist 149
2011 India Mahendra Singh Dhoni 91 *

Tournament records

Main individual and team records

Sachin Tendulkar, the leading run-scorer in World Cup history.
World Cup records
Most runs India Sachin Tendulkar 2278 ( 1992– 2011)
Highest average (min. 20 inns.) West Indies Cricket Board Viv Richards 63.31 ( 1975– 1987)
Highest score South Africa Gary Kirsten v UAE 188* ( 1996)
Highest partnership IndiaSourav Ganguly & Rahul Dravid
(2nd wicket) v Sri Lanka
318 ( 1999)
Most runs in a tournament India Sachin Tendulkar 673 ( 2003)
Most wickets Australia Glenn McGrath 71 ( 1996– 2007)
Lowest average (min. 1000 balls bowled) Australia Glenn McGrath 19.21 ( 1996– 2007)
Best bowling figures Australia Glenn McGrath v Namibia 7/15 ( 2003)
Most wickets in a tournament Australia Glenn McGrath 26 ( 2007)
Most dismissals ( wicket-keeper) Australia Adam Gilchrist 39 ( 1999– 2007)
Most catches ( fielder) Australia Ricky Ponting 28 ( 1996– 2011)
Highest score  India v Bermuda 413/5 ( 2007)
Lowest score   Canada v Sri Lanka 36 ( 2003)
Highest win % Australia Australia 74% (Played 76, Won 55)
Most consecutive wins Australia Australia 26 ( 1999– 2011)
Most consecutive tournament wins Australia Australia 3 ( 1999– 2007)
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