Whether in Melbourne, Mumbai or Marylebone, the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final is an occasion like no other.
On Sunday the iconic Lord’s Cricket Ground will host its fifth World Cup final as hosts England face 2015 finalists New Zealand for the right to call themselves the best in the world.
Whichever team comes out on top, cricket’s most coveted trophy will be handed to a new winner as the 12th edition of the tournament reaches a dizzying climax.
We take a stroll down memory lane and look at World Cup finals gone by.
1975: Lloyd leads by example
Runs made with backs to the wall are gripping to watch and Clive Lloyd coined the original. The West Indies captain came to the crease with his side struggling on 50/3 against Dennis Lillee’s Australia. Under glassy skies and in front of a feverish Lord’s crowd, Lloyd struck a masterful counter-attacking century and Keith Boyce took four wickets to crown Windies the inaugural winners.
1979: Richards strikes again
Just as Lloyd bailed them out four years earlier, it was the turn of Viv Richards to extricate West Indies from a poor start and propel them to glory. His 138 from 157 balls was a brutal innings by modern standards and helped set a target of 286 – well beyond hosts England despite the stoical efforts of openers Geoffrey Boycott and Mike Brearley.
1983: India’s summer
India’s vaunted bowling attack wrested the World Cup from the grasp of West Indies as Kapil Dev masterminded a memorable triumph. Dev’s outfit only managed 183 first up and Windies looked destined for a third straight victory, but Mohinder Amarnath and Madan Lal exploited swinging and seaming conditions to get home by 43 runs.
1987: Advance Australia
An Australia side that Steve Waugh would later label ‘rank outsiders’ pulled off an unlikely triumph in India & Pakistan, the first time the World Cup was staged outside England. The Eden Gardens final against the English would be immortalised for Mike Gatting’s ill-judged reverse sweep when his team were well-placed and David Boon’s gutsy 75, the backbone of his country’s inaugural triumph.
1992: Cornered Tigers roar back
Imran Khan asked his team to fight and they scrapped for every inch until the skipper himself dismissed Richard Illingworth to clinch perhaps the World Cup’s most remarkable victory. Seemingly down and out after one win in their first five, Pakistan surged to five successive wins – inspired by Imran, whose 72 in the final earned his nation a maiden triumph in Melbourne.
1996: De Silva’s service
In what is still the finest all-round performance in a World Cup final, Aravinda de Silva took two catches and snaffled three wickets to restrict Mark Taylor’s Australia to 241 in Lahore. Alongside Asanka Gurusinha’s measured half-century, de Silva struck a masterful 107 to get Sri Lanka over the line by seven wickets, etching a fifth name onto the World Cup trophy.
1999: Warne blows Pakistan away
In the World Cup win that sparked an era of one-day dominance, Shane Warne spun Australia to a comprehensive defeat of Pakistan at Lord’s. The 1992 winners were bowled out for 132 as Glenn McGrath, Tom Moody and Warne strangled Wasim Akram’s men. Adam Gilchrist’s belligerence saw them over the line with eight wickets in hand.
2003: Australia go back-to-back
Australia secure successive World Cup wins with a contrasting but equally emphatic victory over India at the Wanderers. They smote 359 from their 50 overs – then their second highest-ever score in the format – with Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn sharing a partnership of 234 runs, another national record. India got nowhere near, dismissed for 234.
2007: Gilchrist goes big
A rain-reduced repeat of the 1996 showpiece was dominated by Gilchrist, whose 149 remains the highest-ever score in a World Cup final. Australia’s threepeat was never in doubt after Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya were dismissed chasing 281, extending the winning streak of their one-day dynasty to 29 games.
2011: Dhoni does it for India
India’s World Cup win on home soil remains one of the most significant moments in the game’s recent history, sparking scenes of jubilation not seen since. Mahela Jayawardene scored the sixth hundred in a World Cup final but ended on the losing side – largely due to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s perfectly-timed 91 in the chase and 97 from Gautam Gambhir.
2015: Australia romp home
Australia claimed a fourth win in five tournaments in front of a near-six figure crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was a final triumph to stand alongside any of their previous efforts as a relentless bowling performance saw them dismiss the Black Caps for just 183 runs before they chased down the modest total with as many as seven wickets to spare.
England captain Eoin Morgan said fellow 2019 World Cup finalists New Zealand were the best team of the group stage and the hardest to beat in the tournament.
England sailed into the Lord’s final on Sunday after thumping Australia by eight wickets in the semis, while the Kiwis beat India by 18 runs in their last four clash.
New Zealand qualified for the knockouts due to a better net run rate than Pakistan and despite losing its last three league games by big margins. However, Morgan said the Kiwis were the best side of the tournament.
“I think New Zealand throughout the whole tournament has probably been the hardest side to beat and the best side in the group stages. I think their performance in the semi-final was probably their best. They will be a difficult side to beat on Sunday, so we are looking forward to it.”
Eoin Morgan’s England one-day team are already one of the best of any era – according to former Australian captain Steve Waugh.
But to go down in history they need finish off the job on Sunday and claim an historic first ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup crown.
Waugh won two World Cups in his 19-year international career – including lifting the trophy as captain at Lord’s in 1999 – and was blown away by the way England dispatched his compatriots in Thursday’s semi-final.
“This England team play without fear and that is very difficult to do in professional sport,” said Waugh, who was attending the inaugural criiio cup in Trafalgar Square.
“There is no weakness in the side, they field very well, they bat all the way down and have numerous bowling options.
“It is one of the best one-day teams I have seen and would compete against anyone of the previous eras.
“But ultimately they will be judged on their performance on Sunday.
“If they win that they may go down as one of the great one-day sides. If they lose then they are back to being one of the other teams that didn’t quite make it.
“But they have the potential to be a great one-day team.”
The criiio cup sees six social cricket teams from Brazil, Rwanda, Germany, England, Indonesia and India showcase the power and impact of social cricket by playing their own version of the sport in the central London fan park, two days ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup final at Lord’s.
The six teams have been selected from all corners of the world, based on the impact cricket has had on their communities. They hail from a wide variety of community and social cricket initiatives, including women’s empowerment and engagement programs, refugee integration and semi-professional tennis-ball leagues.
Waugh added: “The fundamental aim of criiio is to celebrate street cricket.
“That’s how I started playing the game back in Australia, we had different pitches in the front yard, the back yard, the driveway and we made stumps with garbage bins and drew chalk on the garage door.
“We had bikes and scooters and the swimming pool as imaginary fielders, it is about imagination.
“Street cricket is all about that, if you have the spirt and the willing, you can play a game of cricket anytime and anywhere.
“We want to develop cricket all around the world, it is good that new countries are getting involved. Cricket is spreading its wings.
“Afghanistan have been a success story in the last couple of years, there is potential for other counties to do that.
“There have got to be others who can make that next step so we can globalise that sport.”
Either England or New Zealand will make history on Sunday as first-time winners of the game’s ultimate prize.
And Waugh urged the players to rise to the occasion.
He added: “World Cup finals are about not relying on other people to do the job for you. You have got to step up to the plate. To win World Cups you have to be street-smart
“It would be very important for New Zealand, it’s a great rugby country with the greatest team in the world in the All Blacks.
“Cricket is always hoping to get a foothold so for them to make the final and potentially win would be game-changing for New Zealand.
“England have been to three World Cup finals, and it’s a passionate country. Either side wins, it’s going to be great for their country.
“It’s exciting, the people get behind it and feel they are a part of it.”