Who Won the 1992 Cricket World cup?

Pakistan one of the underdogs of the 1992 cricket World Cup went on to win the trophy courtesy of some inspirational performances at the right time and an inspirational captain Imran Kahn.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2023-09-13

Imran Khan celebrating with team

Back in the day...

The fifth edition of the men’s cricket World Cup was played in Australia and New Zealand in 1992. The 1992 Cricket World Cup is the first World Cup to feature colored clothing, white ball, day-night games and black sightscreens. 9 teams participated in the 1992 cricket World Cup. Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa, West Indies, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe were the participating teams. Pakistan – then the underdog won their first and only World Cup in 1992 under the leadership of Imran Khan. 

Imran Khan came out of an early retirement

Imran Khan, the top allrounder in the world during the 80s had a prolific run as captain as he drew 3 series against the ferocious West Indies. He became the first Pakistan captain to win an away Test series in England in 1987. Under his captaincy, the team rose through the ranks to reach the semifinals of the 1987 World Cup but lost to eventual champions Australia resulting in Imran announcing his retirement. The President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq urged Imran to continue playing for the nation, an offer Imran accepted and continued leading the side for five more years.

After the1987 World Cup, Pakistan won a host of multi-team tournaments and series. They won against world champions Australia at home, defeated Sri Lanka in Sharjah, won the Champions Trophy involving India and West Indies in Sharjah, the coveted Nehru cup which had teams like India, Australia, England, Sri Lanka and West Indies and played in India. Pakistan defeated India at home, won the Austral-Asia Cup in UAE (Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh participated), clean swept New Zealand and West Indies at home, Sri Lanka at Sharjah again in 1990, tri series involving India and West Indies and lastly the home series versus Sri Lanka right before the World Cup. Javed Miandad also led the team in absence of Imran in the above period.

Pakistan's Journey

1992 Cricket World Cup

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Pakistan’s shaky start

Entering the 1992 World cup on a roll with a mix of experience and youth, the Imran Khan led side was smashed in their tournament opener by West Indies, who won by 10 wickets chasing 221 inside 47 overs. Rameez Raja scored an unbeaten century for Pakistan which wasn’t enough to put up a winning score. Success followed for Pakistan in the second game as they defeated Zimbabwe by 53 runs. Aamir Sohail was the centurion in this game taking his team to 254/4 batting first. A young Wasim Akram picked up 3/21 in his 10 overs restricting Zimbabwe to just 201/7.

Then came the lucky escape for the team which eventually helped the side to go through the semifinals. A strong England bowling attack skittled Pakistan for 74 in 40.2 overs with Derek Pringle taking 3 wickets for 8 runs in 50 balls. Imran’s contemporary Ian Botham ended with 2/12 in his 10 overs. In response, Wasim struck early removing the opposition captain Graham Gooch for just 3. After 8 overs, England reached 24/1 but due to inclement weather and consistent rain, the match was abandoned with both teams getting one point each.

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The next match was the first ever India Pakistan fixture in the history of World Cup

The next match was the first ever India Pakistan fixture in the history of World Cup. The match at Sydney Cricket Ground was reduced to 49-overs per side due to the slow over rate of the Pakistan team who bowled first and restricted India at 216/7 with Sachin Tendulkar scoring an unbeaten 54 in 62 balls. Chasing a gettable total, opener Aamer Sohail contributed 62 with Javed Miandad scoring 40 runs but the rest of the lineup couldn’t offer much resulting the team getting bundled for 173 in the final over. Fast bowling trio of Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar and Javagal Srinath all picked up 2 wickets apiece.

Another dramatic game followed with Pakistan taking on South Africa at Brisbane. Batting first, the Proteas scored 211/7 in their 50 overs. Chasing the target, Pakistan were 74/2 in the 22nd over when rain arrived and played spoilsport for an hour. Pakistan then had to chase a revised target of 194 in 36 overs but could only crawl to 173/8 with South Africa winning the game by 20 runs.

Aamer Sohail and Javed Miandad rescued Pakistan in the next and important game as they played against World champions and the co-hosts of the tournament, Australia at Perth. Batting first, the Pakistani order collapsed yet again with Steve Waugh taking 3 wickets. Chasing an easy total of 221, Australia were troubled by the Pakistan fast bowling trio of Wasim Akram (2/28), Aaqib Javed (3/21) and captain Imran Khan (2/32). In the later stages, leg spinner Mushtaq Ahmed chipped with 3 wickets skittling the Aussies for just 172 in 45.2 overs and creating ripples in the tournament. Before this fixture, Pakistan had lost 3 games, had one match abandoned and won only 1. Captain Imran Khan asked the players to play like ‘cornered tigers’, a famous term which continuous to be referred to the Pakistan team. What followed is written in the history books.

Pakistan’s resurgence at the business end

Mushtaq carried his form in the next match against Sri Lanka, taking 2 wickets and restricting the Lions for 212/6. A half century from Miandad ensured Pakistan took the game at Perth by 4 wickets and then later beat New Zealand by 7 wickets with Rameez Raja scoring yet another unbeaten century chasing 167 at Christchurch. It was both New Zealand and Pakistan’s final match of the group stage and a must-win encounter for the men in green. It was Pakistan’s 3rd consecutive victory. Australia and West Indies were the other 2 sides with 4 wins but with the game against England washed out, Pakistan had that extra point to enter the top 4 and reach the semifinals.

Most Runs For Pakistan

1992 Cricket World Cup

Javed Mianded94378962.4262.60/5
Ramiz Raja8349119*58.1664,742/0
Aamer Sohail1032611432.663.31/2
Imran Khan81857230.8352.71/1
Saleem Khan101165119.3377.331/1
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The group stage game against Pakistan was New Zealand’s 1st loss in the tournament and shook them a bit as well. Playing the same team in the semi-final at Eden Park, Auckland, the Kiwis batted first and scored 262/7; Martin Crowe top scoring with 91. Pakistan was the team with the lowest total in the tournament and now they were required to score their highest in the event to do the unthinkable. It was also to be the 2nd highest score chased in the tournament.

Aamer Sohail was dismissed cheaply in the 7th over but Raja and skipper Imran, batting at number 3 steadied the ship and scored 44 each. Javed Miandad stepped on the big stage and scored a wonderful 57 not out sharing a 87-run partnership with young Inzamam-ul-Haq who top scored with 60 in just 37 balls before getting run out in the 45th over. Wicketkeeper Moin Khan then hit 20 in 11 balls adding 26 runs for the 7th wicket to finish the game with 6 balls to spare. Pakistan had reached the World Cup final for the first time in the history of the game.

Most Wickets for Pakistan

1992 Cricket World Cup

Wasim Akram10184/3218.773.7629.8
Mushtaq Ahmed9163/4119.433.9829.2
Aaqib Javed10113/2129.813.8646.2
Imran Khan872/3235.854.1651.7
Aamer Sohail1042/26464.660
Iqbal Sikander431/30494.270
Ijaz Ahmed711/281494.13216
Wasim Haider311/36794.15114
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The Fairytale Final

Across the Tasman, England had defeated South Africa in dramatic fashion at the Sydney Cricket Ground to seal their spot in the finals as well. The finale on 25th March 1992, attended by 87,182 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground saw Imran winning the toss and deciding to bat first. Openers Sohail and Ramiz Raja both were back in the hut for 24 runs. Skipper Imran was the saviour again playing a determined captain’s knock of 72 in 110 deliveries with 5 fours and a six. Javed Miandad was helped with the running by Aamer Sohail in his innings of 58 in 98 balls. Imran was later joined by young prodigy Inzamam scoring a quick 42 in 35 balls to add 52 runs with Wasim Akram (33 off 18) for the 6th wicket. Derek Pringle finished his 10 overs with 3/22 restricting Pakistan at 249/6 with both teams getting a fair chance at the halfway stage.

Wasim and Aaqib Javed restricted the opening pair of Gooch and Botham and didn’t let them score freely. Akram chipped in the third over to remove Botham for a 6-ball duck with Aaqib dismissing number 3 Alec Stewart putting England in a spot at 21/2. Graeme Hick and Gooch added 38 runs for the 3rd wicket but Mushtaq Ahmed, bowling first change struck in the 19th over and removed Hick and Gooch in consecutive overs putting England down at 69/4 in 20.5 overs.

Neil Fairbrother batting at 5 tried to play a counterattacking knock and got to his half century adding 72 runs with Allan Lamb (31) who was bowled magnificently by an out swinging Wasim Akram delivery. Wasim found himself on a hattrick removing Chris Lewis first ball. England’s bottom 4 batters all reached double figures but with Aaqib Javed removing Fairbrother in the 43rd over, the requirement of 70 runs in 43 balls was too much for the tail.

Mushtaq removed Dermot Reeve in the next over with Phil DeFreitas walking back to the hut after a mix-up in the 48th over. Derek Pringle was unbeaten at 18 when skipper Imran Khan took it to himself to finish the game and fittingly taking the last wicket, dismissing Richard Illingworth for 14 in the final over with a slower delivery. Ramiz Raja took the catch at mid off and Pakistan were the World Champions with Imran Khan doing the job for the team 5 years after he decided to hang his boots. The 1992 World Cup final was his Imran Kahn’s last international appearance as he finally decided to retire from the game leaving a long-lasting legacy for Pakistan cricket.

Javed Miandad finished the tournament with 437 runs and was behind New Zealand’s Martin Crowe’s tally of 456 runs. Miandad scored his runs at an average of 62.42 and hit 5 half centuries in 9 innings. Ramiz Raja hit 2 centuries and hit 349 runs at 58.16. Aamer Sohail was the other centurion for Pakistan tallying 326 runs in 10 innings.

Left arm fast bowler Wasim Akram made his mark finishing the tournament as the highest wicket taker with 18 scalps and a best performance of 4/32. He conceded runs at an economy of 3.76 and averaged 18.77 per wicket. Mushtaq Ahmed was the joint 2nd highest wicket taker with Ian Botham and New Zealand’s Chris Harris taking 16 wickets. Akram’s new ball partner Aaqib Javed had 11 wickets to his name.

Skipper Imran Khan picked up 7 wickets and scored 185 runs in 8 matches and ended a successful ODI career comprising of 175 matches with 3709 runs and 182 wickets. He batting average in the last 10 years of his Test career was 50 and the bowling average was a brilliant 19. A number accumulated in 51 Tests. Overall Imran finished his international career with 7516 runs, 7 centuries, 37 half centuries and took 544 wickets in 263 matches finishing the career as one of the greatest allrounders the generation and the coming generation has ever seen.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.