World Cup 1992: Australia and New Zealand were all set to host the fifth edition of the world cup (officially the Benson & Hedges World Cup), which was held in 1992. Unlike the 1987 world cup where the event was conducted towards the last quarter of the year, the 1992 tournament was scheduled from 22 February to 25 March.
The 1992 world cup embraced a lot of changes. It was the first time in cricketing history that the players sported coloured jerseys, with their names printed on it. It also was the first time that day & night matches were introduced, along with the introduction of white balls, doing away with red balls. This also was the first time that South Africa were featured in a world cup event, after qualifying as a test nation. It also had increased its tally from the regular 8 teams to 9 teams to be featured in the tournament. The teams were not divided into groups but a round-robin format was introduced, where all teams play against all, and the top 4 teams qualify for the semis.
While there were huge expectations from defending champions Australia, New Zealand surprised everyone with a dominant performance throughout, by winning 7 of their 8 matches. However, contrary to all the hopes, Australia had a dismal performance by just winning 4 out of their 8 games. South Africa made a memorable comeback to cricket by winning their first match against Australia and to also emerge among the top 4 teams to qualify for the knockout stages. At the end of the league stage, 4 teams had reserved their berth in the semi-finals, New Zealand, England, South Africa and Pakistan.
Semi-Final 1: Pakistan vs New Zealand
An in-form New Zealand were set to face Pakistan in the first semi-final. Pakistan had qualified into the semis with just 4 wins on the board, just as the Aussies, but they were awarded an extra point since one of their matches was called off. It was certainly a big task for the men in green to counter the Kiwis, who seemed unstoppable at that moment. The hosts won the toss and chose to bat first. Pakistan had a great bowling line-up with the likes of Wasim Akram, Imran Khan & Mushtaq Ahmed. They did provide the necessary breakthroughs for the team as the Kiwis were 3/87.
It was the then captain MD Crowe (91 off 83 balls) & Rutherford (50 off 68 balls) who brought back the team to eventually set a target of 263. In response, Pakistan also had a disappointing start by losing 2 early wickets for 84 runs. However, the had enough depth in their batting and the middle-order rose up to the occasion. Javed Miandad and Inzamam-ul-Haq scored their half-centuries respectively and ensured their team crosses the winning line comfortably. Pakistan became the first team to qualify for the 1992 world cup and it was also their first time to play the final of this coveted tournament.
Semi-Final 2: South Africa vs England
The second semi-final was perhaps the most controversial world cup games of all time. With 22 runs required to win from 13 balls, South Africa looked poised to win the game, with Lewis and Reeve on the crease. However, the match was affected by rain and had to be stopped for 10-minutes. What followed after that is still something that haunts the proteas. The most productive overs method was applied, which revised the target to 21 runs from 1 ball. The game then went to England’s hands, as they had qualified for their consecutive world cup final.
FINALS OF THE WORLD CUP 1992
Pakistan were going into the final to face England with an eerie past experience. In their previous fixture in the league matches, England had bowled out Pakistan for a mere 74 runs, which was the second lowest score in a world cup match till then. The memory of that match was undoubtedly haunting Pakistan, but vengeance won over it, as they looked determined to face the English. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first. However, they had a bad start yet again losing their openers for 24 runs. As the cloud of yet another rout appeared, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad came to the rescue with their brilliant knocks of 72 runs off 110 balls and 58 runs off 98 balls. A cameo by Inzamam-ul-Haq (42 off 35) and Wasim Akram (33 off 18) helped the team reach a total of 249.
WASIM AKRAM BOWLED PAKISTAN TO A WIN
England had a target of 250 to win their first ever world cup title. They were the only team to feature in the most number of World cup finals without a win. However, they had the most disappointing start ever. Ian Botham got out on a duck with just 6 runs on the board. Pakistan were also successful in getting quick successions as they had taken 4 wickets by giving away 69 runs. England, however, bounced back with a strong 71-run partnership between Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother. As the batsmen started to settle down, Imran Khan brought back his star pacer Wasim Akram into the attack.
Akram bowled Lamb and also sent Lewis on a golden duck, taking 2 wickets in quick successions. From here, it was difficult to get back for England. Aaqib Javed sent Fairbrother back to the pavilion and it was captain Imran Khan who took the onus upon himself to finish the business for Pakistan, by taking a wicket in his last over. With this, Pakistan bowled out England at 227 to win their first-ever world cup title. A team which started tentatively, eventually proved its mettle and made history on 25th March 1992. What followed from there was an upward swing to Pakistan’s cricket career, who went on to become one of the toughest teams in cricketing history.
FACTS FROM THE WORLD CUP 1992
1992 was the very first time that the teams used the white kookaburra & coloured uniforms.
World Cup 1992 would probably be remembered for not witnessing a 5-wicket haul.
Martin Crowe scored 456 runs in the tournament. Javed Miandad & Peter Kirsten also crossed the 400 run-mark. Miandad went past Richards 1013 runs in World Cup cricket.
The World Cup 1992 saw eight hundreds, though none in excess of 120.
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