The World Cup has remained the pinnacle of ODI cricket ever since its inception in 1979 and the tournament continues to grow strong after a memorable 2019 edition which saw hosts England end their excruciating wait for the trophy.
With their victory in the epic finale at Lord’s, England have become the sixth different nation to capture the 50-over crown and the third to do so on home soil.
The roller-coaster triumph of Eoin Morgan’s men made it a hat-trick for hosts in World Cup finals with England become the third home side in a row to clinch the title.
In fact, before India’s win under MS Dhoni’s captaincy at Mumbai in 2011, no host nation ever had managed to go all the way on their home soil in the World Cup’s history.
Only Sri Lanka’s title-winning campaign as co-hosts of the 1996 World Cup comes close in that aspect but their victory in the final over Australia came on Pakistan soil in the end.
Before India’s victory in the 2011 edition, it had been a monopoly established by Australia in the World Cups with the Men in Yellow winning three finals on the trot from 1999 to 2007.
West Indies had been the dominant ODI force when the World Cup came into existence with the Caribbean side winning the first two editions before a hat-trick of titles was averted by a plucky Indian side in the 1983 Lord’s final.
Since the almighty era of West Indies began to wane post their 1983 Lord’s debacle, it was Australia who became the gold standard in World Cups. Starting from their 1987 World Cup triumph in India, the Aussies went on to make the final of every edition bar one until 2011 in India.
The only final Australia failed to reach in that dominant period was that of the 1992 edition which they co-hosted along with New Zealand. The 1992 and 1996 titles for Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively remain the only aberrations in an otherwise perfect record for Australia in the global showpiece until they were knocked out in the quarter-final in 2011.
With India following up that quarter-final win with their second world title in 201, a new era has been unleashed in which the hosts have reigned supreme in the competition.
Under Dhoni, the Men in Blue faced just the sole loss to South Africa on their way to the trophy with familiarity of the home conditions aiding their run tremendously.
It was the same script in the 2015 edition in Australia and New Zealand with both the co-hosts qualifying for the final. There, it was the Aussies who emerged victorious over the Black Caps in the one-sided final at Melbourne to add a record fifth world title to their name.
Both Australia and New Zealand faced just the one loss apiece in the tournament with neither of them coming in a home clash. Australia’s only defeat came against the Black Caps in the group stage clash at Auckland while the Kiwis remained unbeaten until the final at Melbourne.
Come 2019 and hosts England were in real danger of bowing out embarrassingly without qualifying for the semi-final following defeats to Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Australia.
“Everyone is a bit surprised,” India skipper Virat Kohli had stated after England’s third defeat of the tournament.
“We thought England would probably dominate in their own conditions but, as I said at the beginning of the tournament, pressure is going to be a factor and low scores are going to be defended.”
In the end, Kohli spoke too soon as England upped the ante in style to go on magnificent run to beat India, New Zealand and Australia along the way to break their World Cup title drought.
With India set to host the 2023 World Cup, perhaps Kohli could be the one smiling at the end of it all should the home team’s recent domination continue.
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