Sunday, March 29, 2015

ICC World Cup 2015: At the end it was like 1992 after all! Only for Australia.



There was a time when host nations just could not win the ICC World Cup. That trend was disrupted by India who held aloft the World Cup trophy in Mumbai in 2011, and now Australia have joined them after doing the same at the MCG in 2015. And while doing so, Australia also achieved numerous other remarkable distinctions

It is an unprecedented 5th ICC World Cup win for Australia. They have now won the World Cup in every continent that has hosted one, and probably every continent that will ever host an ICC World Cup.

They have appeared in an ICC World Cup Final in every decade since the inception of the World Cup in the 70s and have won at least 1 World Cup in every decade besides the 70s.

11 World Cups. 7 Finals. 5 Titles. Talk about dominating a sport. There is absolutely no cricketing nation like Australia.

Interestingly however, Australia is the only ICC World Cup Champion that did not win the World Cup in their first ever appearance in a Final. All the other champions - West Indies, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka - won the World Cup when they appeared in the Final for the first time.

There was an achievement for Darren Lehmann too, who became the first person to win an ICC World Cup as a player (1999) and as a coach (2015). Given the number of World Cups Australia wins, there might be some more players who will join Lehmann in achieving this feat in the future.

The build up to this World Cup for Pakistan fans was all about repeating the feat of 1992, the last time the World Cup was held in Australia & New Zealand when Imran Khan led Pakistan to an unlikely first ever win.

The hashtag #LetsRedo92 trended all over social media networks and fans went crazy citing similarities between 1992 and 2015.

What they probably forgot was that other teams may also be looking to do the same! i.e. #Redo92 !

Now that the ICC World Cup 2015 is over, one can easily look back and see why in fact it was like 1992 all over again.

1. In 1992, 89,000+ spectators at the MCG for the final broke the world record for attendance on a single day of cricket in Australia. In 2015, 93,000+ spectators at the MCG for the final broke the world record for attendance on a single day of cricket in Australia.

2. In 1992, Pakistan's captain Imran Khan top scored for his team with 72 and led Pakistan to victory in the World Cup Final in his last ever ODI appearance. In 2015, Australia's captain Michael Clarke top scored for his team with 74 and led Australia to victory in the World Cup Final in his last ever ODI appearance.

3. In 1992, Wasim Akram, a left arm paceman, picked up 3 wickets in the Final and was declared Man of the Match. In 2015, James Faulkner, a left arm paceman, picked up 3 wickets in the Final and was declared Man of the Match.

4. In 1992, Javed Miandad was Pakistan's top scorer in the World Cup with 437 runs at an average of 62.42 and he scored a 50 in the Final. In 2015, Steve Smith was Australia's top scorer in the World Cup with 402 runs at an average of 67.00 and he scored a 50 in the Final.

5. In 1992, New Zealand's Martin Crowe was the leading run scorer in the World Cup. In 2015, New Zealand's Martin Guptill was the leading run scorer in the World Cup.

6. In 1992, Wasim Akram, a left arm fast bowler and part of the World Cup winning team, was the leading wicket taker of the World Cup. In 2015, Mitchell Starc, a left arm fast bowler and part of the World Cup winning team, was the leading wicket taker of the World Cup.

7. In 1992, New Zealand dominated the World Cup beating every opposition except the eventual World Cup Champions, Pakistan. In 2015, New Zealand dominated the World Cup beating every opposition except the eventual World Cup Champions, Australia.

8. In 1992, Wasim Akram, Pakistan's left armer, came back for another spell in the middle of the innings and took two wickets in one over to take Pakistan ahead in the Final. In 2015, James Faulkner, Australia's left armer, came back for another spell in the middle of the innings and took two wickets in one over to take Australia ahead in the Final.

9. In 1992, Pakistan's Captain and Vice Captain were involved in a century partnership for the 3rd wicket. In 2015, Australia's Captain and Vice Captain were involved in a century partnership for the 3rd wicket.

10. In 1992, the 3rd highest run scorer of the World Cup was Peter Kirsten of South Africa. In 2015, the 3rd highest run scorer of the World Cup was AB De Villiers of South Africa.

11. In 1992, South Africa lost in the Semi Final to England who lost the Final. In 2015, South Africa lost in the Semi Final to New Zealand who lost in the Final.

12. In 1992, Pakistan reached their first ever World Cup Final after completing an improbable chase in the Semi Final at Eden Park. In 2015, New Zealand reached their first ever World Cup Final after completing an improbable chase in the Semi Final at Eden Park.

I'm sure we can find many more similarities if we keep looking, but it wasn't like 1992 the way we wanted it for Pakistan. It sure was for Australia, who are absolutely the best cricket nation this world has seen.

I don't think any other team has dominated a sport the way Australia has dominated cricket. Brazil comes to mind. They have also played in 7 FIFA World Cup titles, won 5 of them, and won them across 4 continents. However, that has come over 20 tournaments, as compared to 11 for Australia. If anything, Australia has been twice as dominant in cricket than Brazil has in Football. Australia's run also includes three consecutive World Cup wins, something Brazil has not managed.

Talk about dominating a sport. Salute to Australia!

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