1975 Cricket World Cup - The Inaugural Men's Cricket World Cup

The 1975 World Cup, played from June 7 to June 21, comprised 15 matches played in a 60-over per side format. West Indies were crowned the champions after defeating Australia in the final.

1975 Cricket World Cup - The Inaugural Men's Cricket World Cup
Umaima Saeed

Written by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-10-31

The inaugural men's Cricket World Cup, officially known as the Prudential Cup '75, marked a significant milestone in the history of ODI cricket, which was only 18 matches old. Hosted in England from 7 June to 21 June 1975, this historic tournament was organized by the International Cricket Conference, later renamed International Cricket Council (ICC) and sponsored by the Prudential Assurance Company.

Eight countries participated, consisting of the six established Test-playing teams of that era – Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the West Indies. In addition, it included two prominent Associate nations at the time – Sri Lanka and East Africa. These teams were grouped into two sets of four, where each team played the others within their group once. The top two teams from each group advanced to the semi-finals, and the winners of these semi-final matches faced off in the final. 

1975 Cricket World Cup

Groups

Group AGroup B
England Australia 
IndiaPakistan
New Zealand West Indies
East AfricaSri Lanka
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Each match was played in a 60-over format per team, in traditional white clothing and with the red ball. In the event of a washout, teams had the option to utilize one of their two reserve days for the matches.

In the semi-finals, Australia won over England, while the West Indies - the tournament favourites - defeated New Zealand. Sir Clive Lloyd-led West Indies defeated Australia in the final held at Lord's, emerging as the inaugural World Cup champions with a 17-run margin.
It can be noted that the 1975 inaugural men's ODI Cricket World Cup wasn't the very first Cricket World Cup. In 1973, England hosted the inaugural Women's Cricket World Cup, preceding the men's tournament by two years.

1975 Cricket World Cup - The Final Showdown

In the grand showdown at Lord's on June 21, Australia chose to field against the West Indies. The first dramatic moment unfolded when opener Roy Fredericks, batting on seven off 12, attempted a six off Dennis Lillee's bouncer, and in the process lost his balance. One of his legs touched the stumps and removed the bails. Fredericks was declared out hit-wicket. This was also the first instance of hit-wicket in international cricket.

Soon later, the West Indies were reduced to 50-3. But captain Clive Lloyd's partnership with Rohan Kanhai brought back the West Indies into the game. Together, they transformed the match, amassing 149 runs for the fourth wicket. Kanhai played a second fiddle to Lloyd, who blazed to 102 (85) with the help of 12 fours and two sixes. Kanhai, playing his last international match, scored 55. 

The likes of Keith Boyce (34) and Bernard Julien (26*) also made significant contributions to the eventual total of 291 for 8. For Australia, left-arm seamer Gary Gilmour shone with the ball, taking 5/48.

Australia's run chase began steadily, as they reached 80/1 after 20 overs. Alan Turner (40) and captain Ian Chappell (62), both of whom were run out, displayed grit with the bat. But with no major contribution from the rest of the batsmen, Australia fell short of the target by 17 runs. Boyce picked up four wickets, while Vivian Richards executed three run-outs. In all, five of the Australian batsmen were run out, which signified how brilliant West Indies' fielding was. 

West Indies became the first team to win the World Cup, before winning it again in 1979. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, awarded the Cricket World Cup to Lloyd, who was also named the Player of the Match in recognition of his century. 

Lloyd is widely acclaimed as one of the best captains in cricket history. he led the West Indies from 1974 to 1985, overseeing three World Cups. His team clinched victory twice in 1975 and 1979, and secured the runner-up position in 1983.

1975 Cricket World Cup

Match Results

DateTeam 1Team 2WinnerGround
7 JunEnglandIndiaEnglandLord's
7 JunEast AfricaNew ZealandNew ZealandBirmingham
7 JunAustraliaPakistanAustraliaLeeds
7 JunSri LankaWest IndiesWest IndiesManchester
11 JunEnglandNew ZealandEnglandNottingham
11 JunEast AfricaIndiaIndiaLeeds
11 JunAustraliaSri LankaAustraliaThe Oval
11 JunPakistanWest IndiesWest IndiesBirmingham
14 JunEnglandEast AfricaEnglandBirmingham
14 JunIndiaNew ZealandNew ZealandManchester
14 JunAustraliaWest IndiesWest IndiesThe Oval
14 JunPakistanSri LankaPakistanNottingham
18 JunEnglandAustraliaAustraliaLeeds
18 JunNew ZealandWest IndiesWest IndiesThe Oval
21 JunAustraliaWest IndiesWest IndiesLord's
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1975 Cricket World Cup - The Top Performers 

New Zealand's Glenn Turner was the top run-scorer at the 1975 World Cup, with 333 runs in four matches at an average of 166.50. This included an unbeaten 171 against East Africa, the highest individual score in the Prudential World Cup. England's Dennis Amiss was the second top run-scorer with 243 runs at an average of 60.75. Pakistan's Majid Khan secured the third spot with 209 runs. Keith Fletcher from England (207) and Alan Turner from Australia (201) claimed the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

The most wickets were taken by Australia's Gary Gilmour. He took 11 wickets in only two matches – the semi-final and the final. Bernard Julien and Keith Boyce from the West Indies both achieved second place, each claiming 10 wickets. Meanwhile, New Zealand's Dayle Hadlee and the West Indies' Andy Roberts both managed to secure eight wickets each.

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"It was the most disgraceful and selfish performance I have ever seen. His excuse (to me) was, the wicket was too slow to play shots but that was a stupid thing to say after England had scored 334”

GS Ramchand, Indian team manager, 1975 World Cup

India's performance at the 1975 Cricket World Cup

Arriving at the World Cup with just two ODIs under their belt, India's lack of experience became evident. Under the captaincy of Srinivasa Raghavan Venkataraghavan, they won only one out of three matches. India’s only win came over East Africa, which is now remembered as their first-ever win at the World Cup.

A notable highlight of India's campaign was Sunil Gavaskar's peculiar innings against England, which received flak. The opener played one of the slowest knocks in ODIs, scoring an unbeaten 36 from a remarkable 174 balls. India lost this match by 202 runs. Chasing 335 to win, they mustered only 132-3. 

Sunil Gavaskar 1975 World Cup.jpeg"It was the most disgraceful and selfish performance I have ever seen. His excuse (to me) was, the wicket was too slow to play shots but that was a stupid thing to say after England had scored 334. The entire party is upset about it. Our national pride is too important to be thrown away like this,” GS Ramchand, Indian team's manager during the 1975 World Cup, was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. 

 Gavaskar, nevertheless, ended as India's top run-scorer in the 1975 World Cup (113), primarily due to his unbeaten 65 against East Africa, while seamer Abid Ali, with six wickets, emerged as the team's leading wicket-taker. India's last match in the 1975 World Cup - against New Zealand, was also the last of Ali's ODI career. 

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Umaima Saeed

Umaima Saeed

Umaima Saeed is a professional sports writer whose articles have been featured in several leading websites. She writes long-form content on sports, particularly cricket. She has a penchant for telling human-interest stories. Umaima has contributed articles on cricket to more than a dozen publications, both in print and online.

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