1975 was the year, and it was time for the world to be introduced to a new global tournament, the limited overs World Cup. Test matches were the dominant forces at that time, but One Day Internationals gained popularity since its debut in 1971. The tournament was hosted by England and was named as the Prudential World Cup. In the final, West Indies beat Australia to become the first ever World Champions.
Format & Teams
Eight teams participated in the Prudential World Cup - Hosts England, West Indies, Australia, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and East Africa. Six of the teams were test playing nations, Sri Lanka and East Africa being the exceptions.
The teams were sorted into two groups, Group A was made of England, India, New Zealand and East Africa, whereas Group B consisted of Australia, West Indies, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Each team would receive 4 points for a win and 2 points for a tie or no result. Top two from each group would reach the semifinals.
The World Cup was held at 6 venues around England; Lord’s Cricket Ground (London), Edgbaston Cricket Ground (Birmingham), Trent Bridge (Nottingham), The Oval (London), Old Trafford Cricket Ground (Manchester) & Headingley (Leeds).
England beat India by a mammoth 202 runs to kick off the world cup. The only close encounter in the group stages was between West Indies and Pakistan, where the Carribeans beat Pakistan by one wicket. Chasing 267, Windies lost their 9th wicket 64 four runs away from the target. Wicketkeeper batsman Deryck Murray and fast bowler Andy Roberts put together a partnership of 64 runs to lead West Indies to a victory with 2 balls to spare.
England topped Group A with 12 points, winning all their matches. New Zealand came second with two victories and a defeat to England, accumulating eight points. West Indies secured top spot in Group B with 12 points, and Australia followed them into the semifinals with eight points.
Hosts England and their archrivals Australia faced off at Leeds in the first ever World Cup Semi Final. Australian skipper Ian Chappell won the toss and sent England to bat. England, hoping to win the trophy at their own den, faced a tornado named Gary Gilmour as they were all-out for only 93. Gilmour picked 6 wickets for a meagre 14 runs in his 12 overs, with Lillee and Walker giving him support. But England weren’t willing to give up the fight, they reduced Australia to 39-6. In came Gary Gilmour once again, and this time he haunted the English with his bat. His run-a-ball 28 proved vital, as Australia overcame England’s score without losing anymore wickets. Without a seed of doubt, Gary Gilmour was elected Man of the Match.
The second semifinal was an easy win for West Indies. Batting first, New Zealand was bowled out for 158, with Bernard Julien picking up four wickets. In reply, West Indies overcame the target quite easily as Gordon Greenidge and Alvin Kallicharran scored fifties, with five wickets and almost 20 overs in hand. Kallicharran was adjourned Man of the Match.
Australia and West Indies faced each other in the final of the inaugural World Cup at Lord’s. The teams had met at the group stages, where West Indies won pretty comfortably by a margin of 7 wickets.
Winning the toss, Ian Chappell seng Windies to bat. Gary Gilmour was once again rampant, but a captain’s ton from Clive Lloyd and a fifty from Rohan Kanhai helped them to reach a total of 291 in their 60 overs. Gilmour picked up his second five wicket-haul within a matter of three days.
Australia started well, and they looked on their way as their captain, Ian Chappell, was looking to replicate Lloyd’s innings. But Viv Richards thought otherwise, and he ran out both the Chappell brothers. Richards ended the day with three run outs to his name, Windies in total had five. Australia were bowled out for 274, and West Indies were crowned as the new champions of the world. Clive Lloyd was adjourned Man of the match.
New Zealand batsman Glenn Turner was the highest run scorer of the tournament, scoring 333 runs in 4 matches, averaging 166.50. He was followed by Dennis Amiss of England, who scored 243 runs in his four matches.
Gary Gilmour was the highest wicket taker with 11 wickets in two matches, averaging 5.63. Bernard Julien of West Indies also picked up 11 scalps, but he took five matches and averaged 17.70.
Glenn Turner’s 171 not out against East africa was the highest individual score of the tournament, while Gary Gilmour’s 6 for 14 against England was the best bowling figure.