Past performances in the cricket World Cup

The cricket World Cup runs from February 14 through March 29 and 14 nations have qualified for the tournament. The set of the top eight ranked cricket teams in the world have been stable for some time, although their positions within the top eight keep changing. Currently, the rankings are: Australia (1), India (2), South Africa (3), Sri Lanka (4), England (5), Pakistan (6), New Zealand (7), West Indies (8), Bangladesh, (9), Zimbabwe (10), Afghanistan (11), and Ireland (12). Unranked Scotland and the UAE round out the teams.

Since the cricket world Cup tournament began in 1975, these are the winners and runners-up up in the ten tournaments:

  • Australia won in 1987, 1999, 2003, and 2007 and was runner up in 1975 and 1996. They clearly have the best record.
  • India won in 1983 and 2011 and was runner up in 2003.
  • West Indies won in 1975 and 1979 and was runner up in 1983. This was the end of their period of heavy dominance in the game that they have never regained since.
  • Pakistan won in 1992 and was runner up in 1999.
  • Sri Lanka won in 1996 and was runner up in 2007 and 2011.
  • England was the runner up in 1979, 1987, and 1992.
  • South Africa and New Zealand have never even made the finals.

The most upsets occurred in 2003 when Australia, India, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and NZ made it to the second round, with South Africa, England, West Indies, and Pakistan eliminated. Kenya even made it to the semi-finals along with Australia, India, and Sri Lanka. That was the best tournament for teams not in the top eight.

In 2007, Ireland and Bangladesh made it into the final 8, with India and Pakistan getting eliminated. That was when they had four groups of four teams each with the top two going to the final round. Since each team played only three games in the qualifying round, one upset win of a favored team was sufficient to take a low-ranked team to the quarterfinals and Bangladesh beat India and Ireland beat Pakistan.

That format was changed in 2011 to the current one in which there are two groups of seven teams. Each team plays every other team once and thus plays six games in the preliminary round, with the top four from each group qualifying for the quarter finals. The expected teams went to the next round. The larger groups make it harder for those teams outside the top eight to qualify for the next round since it now takes two upset wins. Despite this Bangladesh came close to doing so, beating England and almost grabbing the fourth qualifying spot from the West Indies. Ireland also beat England.

On the plus side, this format allows the lower-ranked teams to play at least six games on the world stage instead of three, and thus have a better chance to show their stuff.

Australia and New Zealand are expected to do well this year because this year’s tournament is being held in those two countries. But I noticed that only on two occasions has the home team even made the finals, let alone win. That was England in 1979 (they lost) and India in 2011 (they won). So having the home field does not seem to give a huge advantage. It will be interesting to see if either Australia or NZ or both make it to the finals this time.


  1. Mano Singham says


    I am not sure how local team ownership in cricket works in the different countries but in most it seems they are not owned by individuals. In SL, the clubs have members and elect their officers. In England, each county has a team structure, in Australia each state has one, and in the West Indies, each island or set of islands. So these are quasi-public entities. I don’t know how it works in India, Pakistan, SA, and NZ.

    But SC (Salty Current)’s quote from Chomsky and Herman’s Manufacturing Consent is apropos to all sports fandom, including cricket. It definitely serves as a distraction for me, along with films and novels but I try to avoid the “irrational jingoism” elements as much as I can. I still enjoy watching the game because it has elements of style that appeal to me.

  2. sundoga says

    Thanks for the round-up, Mano. Being in Oz, I’m going to be hearing nothing but “World Cup this” and “World Cup that” for the next two months (and mostly with a jingoistic bent towards the Aussie team). It’s a good thing I actually like the game.

  3. fentex says

    That ‘Pearls Before Swine’ comic is making points about privately owned teams playing each other, the Cricket World Cup is a competition between national representative teams so it isn’t relevant.

    It is regarding things like India’s IPL competition (which is where all the money is and players flock for their fortunes). In NZ cricket cricket clubs are owned by members -- I persoanly used to get quite angry that my fees for playing were used more to fund 1st Class teams than provide equipment and support for my team.

  4. says

    Chomsky always struck me as the type who didn’t get out doors much as a child.

    And here we have people from 3 different continents (so far) chatting about cricket without any jingoism. At another place a discussion has started about the Six Nations Rugby that begins this weekend, and although it is between people who’s countries have had a certain amount of erm “history”, the discussion will stay light hearted, and in discussing the sport one learns about the people.

    Sport, at least those sports that are played on a national level outside of the USA, bring people together rather than divide us.

    Once again The Real World 1- Chomsky 0

  5. Brian E says

    Danny Butts, cricket is very much marketed in Australia with an irrational nationalistic bent. I don’t know why you think a few comments has any bearing on Chomsky’s thesis. It’s not like it’s a deductive theorem that could be disproved with one counter example.

  6. says

    Brian E,

    so with 1000s of people turning up in Australia over the next couple of weeks , we have a perfect way of testing Chomsky’s thesis.

    What with cricket being irrationally nationalistic, you will be expecting fighting and the need to call out the riot police then?

    Or if everything goes off with a great big party atmosphere with nations as diverse as Pakistan and Britain attending and enjoying the cricket together, would that have a bearing on Chomsky’s thesis?

    would you like to bet some internet Kudos on which way the cricket world cup will go? in the real world?

  7. Mano Singham says


    I think you are extrapolating a little too much from Chomsky’s words. What he is saying is that the kind of irrational nationalism that persuades people to go to war with other peoples and nations does not come automatically. People have to be conditioned to behave that way and that sports fandom is one way of getting people to think along those lines but not necessarily act on them until the appropriate time. In fact, acting out on them in sports would be a bad thing because then people would realize how irrational it is and seek to stamp it out, as is the case with soccer fans going on rampages.

    The ideal situation is for a limited tribalism when it comes to sports that becomes full-blown tribalism when a country wants to go to war.

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