Team Australia at Cricket World Cup

Team Australia squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:

Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Josh Hazlewood, Brad Haddin (wicket keeper), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, David Warner, Shane Watson, Mitchell Starc.

Team Australia performances in Cricket World Cups:
If West Indies team could be considered as the most dominating team in World Cups in its earlier stages, team Australia can be considered as the most successful team in Cricket World Cups ever. You will know by the time you go through this article.

In a relatively low profile first edition of world cup in 1975, teams like Australia or West Indies didn't treat ODI matches as truncated tests. They were ready with plans for a limited over game that was very new in 1975. To be precise only 18 ODI matches old by that time. Playing in Group B with teams like West Indies, Pakistan and Srilanka; Australia finished second with eight points from three matches. Their only loss came against West Indies on 14th June 1975.

Australia played the hosts England in the semi finals. Crushed them for a small total of 93. They won it comfortably with 188 balls to spare. They had a daunting task in the finals as they played against the mighty West Indies team. By then one of the most exciting matches ended in the favour of West Indies with as much as five runs outs to Australian batting order. Chasing a target of 292, Australia lost nine wickets for 233. It was the duo Thomson and Lillee who took them to as close as 18 runs before another run out ended the Australian fight back!

In 1979, Australia sent a relatively unknown team for the world cup campaign. This was due to the fact that their star players were tied up with Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. Australia had to face the fate of this as they couldn't even qualify for the knock out stage. The team lost to England and Pakistan in Group A. The only win came against Canada on 16th June 1979.

1983 World Cup brought was another disappointing episode for Australia. Placed in Group B with West Indies, India and Zimbabwe; Australia could win just two out of their eight outings! Infact they kicked off the proceedings with a big heart break when they lost to Zimbabwe by 13 runs. India went on to beat West Indies in the finals and lift the trophy.

1987 World Cup brought glory to the Australian cricket side. This was the first ever World Cup played out of England. Allan Border's team was placed in Group A with the hosts India, Zimbabwe and New Zealand. They finished second in the Group A standings, marginally separated from India by few decimal points. Moving ahead they comprehensively defeated Pakistan in the semi finals and England in the finals. David Boon, the second highest run getter in this World Cup scored 75 in the finals. Australia scored 253 runs which looked pretty gettable for in-form Gatting till the time he reverse-sweeped Border just to get a top edge caught behind the wickets. Getting 17 runs in an over was seemed impossible in those days especially if you face the likes of McDermott! Australia lifted the trophy at the Eden Gardens Cricket Stadium and that embarked on their journey of dominance in cricket for almost next two decades!
1992 World Cup was hosted by Australia and New Zealand. This was the first time we witness coloured clothing and white ball in a cricket world cup. Two men outside the circle in first 15 overs also gave rise to pinch hitting in limited overs cricket. Starting as favourites, the pressure mounted so high; Australia lost to New Zealand (thanks to great form of Martin Crowe) and England later. It was highly unfortunate for the home team to not qualify for the knock outs. They played eight matches, won four and lost four. Even earlier champions West Indies and India were knocked out with Australia. Pakistan went on to clinch the trophy against England in the finals. While Gooch, Haynes, Border and Imran played their last, we also saw young guns like Sachin, Rhodes, Lara and Mushtaq Ahmed kicking off their successful career!

1996 World Cup returned to the Indian sub-continent with a lot of flair to it. An exciting addition to world cricket was a third umpire! Srilanka, Australia and India batted with aggression in first 15 overs. Australia and West Indies forfeited their matches against Srilanka in Colombo due to security reasons. That gave Srilanka an upper hand right from the start. They topped the standings of Group A. Australia played West Indies in one of the most exciting semi finals. Australia were 15 for 4, when Law and Bevan anchored the innings to a respectable 207. West Indies laid a solid foundation with 165 for 2. Spin wizard Warne bounced back taking four wickets and we saw a dramatic collapse of West Indies batting line up. They lost 8 wickets for 37 runs. Australia played Sri Lanka in the finals. Batting first they scored 241 but never ever looked like winning it. It was Sri Lanka and Aravinda's day! He scored a brilliant ton after taking three wickets and two catches. Australia lost the finals to Srilanka.

From 1999 Cricket World Cup, we saw a pure dominance of Australia in ODI cricket. This world cup brought a format of Super Sixes which didn't last for too long in world cricket scenario. Australia stood second in Group B with three wins and two losses. Thanks to some highly confusing points system of Super Six stage, Zimbabwe topped the table before the start of this stage. They had 4 carry forwarded points. Two teams that really had to struggle to reach the semis were India and Australia. They kicked off Super Six with no carry forwarded points in their pockets. It was Australia who came the tougher out of these two. They won all their three matches and advanced to the semi finals against South Africa. 

How can one forget this semi final! Batting first Australia could manage just 213 runs. The match swung either ways till it reached the anti-climax when we had Lance Klusener batting at the greatest of his cricketing forms. South Africa needed nine runs to win from last over of Fleming. With Donald batting at the other hand, it was all Klusener game from here on. He smashed two boundaries on first two balls of the last over. With one run needed from four balls, South Africans were hot favourites! An effort to take a single on the fourth ball resulted in Donald's run out resulting in a tie! Australia advanced to the finals as they were placed higher than South Africa at the end of Super Sixes. Later they faced the most fancied team of this world cup - Pakistan. But it was a rather dismal outing for Pakistan where Australia comfortably clinched a World Cup win!

Moving on to the 2003 World Cup that was held in South Africa, Australia was on a roll! They crushed almost every single team that came in their way to another World Cup win. Australia placed in Group A qualified for Super Six along with India and Zimbabwe. Teams like England and Pakistan were eliminated early from this Group. Other teams to qualify for Super Six were Sri Lanka, Kenya and New Zealand. Australia defeated Sri Lanka in the semi-finals and ultimately crushed India in a one-sided final at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. Thus Australia pocketed their third World Cup trophy. One more to follow!!! 
2007 World Cup was another success story for Australia while the overall tournament was almost a flop! Early exit of big teams like India and Pakistan, adding to it the shocking death of coach Bob Woolmer! A world cup plagued by controversies wasn't a big success. Australia met Srilanka in the finals. Adam Gilchrist hammered the opposition as he scored 149 runs in 104 balls. Australia won by 53 runs (Duckworth and Lewis method). Three World Cup trophy wins on the trot and four in total. By now, you readers must have realised why Australia could be termed as the most successful team in Cricket World Cup history.

Cricket World Cup returned to Indian sub-continent in 2011 and this was probably the biggest commercial success in world cup history. India, Srilanka and Bangladesh hosted the tournament. This was the first time since 1996 World Cup, Australia didn't feature in the finals. They finished third in Group A and qualified for the Knock Out stage. They were eliminated from the world cup when they fell against India at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. Later, India went on to win the finals against Srilanka. This was team India's second World Cup win.
Australia would certainly be one of the favourite teams to clinch 2015 World Cup. But let us not forget, they would be under immense pressure playing at home. They haven't seen a lot of success in last two years. But they would always be a team to beat! Fans down under would expect great cricketing display from the Australian team.

Fox Sports will provide ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 live streaming and telecast in Australia.

By Tejas Thakkar

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your valuable comments and feedbacks.
But no spam comments please!