Which team won the first cricket World Cup?

West Indies won the first-ever cricket World Cup played in 1975 in England. Unfortunately, West Indies could not qualify for the 2023 World Cup.

Which team won the first cricket World Cup?
Umaima Saeed

Written by: Umaima Saeed

(Sports Writer)

Fact checked by: Dillip Mohanty

(Sports Editor)

Last updated: 2023-09-26

A brief overview of world cups

The ODI World Cup is one of the most widely-watched sporting events globally, particularly in nations passionate about cricket. To date, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has organized a total of 12 ODI World Cups, each occurring at four-year intervals.

The first cricket World Cup, also known as the Prudential Cup, was a momentous event in the history of cricket. West Indies were the winners of the first cricket World Cup. The event took place from June 7 to June 21, 1975, marking the beginning of a new era for the sport.

Background format of the first ever cricket World Cup

The idea of a global cricket tournament had been in development for some time. The first official ODI match was played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1971. This match was arranged as a substitute for the rain-affected third Test of the 1970–71 Ashes series between Australia and England. The format of the ODI at that time featured 40 overs per side, with each over consisting of eight deliveries. In this historic match, Australia successfully chased down a target of 191 runs, securing victory with 42 balls to spare.

A couple of years later, discussions about starting a men's World Cup gained momentum. In 1973, when the first women's World Cup was held, concrete plans were made to start a men's World Cup, which eventually came to realisation in 1975 with the inaugural Cricket World Cup.

England, which had a rich cricketing history, was chosen as the host nation for the first World Cup. The tournament was sponsored by Prudential Assurance Company, which is why it was also called the Prudential Cup.

The format of the first Cricket World Cup in 1975 differed from the format followed today. It was played in a round-robin format between eight teams across seven venues in England. The participants included six Test playing nations and two associate nations: England, West Indies, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and East Africa. These teams were divided into two groups of four, and each team played every other team in their group once. The top two teams from each group would then advance to the semi-finals, followed by the final. The matches, each consisting of 60 overs per side, were played in traditional white clothing with a red ball.

At the end of the group stage, England and New Zealand emerged as the top two teams in Group A, while the West Indies and Australia topped group B. These four teams successfully qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament. Under the leadership of Clive Lloyd, the West Indies were a formidable force in world cricket. They had a strong lineup of fast bowlers and aggressive batsmen and went on to become the first team to win the World Cup.

The first ever ODI World Cup match

The first-ever match of the World Cup took place on June 7, 1975, at Lord's Cricket Ground in London between England and India. Dennis Amiss from England scored the first-ever century in World Cup history, helping England to a total of 334/4, which was the highest score by a team in a 60 over match at the time. Amiss was aided by Keith Fletcher and Chris Old who contributed with a half-century each.

India, led by Sunil Gavaskar, faced a daunting task in their chase. Gavaskar, who opened the innings, displayed resilience but was unable to accelerate the scoring. Despite facing 174 balls and remaining unbeaten, Gavaskar managed to score only 36 runs. England won the match by 202 runs.

1975 Cricket World Cup – Matches & Results

1975 CRICKET WORLD CUP

MATCHES AND RESULTS

DATEMATCHVENUEWINNER
JUNE 7ENG VS INDLORDSENG
JUNE 7NZ VS EAFEDGBASTONNZ
JUNE 7AUS VS PAKHEADINGLEYAUS
JUNE 7SL VS WIOLF TRAFFORDWI
JUNE 11ENG VS NZTRENT BRIDGEENG
JUNE 11EAF VS INDHEADINGLEYIND
JUNE 11AUS VS SLTHE OVALAUS
JUNE 11PAK VS WIEDGEBASTONWI
JUNE 14AUS VS WITHE OVALWI
JUNE 14PAK VS SLTRENT BRIDGEPAK
JUNE 14ENG VS EAFEDGEBASTONENG
JUNE 14IND VS NZOLD TRAFFORDNZ
JUNE 18ENG VS AUSHEADINGLEYAUS
JUNE 18NZ VS WITHE OVALWI
JUNE 22WI VS AUSLORDSWI
Logo

1975 Cricket World Cup: the semi-finals

As the tournament progressed, the West Indies emerged as the dominant team, winning all three of their group-stage matches. They started their campaign with a nine-wicket win over Sri Lanka, followed by a one-wicket win over Pakistan and a seven-wicket win over Australia. This helped them progress to the semifinal, where they beat New Zealand by five wickets to set up the final clash against England. West Indies' powerful batting lineup, led by Clive Llyod and Alvin Kallicharran, along with a fearsome pace attack, made them the team to beat.

The first semifinal featured England and Australia, while the West Indies took on New Zealand in the second semifinal at The Oval on June 18. England completely outplayed Australia in the first semi-final at Headingley. The West Indies, on the other hand, defeated New Zealand, setting up a final clash with England.

1975 Cricket World Cup Final - West Indies vs Australia

The final took place on June 21, 1975, at Lord's Cricket Ground in London. It was a momentous occasion, and cricketing history was about to be made.

Batting first, the West Indies faced some early hiccups but managed to score a total of 291 on the back of a century from Lloyd. After surviving a dropped catch on 26, the West Indies skipper went on to score a century off 82 balls with 12 fours and 2 sixes before being dismissed on 102.

Despite a five-wicket haul by Gary Gilmour, the formidable batting display by Lloyd proved to be a substantial obstacle for Australia. In the end, the Ian Chappell-led side fell short of the target by 17 runs. Keith Boyce played a pivotal role for the West Indies by picking up four wickets.

Throughout the tournament, the West Indies bowlers were at their best. Bernard Julien (10 wickets), Keith Boyce (10 wickets) and Andy Roberts (8 wickets) were among the top wicket-takers in the tournament.

The West Indies' victory in 1975 marked the beginning of their dominance in world cricket for the next few years. They went on to win the next World Cup in 1979, and finished as runners-up in 1983, solidifying their reputation as cricketing giants. Lloyd, who captained the West Indies from 1974 to 1985 including three World Cups, went on to become one of the greatest captains in World Cup history.

The once-dominant West Indies team failed to secure qualification for the 2023 Cricket World Cup. This marks a significant setback for a team that had previously been a dominant force in international cricket. 

India's performance in the first Cricket World Cup in 1975

India's campaign in the first cricket World Cup proved to be a disappointing experience. The campaign began with a significant setback as India lost their opening match by a big margin of 202 runs. In their next match, they went on to defeat minnows East Africa by 10 wickets before losing to New Zealand in a virtual quarter-final. 

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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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