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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A history of the Cricket World Cup

 The cricket World Cup is a one-day international championship held every four years. It is organised by the sports governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC). It is the most important tournament for the participating nations in the event. The tournament is the fourth most followed and largest tournament amongst all sports.
The Inaugural World Cup was held in England in 1975. The event is comprised of some preliminary rounds matches, and then the teams qualifying from these rounds participate in the finals. There are five teams which have won the World Cup more than once. Australia have won the tournament a record four times. The West Indies has won it twice whereas India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won it once.
In the early days, cricket was only played between Australia and England in the form of Test match cricket. The first Test match played between the two nations was back in 1877, and the teams have been playing against each other since then in the Ashes. The third nation to earn Test match status was South Africa. They were granted the status in 1889, twelve years after the first match between England and Australia.
Cricket was also included in the Olympics back in 1900. England won the gold medal back then defeating France. The first multilateral Test match series was played in 1912 between all three Test playing nations. However, it was not a success due to the weather conditions in England.
The first ever International ODI was played in 1971 between England and Australia, when the rain had affected all the previous days of the match. Both teams played a forty over match on the fifth and final day to entertain the frustrated crowd. The shortened version of cricket started in the 1960s between English county sides, and gained a lot of popularity.
The popularity of the shortened version of the game forced the ICC to organise a mega event and ultimately, the first World Cup was held in England in 1975 which was won by the West Indian team.
England went on to host the next two World Cups as well, as it was the only nation at that time with the resources to host a mega event. The second Word Cup was also won by the West Indian team, and the third one was won by India who upset the West Indies in the final.
The fourth World Cup was jointly hosted by India and Pakistan in 1987. This event was won by Australia after the they beat the English side by just seven runs. This is the closest margin of victory in the history of the World Cup. Until the 1987 World Cup, the teams played in white kits and used red balls, but the rules changed in the 1992 World Cup which was jointly held in Australia and New Zealand.
The 1992 World Cup saw many changes in the rules of the game. Coloured kits, day/night matches and white balls were introduced for the first time in this event. This World cup also saw the return of the South Africa to competitive cricket after 22 years, and it was also their first appearance at a World Cup.
The event was won by Pakistan under the captaincy of Imran Khan, who defeated the English team in the final of the tournament. This was the third time England had reached a world cup final, but they could still not overcome the final hurdle.
The 1996 World Cup was held in the Indian subcontinent with the inclusion of Sri Lanka as  co-hosts for the first time. The final was played between Sri Lanka and Australia in Lahore, which Sri Lanka won.
In 1999, the Word Cup returned to England and some of the matches were co-hosted by Wales, Scotland, Netherlands and Ireland. The World Cup was won by Australia who defeated Pakistan in a one-sided final.
The 2003 and 2007 World Cups were held in South Africa and the West Indies respectively; Australia won both tournaments. In 2003, Australia defeated India while in 2007 they beat Sri Lanka to retain their crown once again.
The cricket World Cup became the only tournament to have featured in all six continents. Australia has the record of winning the Word Cup on the last three occasions with 29 consecutive wins to their credit in the tournament. The 2011 World Cup will be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, who will co-host the event for the first time.
Pakistan was stripped of the right to host its scheduled World Cup matches due to security concerns in the country.
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