As the world gears for the biggest cricketing tournament, we want to take you on a journey, starting with the first ever, handsomely won by the West Indian team to the most recent one, when Australia stole the title of world champions, yet another time.
WORLD CUP 1975
It all began in 1975 when the world became witness to a new sports event, that went onto becoming an international festival in the years to come. ICC announced the first ever Cricket World Cup and selected England to host the game. With ODI being a relatively new concept, introduced only 4 years ago in 1971, it had been a challenging task for the players to create a strong game plan for this game. The tournament hosted 8 teams, including Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and East Africa.
The tournament became a venue for one of the most bizarre batting efforts in one-day history. In the opening match between India and England, India’s Sunil Gavaskar, batter through full 60 overs putting a mere score of 36 not out, which led to several pitch invasions from unhappy Indian fans. While England put a hefty total of 334/4, India managed put to just 132/3 at the end of the game.
12 games later, England and Australia from Group A, and New Zealand and West Indies from Group B, proceeded to the semi-finals. Australia and West Indies triumphed over their counterparts booking their seat in the finale.
WEST INDIES WERE CROWNED THE WORLD CHAMPIONS
The finale, played on June 21, hosted over 26,000 excited fans, flocking from all corners of the world. Australia won the toss and elected to bowl first, to leverage on the bowling conditions at the venue. The game opened to a dramatic hit wicket by West Indian opener, Roy Fredericks. Australia seemed like a better side towards the initial few overs. With a score of 50/3, there didn’t seem to be a lot of hope for the West Indian side. And it was then, West Indian captain Clive Lloyd came to the crease. He, along with Rohan Kanhai put up a partnership of 149 runs for the fourth wicket. While Lloyd took the attack to the bowlers, Kanhai’s role was to ensure that his captain was on strike as much as possible. Clive Lloyd went on to score a century off 82 balls and was dismissed shortly later, for 102 runs. In his farewell performance Kanhai, scored 55 runs, apart from providing great support to Llyod in scoring his century. West Indies closed their innings at 291/8, with bonus cameos from Keith Boyce and Bernard Julien.
The Australian seemed composed and made the run –getting look easy. At the end of 20th over, Australia was at 80/1. Viv Richards, with his outstanding theatrics in the field, claimed three run-outs, breaking the momentum of the Australian side. Australia was down to their last 2 batsmen, Lillee and Jeff Thomson and they needed 59 runs off seven overs, to win the game. In the end, it was West Indies, who claimed the title of the first-ever World Champions in the game of cricket, beating Australia by 17 runs.
INTERESTING FACTS FROM THE WORLD CUP 1975
Indian medium pacer Madan Lal etched his name in the annals of the history of World Cup cricket when he delivered the first ever delivery. Mohinder Amarnath, however, picked the first wicket. The batsman to be dismissed – John Alexander Jameson.
Dennis Amiss scored the 1st ever World Cup hundred. Amiss scored 137 off 147.
Sunil Gavaskar batted 174 deliveries & scored 36* when India needed 335 to win. His strike-rate, an abysmal 20.68.
New Zealand’s Glenn Turner scored 333 runs in the tournament. He also registered the highest individual score of the event – 171*.
Gary Gilmour picked 6/14 in the semi-finals & 5/48 in the finals. Shockingly, he hadn’t played a single game until the semis. He finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker – 11.
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Watch this space, as in the next edition, we will revisit the tournament of 1979, and all the drama surrounding it.