Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fascinating Facts from the History of Cricket World Cups

1. Highest run-getter in World Cups
During his knock of 52 against the Netherlands in the 2003 World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar surpassed Javed Miandad (1083) to become the highest run-getter in World Cup history. Eventually, Tendulkar finished with 2278 runs in World Cups.

2. Brothers in arms
Dayle Hadlee, Richard Halee and Barry Hadlee all played for New Zealand in the inaugural World Cup in England.

3. The Youngest World Cup winner
Aged 22 years and 3 months, Piyush Chawla was the youngest to taste World Cup success when MS Dhoni's devils defeated Sri Lanka in Mumbai in 2011.

4. Martyn ignores broken finger to be part of history
Australian batsman Damien Martyn batted with a broken finger and shared a match-changing 234-run stand with Ricky Ponting in the 2003 World Cup final. Martyn finished unbeaten on 88.

5. The best and worst bowling average
Pakistani batsman Mohammad Yousuf has the best bowling average (0.00) in World Cup history. Yousuf took the wicket of Zimbabwe's Christopher Mpofu with the very first ball he bowled in the 2007 World Cup. Contrastingly, New Zealand off-spinner John Bracewell has the worst average. Featuring in two World Cups (1983, 1987), Bracewell played seven matches, conceded 310 runs and picked up just 1 wicket, meaning he had an average of 310.

6. Tendulkar's clever strategy
During the 2003 World Cup, ever since India changed their opening partnership after their group game against Australia, Virender Sehwag took strike for three successive matches. However, when India took on arch-rivals Pakistan, Sachin Tendulkar thought Wasim Akram would have too many tricks up his sleeve for young Sehwag and told him that he will take strike. Eventually, Tendulkar hit a couple of lovely boundaries in the very first over to set the tone for a convincing Indian victory.

7. A shocking revelation from Madan Lal
"I was not supposed to bowl the over in which I dismissed Viv Richards," expressed Madan Lal, several years after the 1983 World Cup final. Perhaps, destiny wanted the underdogs to become top dogs.

8. Pakistan end Australia's rampaging streak
Australia's 34-match unbeaten streak in World Cups was ended by Pakistan in 2011. During that sequence, Australia won three titles, beat 15 different opponents and used 34 players.

9. The oldest to play the World Cup
In 1996, Nolan Clarke of the Netherlands became the oldest player (47 years, 257 days) to play in a World Cup.

10. The first ever hat-trick in the history of World Cups
Chetan Sharma dismissed Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Chatfield off successive deliveries in 1987, thus recording the first ever hat-trick in the history of World Cups. It was also the first hat-trick by an Indian in ODIs.

11. The coin goes up twice in a World Cup final
The coin had to be tossed twice at the 2011 World Cup final. When the coin went up for the first time, match referee Jeff Crowe could not hear the call from Kumar Sangakkara. The coin came down as heads and Sangakkara reckoned he called the right side of the coin and was about to say that his side would bat first. However, MS Dhoni said that he heard a call of 'tails' from Sangakkara. Crowe then said that the coin would go up once more.

12. Tendulkar didn't want Chappell for 2007 World Cup
In his autobiography - Playing It My Way - Sachin Tendulkar revealed that he did not want Greg Chappell with the team for the 2007 World Cup. Several Indian players accused Chappell of creating a negative environment in the dressing room.

13. Cricket experiences 100mph for the first time
Pakistan's Shoaib Akhtar bowled cricket's first recorded 100 mph delivery against England's Nick Knight in the 2003 World Cup.

14. When the rain-rule betrayed South Africa
South Africa needed 22 runs off 13 balls when the heavens opened up during their 1992 semifinal against England. When the players strode out to resume the match after the rain eased off, the revised target, courtesy the controversial rain-rule method, was said to be 22 needed off 7 balls. Moments later, the big screen showed 22 needed off 1 ball (the target was actually 21 off 1 ball), ending South Africa's hopes of making it to the final.

15. A very very emotional hundred
Sachin Tendulkar returned from his father's funeral in India the day before and hit a splendid 100 against Kenya at Bristol in the 1999 World Cup. He was given a standing ovation when he made his entry into the ground. He went on to record an unbeaten 237-run stand with Rahul Dravid, then the highest partnership for the third wicket in ODIs.

16. One of the greatest comebacks by a bowler

After carting Venkatesh Prasad for a boundary during the 1996 World Cup quarterfinal match against India, Pakistan's Aamer Sohail showed the direction in which he hit the ball to Prasad, gesturing him to go and fetch it. Prasad returned strongly the next ball by knocking over Sohail's off stump and signalled him to walk back to the dressing room. Eventually, India went on to clinch the high-voltage clash and progress to the semifinal.

17. Miandad comes out of retirement to play six Worlds Cups
Javed Miandad returned to international cricket just 10 days after announcing his retirement in 1994. Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto had a discussion with Miandad, after which the star batsman decided to change his mind. Featuring in the 1996 World Cup, Miandad became the first cricketer to play six World Cups.

18. Gilly uses a squash ball to smash the cricket ball
During the 2007 World Cup final, Adam Gilchrist used a squash ball in his bottom hand glove to enhance the grip and prevent the bat from turning in his hands. It was his batting coach, Bob Meuleman, who had advised Gilchrist to use the foreign object for better grip. After getting to his hundred, Gilchrist credited his coach by raising his left hand and pointing to the squash ball.

19. A World Cup without playing a single game
Interestingly, left-arm pacer Sunil Valson became the first player to win a World Cup without even featuring in a single game. Valson was selected in the Indian squad for the 1983 World Cup, but he never got a game in the tournament. Ironically, he was never picked for India again.

20. Spinners can't take the new ball?
In the 1992 World Cup, Dipak Patel proved that spinners could be a surprise weapon with the new ball. Opening the bowling, the Kenyan-born off-spinner, who played for Worcestershire, before moving to New Zealand, was the most economical bowler in the tournament (for a minimum of 15 overs bowled). His figures in the tournament read: 79-8-245-8 at an economy rate of 3.10.

Thats it for now. Thanks for reading. Many more such history creating facts to come from the world cups to come.

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