Ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 to be held in England from May 30 to July 14, here’s a recap of how past Pakistan cricket teams have fared at the World Cup.
Prudential World Cup 1975
In the tightest group of the inaugural World Cup in England, Pakistan joined West Indies and Australia in squaring off for a place in the semi-finals with Sri Lanka, at the time only an Associate member. After losing to a Dennis Lillee-inspired Australia, Pakistan had West Indies eight down with 80 still required, only to look on as the last-wicket paired sealed an extraordinary match.
In their last fixture, Asif Iqbal’s team beat Sri Lanka by 192 runs
Like West Indies, Pakistan decided shortly before the World Cup to include all those contracted to Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket. They beat Canada and Australia by big margins to qualify for the semi-finals, and then pushed West Indies only only to lose against some canny bowling from Viv Richards at The Oval.
England dominated Group A by twice disposing of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and were joined in the semi-finals by Pakistan, who barely managed to sneak in owing to a marginally higher run rate than New Zealand. Up against West Indies once again in the semi-finals at The Oval, Pakistan lost by eight wickets.
Reliance World Cup 1987
Joint hosts with India of the first World Cup away from England, Pakistan bolted out of the stables and won their first five matches thanks to largely to Imran Khan and Abdul Qadir, only to fall apart in the semi-finals.
Up against Allan Border’s ultra-motived Australia in Lahore, Pakistan conceded 267 and lost by 18 runs.
Pakistan winning the World Cup was hard to envision during the first half of the tournament. Imran’s team, already missing an injured Waqar Younis, won only one of their first five league matches – including another loss to India – and managed to scrape into the semis after their skipper, in his 40th year and nursing a troublesome right shoulder, famously told his team: “Listen, just be as if you were a cornered tiger”.
In the semi-finals against co-hosts New Zealand, Pakistan triumphed at Eden Park around a stunning innings from a rookie Inzamam-ul-Haq.
Then, in front of a record crowd of 87, 182 at the MCG, Imran crowned his glorious career by leading Pakistan to victory in 1992. He will be remembered as one of the game’s great bowlers but he was a fine batsman too and it was in this discipline, as well as captaincy, that he principally excelled in the tournament. He promoted himself to fortify a brittle top order and hit 72 in the final against England and it was somehow fitting that Imran should lift the trophy and never play again. It was, simply, an epic end to an outstanding career.
Wills World Cup 1996
Now defending champions, and playing hosts once again, Pakistan were once again expected to go far were inconsistent.
They beat UAE and Netherlands, lost to South Africa, and then beat New Zealand and England to reach the quarter-finals where they were beaten by India in an epic match.
ICC World Cup 1999
Pakistan reached the World Cup final despite losing three games in a row, one in the league and two in the Super Six stage. When it mattered, however, they hammered Zimbabwe and New Zealand to qualify for the final. But the final was a one-sided affair with Australia running away to victory.
Pakistan were bowled out for 132 as Shane Warne mesmerised with four wickets, dismissing Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Shahid Afridi and Wasim Akram from nine overs. This performance earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. The first World Cup final, at Lord’s 24 years earlier almost to the day, had lasted nearly ten hours. This one lasted a little over five.
ICC World Cup 2003
Four years later in South Africa, Pakistan never got going. They won just two of six matches (one was a no-result) and this included another World Cup loss to India, inspired by Sachin Tendulkar.
Pakistan topped their group after handing Sri Lanka their only loss of the league stage. Their only loss came to New Zealand, but a hammering of West Indies in the quarter-finals set up the mother of all semi-finals, against India at Mohali. But once again, Pakistan lost to their arch-rivals to make if five losses at World Cups.
ICC World Cup 2015
Against the backdrop of player-coach troubles, Pakistan stumbled into the quarter-finals. Two losses in a row were backed by four successive wins. Up against hosts Australia in the quarter-finals, Pakistan found some drive from Wahab Riaz but ended up losing.
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