In 1975, the cricketing world witnessed the start of the very first men’s Cricket World Cup. The 1975 Cricket World Cup marked the birth of One Day International cricket on the global stage. 8 cricketing nations, including the West Indies, Australia, and England, competed in this event. From June 7th to June 21st of that year, England served as the host nation for this tournament.
Let’s delve into this blog to explore the details of this mega-event.
The inauguration of One Day International cricket occurred at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a replacement for the third test match of the 1970–71 Ashes series. Subsequently, in 1973, preparations were set in motion for a men’s cricket tournament scheduled for 1975.
The blueprint for this event outlined the participation of all existing Test-playing nations, divided into two initial group stages. The participating teams were Australia, East Africa, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies.
In the 1975 Cricket World Cup, the tournament format featured 8 teams divided into 2 groups, each comprising 4 teams. In this arrangement, every team within their respective group faced off once in the initial stage. The top two performers from each group then earned their tickets to the semi-finals, where the winners secured a place in the grand finale at the iconic Lords Cricket Ground on June 21st.
Teams in Group A included;
- New Zealand
- East Africa
Teams in Group B included;
- Sri Lanka
- West Indies
Group Stage Matches
The 1st match from Group A was between England and India. The hosts won the toss and posted 334 runs in the allocated 60 overs. Due to the most bizarre of innings from Sunil Gavaskar, India lost by 202 runs. He played the slowest innings in ODI history, unbeaten 36 runs off 174 balls while chasing a huge target of 335. New Zealand started their journey with a victory against East Africa. India won its 1st game against East Africa by 10 wickets.
East Africa could not win a single game in the 1975 cricket World Cup. England and New Zealand sealed their spots in the next round from this group.
Australia and Pakistan contested from Group B on 7 June 1975. With the help of a 5-wicket haul, Australia won the match by 73 runs. One of the most destructive teams of that time, West Indies, out-classed Sri Lanka in their 1st match. West Indies bowlers rattled the batting line-up of Sri Lanka and scored only 86 runs. West Indies won by 9 wickets.
Pakistan secured victory in just 1 game, while Sri Lanka faced a challenging campaign, unable to register a single win throughout the competition. West Indies and Australia were the teams that qualified into the next round.
West Indies, Australia, England, and New Zealand booked their tickets for the semi-final stage of the 1st mega event in cricket history. These semi-final games kicked off on 17 June.
England Vs Australia
The 1st semi-final at Headingley featured Ashes rivals England and Australia. After Australia chose to field first, Gary Gilmour produced a remarkable performance, securing 6 wickets while conceding only 14 runs. His impressive bowling effort left England stumbling at 37 for 7 after his 12 overs. Mike Denness tried to stage a comeback for England, but he eventually lost his wicket, leading to England being dismissed for a mere 93 runs.
In chasing their target, Australia was in a dangerous position at 39 for 6. However, Gilmour and his partner Doug Walters skillfully chased the remaining runs together, securing Australia’s place in the final match. Gilmour was named Player of the Match for his all-round performance.
West Indies Vs New Zealand
The West Indies faced off against New Zealand in the 2nd semi-final held at The Oval. New Zealand batted first and managed to reach a score of 92 for the loss of only 1 wicket by the lunch break. However, their fortunes worsened after lunch, and they ended up with 158 runs. Geoff Howarth was the top scorer for New Zealand with 51 runs, while Bernard Julien was the leading wicket-taker with 4 wickets.
Following their target, the West Indies benefited from a 125-run partnership for the second wicket. Alvin Kallicharran scored the highest 72 runs, and Gordon Greenidge contributed 55 runs. This partnership paved the way for a five-wicket victory. Richard Collinge, the most challenging bowler for the West Indies, took 3 wickets for 28 runs in his 12 overs.
1975 Cricket World Cup Final
Australia and West Indies locked horns in the final of the 1975 Cricket World Cup.
The 1st Cricket World Cup final took place on June 21 at Lords in front of a full-capacity crowd. Australia won the toss and chose to field, hoping to take advantage of the favorable bowling conditions. The first dramatic moment occurred when opener Roy Fredericks was dismissed by the hit wicket. He had hooked a bouncer from Dennis Lillee for a six but lost his balance during the follow-through, knocking the bails off the stumps. Australia had the upper hand with the West Indies at 50/3.
Clive Lloyd then came to the crease, forming a crucial partnership with the experienced Rohan Kanhai. This partnership of 149 runs for the fourth wicket shifted the momentum toward the West Indies. Kanhai played the anchor role in this partnership. Lloyd survived a dropped catch when he was on 26 but scored a memorable century off 82 balls, featuring 12 fours and 2 sixes. He was dismissed shortly after reaching his century, scoring 102.
Kanhai contributed significantly with 55 runs, and solid performances from Keith Boyce and Bernard Julien helped the West Indies finish their innings at 291/8. The left-arm seamer Gary Gilmour stood out as the best Australian bowler with figures of 5/48.
The Australian run chase started steadily enough. After 20 overs, they had reached a score of 80/1. Alan Turner and captain Ian Chappell were taking full advantage of the favorable pitch and fast outfield.
Then came Viv Richards, who had struggled with the bat but significantly impacted the match through his brilliant fielding. He executed 3 run-outs. First, he swiftly dismissed Turner with a precise throw. Then, Greg Chappell fell victim to a direct hit from Richards. Ian Chappell also ran short of the crease due to Richards’ lightning-fast fielding.
As Dennis Lillee joined Jeff Thomson as the last pair, Australia required 59 runs to win off 7 overs. The duo defied the odds, putting on an unexpected last-wicket partnership. The game took an extraordinary turn with 3 overs left when Lillee hit a no-ball at extra cover. The crowd rushed onto the field, seemingly unaware of the umpire’s decision.
Amid the chaos, Lillee and Thomson continued to run between the wickets until the crowd was dispersed. When play resumed, the umpires decided to award Australia 2 runs. After a protest from Thomson, they ultimately awarded 3 runs. But the run-out of Thomson ended the game for Australia, and West Indies became world champions by 17 runs.
Image Credits: espncricinfo.com
Glenn Turner of New Zealand emerged as the top run-scorer in the 1975 tournament, amassing 333 runs in four matches. His outstanding performance included 171 against East Africa, which also stood as the highest individual score of the entire competition.
Following him closely, English player Dennis Amiss secured the second spot, with Pakistan’s Majid Khan rounding out the top three regarding run-scoring.
Australian pacer Gary Gilmour claimed the title of the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. He took 11 wickets in just 2 games. His standout moment came in the semi-finals, where he performed remarkably by getting 6 wickets for just 14 runs against England. In the second position for most wickets were Bernard Julien and Keith Boyce, both tallying 10 wickets.
It was the first-ever mega event in the history of cricket. 8 teams took part in the 1975 Cricket World Cup. The participating teams were organized into two groups, each of 4. Each match in the tournament was played with 60 overs per team.
From Group A, England and New Zealand were the top two teams. From Group B, the West Indies claimed the first position, followed by Australia.
Australia won against England, and the West Indies prevailed against New Zealand. The West Indies, who had entered the tournament as favorites, ultimately clinched the title by defeating Australia in the final. This victory secured their status as the inaugural World Cup champions.
New Zealand’s batsman Glenn Turner emerged as the leading run-scorer, accumulating 333 runs. On the other hand, Australian bowler Gary Gilmour claimed the title of the top wicket-taker by securing 11 wickets.