When was the first ICC Cricket World Cup?

Know who won the first World Cup in international cricket. Also, know when was the first World Cup held and in which country.

When was the first ICC Cricket World Cup?
Subhayan Dutta

Written by: Subhayan Dutta

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-11-03

Cricket is still an evolving sport. From its timeless Test avatar to the T20 format we witness today, the sport has prospered and evolved over the years in the erstwhile British-governed Commonwealth nations. Unlike, say, football, which has retained its core in the last two centuries, cricket has become a completely different entity to recognize.

The ICC Cricket World Cup is a primary example of the same. Before the ODI cricket was accidentally introduced back in 1972, when rain washed away three days of action from an Ashes Test in Melbourne, leading to administrators to organize a one-day match - a sudden invention - cricket has changed its colour multiple times - both literally and figuratively. 

Who conducts Cricket World Cups?

The Imperial Cricket Conference (ICC) was the governing body for the sport from 1909 onwards, with Australia, England, and South Africa being the three members of it. Slowly other cricket boards joined the body, and it was in 1965, that the Imperial Cricket Conference was named as the International Cricket Conference and in 1987 adopted its current name.

First Cricket World Cup

The 1975 Cricket World Cup was the first of its kind in cricket and was officially called as Prudential Cup '75 because Prudential Assurance Company sponsored it. The tournament took place in England between 7 June and 21 June 1975. A total of eight teams participated in the tournament - six Test-playing teams – Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the West Indies – and two Associate nations – Sri Lanka and East Africa.

All eight teams were divided into two groups - with each team playing each other once in their own group. Two top teams from each group qualified for the semi-finals. While hosts England and New Zealand were the top two teams in Group A, West Indies, and Australia raced ahead to be the two semi-finalists from Group B.

India, who were placed in Group A alongside England, New Zealand, and East Africa, could only win against East Africa while losing to England and New Zealand. Many years later, Krishnamachari Srikanth, who played a big role in India winning the 1983 World Cup, later described East Africa as “nothing but a bunch of Gujjus (Gujaratis) put together” to form a cricket team.

Sunil Gavaskar in 1975 Cricket World Cup.pngIn the other group, West Indies, led by effervescent Clive Llyod, were on a roll. The likes of Alvin Kallicharran with the bat, and Bernard Julien, Keith Boyce, and Andy Roberts with the ball, had their game sorted so much that the likes of Alan Turner, Gary Gilmour, and Ross Edwards from Australia didn’t have any answer.

So dominant were the West Indies that they won all three games to top the table. Australia were second, and both teams joined England and New Zealand in the semi-finals. England locked horns with archrivals Australia whereas West Indies and New Zealand squared up against each other. 

MATCH RESULTS

1975 WORLD CUP

Match 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
Logo

For the first time, cricket became such a hardcore facet of dominance beyond the Ashes, and the cricket-loving fans of England were lapping onto the format as it existed for a long time. Even though the Australia-England game was a low-scoring thriller when Gilmour took six wickets for 14 runs to reduce England to 37 for seven, even more fans thronged to the venue to boo the Aussies, but the luck was hard on them. Gary Gilmour once again starred in the encounter, with an unbeaten 28 - the highest score by an Australian in that game - to canter home.

In the second semi-final at The Oval, New Zealand and West Indies fought it out in a rather high-scoring encounter. Remember, we’re talking about 1975 when scoring 200 in an ODI match was outside of the realm of expectations. Till lunch, New Zealand were 92 for no loss, but Bernard Julien and Andy Roberts were at their absolute best then. Vanburn Holder joined the party soon after as West Indies ensured New Zealand were all out for 158.

Chasing 159 was not going to be difficult for the power-packed West Indies side, but with the kind of bowling form that Richard Collinge had throughout the World Cup, it was never going to be easy.

But Roy Fredericks became the first casualty of Dayle Hadlee, with the team score reading only 8 before Gordon Greenidge and Alvin Kallicharran forged a 125-run partnership to guide West Indies closer to a victory. Even though Richard Collinge picked three quick wickets to create panic, West Indies secured an easy victory to ensure a final date with Australia.

Who won the first ICC World Cup?

West Indies won the first ICC Cricket World Cup to signal the start of a dominating phase in world cricket. The final was held at the Home of Cricket - Lord’s and was a properly high-scoring encounter. 
Clive Lloyd led from the front with another legendary century in the final, and he was ably supported by Rohan Kanhai, with whom he would go on to form many memorable partnerships later. Their 149-run partnership helped West Indies post a humongous total of 291/8.

India in the 1975 world cup vs Australia.jpegChasing 292 was a mammoth task for Australia. Unlike the West Indies, there were no single-star performers for Australia, but the Ian Chappell-led side had enough individual contributors from the game. Ian Chappell led from the front with a valiant 62, and Alan Turner was the second-highest run-scorer with 40 runs.

Keith Boyce struck at a regular interval for West Indies, and Australia eventually folded out for 274 runs in 58.5 overs, losing the game by 17 runs. West Indies were crowned the champions for the first-ever ICC Cricket World Cup in 1975 - and they would go on to do an encore in 1979 as well.

Sir Clive Lloyd became a legend of the West Indies, and no one has gone on to achieve the same status as a leader. Even though Sir Vivan Richards and Brian Lara became the epitome of cricketing superstardom, what Lloyd would add to the cricketing storyline would forever be remembered. The ICC Cricket World Cup kicked up a new level of interest in the sport, and ODI cricket became the new identity that the evolution of cricket would forever be grateful for.

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Subhayan Dutta

Subhayan Dutta

An M.A. in English Literature, Subhayan is an experienced journalist and sports writer. Having worked as a journalist at Hindustan Times, Subhayan covered diverse beats including sports, education, and health, showcasing his versatility and in-depth understanding of various subjects.

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