ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 1992 | History, Teams, Winner

The ODI Cricket World Cup returned in 1992 for its historical fifth edition. It was the World Cup of many firsts.

For the first time, the preliminary round included just one group where every team played against each other, day-night matches were played for the first time in a World Cup & it was the first edition to have coloured clothing as well.

Australia and New Zealand jointly hosted the 1992 edition, nine teams participated in the competition which included all eight sides of 1987 edition plus South Africa who were making their debut appearance in a World Cup after their return to international cricket.

A key factor in the 5th edition was the rain-rule which heavily favoured the team batting first in the revised target calculations.

The Kiwis ably led by Martin Crowe played exciting cricket throughout the preliminary round, the real highlights of New Zealand were the attacking batting at the top by Mark Greatbatch, the introduction of Deepak Patel’s spin in the start of innings & overall athleticism in the field.

New Zealand topped the points table by winning 7 out of 8 games, their only loss came against the resurgent Pakistanis at Lancaster Park.

England once again made it to the semis by winning five games, a certain victory to England against Pakistan was deprived by rain after dismissing Pakistan for a meagre 74. However, England did concede an upset defeat against Zimbabwe in Albury.

South Africans playing in a World Cup for the first time played with sheer enthusiasm and eventually ended up with 5 wins and qualified for the semi-final. Jonty Rhodes affected one of the classic run-outs of all-time when in a crunch game against Pakistan in Brisbane, Inzamam-ul-Haq failed to beat him and it ultimately sealed the game for the Proteas.

Defending champions Australia, two-time winners West Indies and Pakistan fought for the last semi-final spot till the very end. All three teams finished with 4 wins each but as they say that sometimes things in life are just meant to be, Pakistan winning the World Cup was written in the stars as Pakistan made it to the semis with 9 points, 4 wins and a lucky 1 point against England in Adelaide.

West Indies started with a thumping 10-wicket win against Pakistan at MCG and after a topsy-turvy campaign, the Windies exited from the Cup after losing the last encounter against Australia. Defending champions and co-hosts Australia lost to their Trans-Tasman rivals in the opening game of tournament and also suffered defeat against Ashes rivals at SCG.

India did beat the eventual champions Pakistan but other than that only won against Zimbabwe in a rain-affected game. The 1983 champions lost to Australia by just 1 run in Brisbane in one of tightest World Cup matches ever.

Sri Lanka were never in contention for the last four but did feature in some exciting matches. Arjuna Ranatunga masterminded a classical run-chase in the victory against South Africa, the only other Sri Lankan win came in a high-scoring encounter vs Zimbabwe in New Plymouth. Zimbabwe finished at the bottom of the table with a solitary win against England.

Pakistan’s campaign in the 1992 edition was a story for the ages. Missing the services of ace bowler Waqar Younis, Pakistan were continuously suffering from injuries throughout the tournament as well.

Skipper Imran Khan missed the first match against West Indies which resulted in a 10-wicket defeat for the men in green. Aamir Sohail’s hundred won the game against Zimbabwe in Hobart & then came the lucky 1 point against England, the match in which England dismissed Pakistan for 74.

The first ever India-Pakistan meeting in a World Cup resulted in a win for the men in blue in Sydney. The rain had come to Pakistan’s rescue against England but in a crunch game against South Africa, Pakistan suffered at the hands of revised target calculation in the run-chase, Pakistan stood at 3 points from 5 games.

Then started the comeback story, Pakistan beat Australia by 48 runs at WACA in Perth, then beat Sri Lanka by four wickets at the same venue. Ramiz Raja struck a hundred in the last game as Pakistan won by 7 wickets against New Zealand. The 3 late wins put Pakistan into the semi-finals.

The in form New Zealand side faced Pakistan in the first semi-final at Eden Park in Auckland. The Kiwis struggled in the first phase of their batting but captain Martin Crowe and Ken Rutherford responded with a scintillating partnership.

The player of the tournament Martin Crowe scored 91 as New Zealand ended up with a strong total of 262. For Pakistan, Ramiz Raja and Imran Khan perished in the 40s, Javed Miandad held one end but the required rate was going up. The emerging batting hero of Pakistan, Inzamam-ul-Haq played a match winning knock of 60 from just 37 balls, an innings full of dashing strokeplay.

Moin Khan sealed the win for Pakistan with a six and four on the last two balls of the penultimate over.

The second semi-final saw England facing the South Africans at the Sydney Cricket Ground. England batting first ended up playing 45 overs in the allotted time, Graeme Hick scored 83 as England finshed with 252.

South African batsmen got starts but England kept taking wickets at regular intervals. With 6 wickets down, South Africa needed 22 off 13, the rain arrived to spoil a thrilling finish between two evenly matched sides. The notorious rain-rule of the 1992 World Cup initially reduced the target to 22 off 7 and then 21 off 1.

South Africans bowed out of the World Cup in a disappointing way and it was the start of the love affair between South Africa and rain.

So after 38 matches, on 25th of March 1992 the final of the 1992 World Cup was played between Imran Khan’s Pakistan and Graham Gooch’s England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Pakistan batted first and scored 249/6. Pakistan took 31 overs to score 100 runs but the historical partnership between the two veterans Imran and Miandad paved the way for the late hitting by Inzamam and Wasim Akram.

England in response started poorly and lost 4 wickets with nothing substantial on the board. Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother joined hands to make Pakistan twitchy.

Wasim Akram bowled the two famous deliveries of World Cup history when on consecutive balls, he dismissed Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis with classical swing bowling. Aqib Javed got the big wicket of Neil Fairbrother who fought bravely for his 65. England eventually fell short by 22 runs as Imran Khan lifted the Benson and Hedges Cup in Melbourne.

Wasim Akram won the player of the match award in final for his all-round performance, New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe received the player of the tournament award, the first instance of this award being presented in ODI World Cup.

The Kiwi skipper was also the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 456 and Wasim Akram took most number of wickets (18) in the competition.

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