KARACHI: England held the first Cricket World Cup in 1975. The first three tournaments were also known as the Prudential Cup with sponsorship from Prudential plc, a financial services company.
The cricket matches consisted of 60 overs per team and it was played with traditional white uniform and red balls. There were only day matches and the tournament is held ever four years.
Till the 1992 Cricket World Cup, only 8 teams took part in the tournament. Later on, the number of teams increased and in Cricket World Cup 2007, 16 teams participated.
In 1975, England, New Zealand, India, East Africa, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka participated and in 1979 Canada replaced East Africa.
In 1983, Zimbabwe entered the arena and Canada made the exit. The same teams participated in the 1987 Cricket World Cup. In 1992, South Africa joined the group and that year 9 teams took part in the tournament.
By 1996, the number of groups increased to 12 with the participation of three new teams namely, UAE, Netherlands and Kenya. Bangladesh and Scotland replaced UAE and Netherlands in the 1999 Cricket World Cup.
The number of teams in 2003 Cricket World Cup increased to 14 with the participation of Namibia and Canada and the non-participation of Scotland.
England consecutively hosted the first three tournaments and the 1987 tournament became the first World Cup to be hosted outside England.
Neutral umpires were introduced in the Cricket World Cup 1987.
Many positive changes occurred in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Coloured clothing with names printed on the back and floodlights for most of the 36 games were introduced.
It was also the beginning of the use of white balls, a change from the usual red balls.
The fielding circle rules were refined allowing only two men outside the circle for the first 15 overs. The 1996 Cricket World Cup saw the first appearance of the third umpire in front of the TV monitor.
Some outstanding matches added spirit to the tournament.
One of them was Kenya’s victory against the West Indies in a match held at Pune in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Kenya’s Maurice Odumbe and Rajab Ali took three wickets and crushed West Indies for 93.
The match between Zimbabwe and Australia in the 1983 Cricket World Cup and the Indian captain Kapil Dev’s exceptional performance by hitting an undefeated 175 out of 266 for 8 during the same tournament was amazing. He hit 16 fours and six sixes to reach his score. Brilliant bowling by England’s Geoff Boycott in the team’s match against Australia and Pakistan is also unforgettable.
Many records in the Cricket World Cup history have contributed to all the 9 tournaments played. The records include best batting strike rate, highest individual scores, highest run-scorers, best bowling analysis, best bowling economy rate, best bowling strike rate, highest wicket-takers, highest team totals, lowest team totals, most cricket catches and most dismissals.
Though initially the Cricket World Cup captured the attention of hundreds of spectators, it has now attracted millions who are eagerly waiting to watch this year’s tournament.