Under the auspices of I.C.C. World Cup Tournament is conducted every four year. First World Cup Tournament was played in 1975 which was won by the West Indies beating Australia by a margines of 17 runs. Second World Cup was again won by the West Indies in 1979 this time beating England by 92 runs in the Final. Third World Cup was won by India in 1983 beating West Indies by margines of 43 runs. The fourth World Cup went to Australia in 1987, when they defeated England by a narrow margin of five runs. Fifth World Cup was snatched by Pakistan in 1992, when England again lost to Pakistan by 22 runs. Sixth World Cup went Sri Lanka when Australia was the loser in the final match. Seventh 1999 cup went to Australia when they defeated Pakistan in the final by eight wickets.
Eighth World Cup was again snatched by Australia from India. When they won the final by two wickets. And the ninth World Cup has once again been claimed by Australia when they defeated Sri Lanka in the final by a margin of 53 runs. Australia has thus won the World Cup for the third time in a series showing their supremacy in the game. Over all, in the nine tournaments held so far, Australia has been the winner four times, West Indies winning the cup two times whereas India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka winning the cup only once each. Australia has reached the finals six times wherein twice they have lost. West Indies have played in the finals three times and once they lost to India. India and Pakistan both have had similar fates each playing two times in the final and winning once and losing once. England, the father of the game has played finals three times but has not been able to win the cup even once. It is only a matter of chance that the host country has not been able to win the cup even once.
The Ninth World Cup Tournament was hosted by the West Indies from 13th of March 2007 to 29th April, 2007, really a cumbersome, lengthy and boring tournament spread over a period of 50 days. Apart form the 2 semi finals and one final, 48 matches had to be played in the tournament.
After long waiting period of four years the curtain of the largest international show of cricket was lifted in Montego Bay (Jamaica) at Cavin Lightlay Stadium by Sir Garfield Sobers, a great cricketer of his days. More then 2000 arties participated in the colourful performance of the opening ceremony. The show named “Windees Energy” continued for forty five minutes. It was extremely fascinating, absorbing and attractive. This was an unforgettable picture of Carrilean culture which knew no oceanic boundaries and it seemed as if all the nine islands had merged into one single whole. The authorized song of the tournament, “The Game of Love and unity” was so aweet, stylish and touching that players from all the participating countries were for a moment turned into one single unit i.e. CRICKET.
Sixteen teams participated in the ninth World Cup Tournament with 240 players out of whom 153 were new faces. Barmuda and Ireland teams participated in the tournament for the first time. Teams were arranged one behind the other in Alphabetical order of the names of the participating countries for parade march in the stadium. Australian team, the last winner of the cup led the march followed by Bangladesh, Bermuda, Canada, England, Bharat, Ireland, Kenya, Holland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Shri Lanka, Zimbabwe and the host team of West Indies in the last.
All the sixteen teams were divided into 4 groups- A top D and matches were so arranged that out of sixteenth eight teams were to be selected to be super eight in order of their performance. The opening match was played between the host team, West Indies and Pakistan on 13th March 2007 in which Pakistan lost to the host by a margin of 54 runs and again in their match with a very weak team of Ireland. Pakistan was knocked out on a meager score of 132 runs, a target which Irish team easily acquired in 41.4 avers for the loss of seven wickets. This was second consecutive defeat of Pakistan.
And what an irony of fate, the same day Indian contingent was badly humbled by Bangladesh in their first encounter of the tournament. A team studded with world class a player that was dreaming of reaching and winning the final to annex the trophy could not withstand the Bangladesh offence. Then, this is why cricket is called a game of uncertainties. It was again evidenced by the defeat of Pakistan team at the hands of Ireland. As a consequence Pakistan team was ousted from the tournament as such an early stage. The outcome of this unexpected defeat was the sudden demise of Pakistani coach Bob Wilmer which is said to be a cold blooded murder, an incident unprecedented in the history World Cup Tournament.
In their second match of the tournament team India managed a come back defeating Bermuda by a large margin of 257 runs. Winning the toss Bermuda invited team India to bat first. Indian squad rose to the occasion and scored a mammoth score of 413 runs for the loss of five wickets. this was the highest ever score in the history of One Day Internationals, the previous best being 398 for 5 by Sri Lanka against Kenya I 1996. but, as luck would have it, in their Match against Sri Lanka on 23rd March 2007 team India failed to chase an ordinary target of 250 runs set by Sri Lanka and were bundled out for a meager 185 runs in merely 43.3 over’s. Top order batsmen badly failed, Sachin unable to open his account, Yuvraj out for six and Dhoni also out for zero. This defeat proved to be the lost nail of Team India coftin and they had to be back home with all scheme and agony.
After a tiresome series of matches and with all uncertainties and reversals the supper eight teams were Australia, Newzealand, Srilanka, England, South Africa, West Indies, Ireland and Bangladesh. Out the super eight Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa entered the semi finals, whereas England, West Indies, Ireland and Bangladesh were knocked out. First semi final was played between Sri Lanka and New Zealand on 24th April 2007 in Jamaica wherein Sri Lanka forced a decisive victory over kiwis and thus qualified for the final. In the second semifinal Australia crushed South Africa with a seven wicket victory to meet Sri Lanka in the final.
Final match was played between Australia and Sri Lanka on 28th April 2007 at Barbados and Australia maintained their supremacy in the game. Their wicketkeeper opening batsman Gilchrist played an excellent superb innings of 149 runs against 104 balls hitting fastest century in the world cup tournament (100 runs 72 balls). Australian scored 281 runs in 36 over’s. Due to interruption by rain Sri Lankans were given a target of 269 runs in 36 overs but they tamely bowed down and cold score only 215 runs for eight wickets 36 over’s allotted to them conceding a defeat by 53 runs. Adams Gilchrist was given “Man of the Match” award. Matthews Heyden remains the Golden Bat award whereas McGrowth was adjudged the best player of the World Cup Tournament. Partnership of 172 runs between Gilchrist and Heyden was the best partnership of the Tournament.
Brian Lara, Sri Lankan captain announced his retirement from first class cricket. Both of them are cricketers who will always be remembered for their service to the cricket world. Poor performance by team India and Pakistan has given a great shock to the sub-continent and there is great upheaval in both the countries
Before the commencement of the World Cup, cricket panits were under estimating the Australian team in view of their defeat at the hands of England in the final match of triangular series and thereafter they had to face defeat in Newzealand. But the Australians won the World Cup for the fourth time and for the third time in a row. It is interesting to note that Australia had not lost any match in the World Cup tournament of 2003 and again in 2007 they remained unbeaten in spite of the fact that their performance in the recent past had been dismal. How could they achieve this marvelous feat? The answer is their fighting spirit, their discipline, determination, devotion, strong will, unity and above all their team spirit. It is through these virtues that they achieved what they really deserved. They outplayed their opponents in all respects. Other teams should learn a lession from the Australians and improve their performance to give them a befitting reply in the next World Cup when most of their players will have retired and new faces will be coming up.