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Cricket World Cups: History and roll of honour

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Organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Cricket World Cup is the premier quadrennial international championship of One Day International (ODI) cricket.

The inaugural edition of the Cricket World Cup was held in England in June 1975. In fact, the first three editions of the Cricket World Cup were held in England before countries under an unofficial rotation system hosted the tournament from the 1987 edition. As many as 14 ICC members have hosted at least one match of the marquee event since the inception of the tournament.

From 1975 to 1983, the matches consisted of 60 overs per innings before it was reduced to 50 overs per innings in 1987.

As per the current system, a qualification phase is held over the three preceding years of the event, which determines which team will qualify for the main tournament. 

In the tournament phase, nine qualified teams and the host nation (automatic qualification) compete for the Cricket World Cup trophy at the venues within the host nation held for nearly 30 days.

From the 2027 edition, ICC plans to expand the Cricket World Cup and make it a 14-team affair.

As many as 20 nations have participated in the eleven editions of the Cricket World Cup held so far.

Australia are the most decorated team in Cricket World Cup history, having won the title five times (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015).

India and West Indies have won the Cricket World Cup twice each. West Indies were the inaugural champions, having won the 1975 edition.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and England have claimed the trophy once.

England are the defending champions of the Cricket World Cup, having beaten New Zealand in an epic 2019 final at the Lord’s on boundary count after a Super Over.

Men’s Cricket World Cup winners

Year Winner Runner-up
1975 West Indies Australia
1979 West Indies England
1983 India West Indies
1987 Australia England
1992 Pakistan England
1996 Sri Lanka Australia
1999 Australia Pakistan
2003 Australia India
2007 Australia Sri Lanka
2011 India Sri Lanka
2015 Australia New Zealand
2019 England New Zealand

Apart from the Men’s Cricket World Cup, the ICC also organises the Women’s Cricket World Cup.

The Women’s Cricket World Cup is the sport’s oldest world championship which was first held in England in 1973 - two years before the men’s event began.

The qualification for the Women’s Cricket World is conducted through the ICC Women’s Championship and the World Cup Qualifier.

However, there have been no new teams that have debuted in the tournament since 1997. The number of teams participating in every edition of Women’s Cricket World Cup have been fixed at eight.

Australia are the most successful team in the Women’s Cricket World Cup, having clinched the trophy on seven occasions. The Aussies are also the reigning champions of the marquee tournament, having defeated England by 71 runs in the final of the 2022 edition at Christchurch in New Zealand.

Australia’s arch-rivals England have won the Cricket World Cup four times. India and West Indies have reached the final but failed to lift the trophy.

Women’s Cricket World Cup winners

Year Winner Runner-up
1973 England Australia
1978 Australia England
1982 Australia England
1988 Australia England
1993 England New Zealand
1997 Australia New Zealand
2000 New Zealand Australia
2005 Australia India
2009 England New Zealand
2013 Australia West Indies
2017 England India
2022 Australia England

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Featured photo: Glyn KIRK / AFP

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