IndvsAus 628
India and Australia have played most frequently against each other in the World Cup — ten times © Getty Images

ICC cricket World Cup 2015 ready to tee off on February 14. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the head-to-head records of different teams and highlights interesting trivia.

The fact that India has met Pakistan five times and has won all matches is well-known trivia to everyone. It is also known that while the sides never met (were they kept away intentionally?) in the first four editions of World Cup cricket, they played five times in the six tournaments from 1992 to 2011, and they are about to take on each other a sixth time.

Does any other team have a dominance of such an extent on another? Talking of encounters, which two teams have played each other more often than any others? Which two teams have locked horns against each other in the most even of contests? How have the minnows fared over the years? Let us find out.

Success ratios of all teams in World Cup cricket

With four World Cup wins, Australia have easily been the best side of the tournament with a win-loss ratio close to three. South Africa, with 30 wins and 15 losses, ranks second, despite not winning a single knock-out match. An even more surprising entry is that of England, who have not qualified for the semifinal in the last five editions, at three. The Asian sides occupy positions six (India), seven (Pakistan), nine (Sri Lanka), and ten (Bangladesh).

Overall
Team M W L T NR W/L
Australia 76 55 19 1 1 2.895
South Africa 47 30 15 2 0 2.000
England 66 39 25 1 1 1.560
West Indies 64 38 25 0 1 1.520
India 67 39 26 1 1 1.500
Pakistan 64 36 26 0 2 1.385
New Zealand 70 40 29 0 1 1.379
Sri Lanka 66 31 32 1 2 0.969
Bangladesh 26 8 17 0 1 0.471
Ireland 15 4 10 1 0 0.400
Kenya 29 6 22 0 1 0.273
Zimbabwe 51 10 37 1 3 0.270
UAE 5 1 4 0 0 0.250
Canada 18 2 16 0 0 0.125
Netherlands 20 2 18 0 0 0.111
Bermuda 3 0 3 0 0 0.000
East Africa 3 0 3 0 0 0.000
Namibia 6 0 6 0 0 0.000
Scotland 8 0 8 0 0 0.000

If we consider only the league matches, however, South Africa’s win-loss ratio of 2.7 comes extremely close to Australia’s 2.8. England and New Zealand, yet to win a World Cup, rank surprisingly high at three and four. It probably reflects how the inability to deliver in crunch matches has gone against South Africa, England, and New Zealand.

  League
Team M W L T NR W/L
Australia 62 45 16 0 1 2.813
South Africa 42 30 11 1 0 2.727
England 56 36 18 1 1 2.000
New Zealand 62 39 22 0 1 1.773
Pakistan 54 32 20 0 2 1.600
West Indies 55 32 22 0 1 1.455
India 57 32 23 1 1 1.391
Sri Lanka 57 25 29 1 2 0.862
Bangladesh 26 8 17 0 1 0.471
Ireland 15 4 10 1 0 0.400
Kenya 28 6 21 0 1 0.286
Zimbabwe 51 10 37 1 3 0.270
UAE 5 1 4 0 0 0.250
Canada 18 2 16 0 0 0.125
Netherlands 20 2 18 0 0 0.111
Bermuda 3 0 3 0 0 0.000
East Africa 3 0 3 0 0 0.000
Namibia 6 0 6 0 0 0.000
Scotland 8 0 8 0 0 0.000

Only nine teams have ever played knock-out matches in World Cup. One of them was Kenya (semi-final, World Cup 2003), but of the other eight only South Africa is yet to win a World Cup knock out-encounter. Their five matches have resulted in four defeats and a tie. New Zealand (one win, seven defeats) and England (three wins, seven defeats) have done marginally better.

On the other hand, three subcontinent teams feature in the top five: while Australia’s ten wins and three losses are unmatched, India has commendable numbers (seven wins and three losses); West Indies and Sri Lanka share third spot (six wins and three losses apiece), while Pakistan (four and six, respectively) has not done too badly either.

  Knock-out
Team M W L T NR W/L
Australia 14 10 3 1 3.333
India 10 7 3 2.333
West Indies 9 6 3 2.000
Sri Lanka 9 6 3 2.000
Pakistan 10 4 6 0.667
England 10 3 7 0.429
New Zealand 8 1 7 0.143
South Africa 5 4 1 0.000
Kenya 1 1 0.000

The teams

Australia has played India a whopping 10 times in World Cups. They have also taken on West Indies and, surprisingly, Zimbabwe nine times. West Indies had a 4-0 lead over Australia, and despite the losses since 1992, they still maintain a 5-4 lead over them. Contrary to popular beliefs, South Africa have played Australia only five times, and have a 1-3 head-to-head count. Despite playing twice against each side, Australia have never lost a single World Cup match against Bangladesh, Canada, Netherlands, or Scotland.

  Australia
Team M W L T NR W/L
India 10 7 3 2.333
West Indies 9 4 5 0.800
Zimbabwe 9 8 1 8.000
New Zealand 8 6 2 3.000
Pakistan 8 4 4 1.000
Sri Lanka 8 6 1 1 6.000
England 6 4 2 2.000
South Africa 5 3 1 1 3.000
Bangladesh 2 2
Canada 2 2
Netherlands 2 2
Scotland 2 2
Ireland 1 1
Namibia 1 1
Total 73 52 19 1 1 2.737

England’s biggest success story has come against West Indies. After losing the first encounter in World Cup 1979 final, they have won five matches on the trot (twice in 1987, and once in each of 1992, 2007, and 2011). They have played nine times against both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and their longest unbeaten streak of three matches has come against Netherlands.

  England
Team M W L T NR W/L
Pakistan 9 4 4 1 1.000
Sri Lanka 9 6 3 2.000
India 7 3 3 1 1.000
New Zealand 7 3 4 0.750
Australia 6 2 4 0.500
South Africa 6 3 3 1.000
West Indies 6 5 1 5.000
Netherlands 3 3
Bangladesh 2 1 1 1.000
Ireland 2 1 1 1.000
Zimbabwe 2 1 1 1.000
Canada 2 2
Kenya 2 2
East Africa 1 1
Namibia 1 1
UAE 1 1
Total 66 39 25 1 1 1.560

India’s 10 matches with Australia have been mentioned above, as has been their undefeated five-match streak against Pakistan. They have also won all four matches against Kenya and lost all three against South Africa. India had 3-4 head-to-head results against both Sri Lanka and New Zealand, though they have made up for that with 4-3 against West Indies (which included 2-2 at their pomp).

  India
Team M W L T NR W/L
Australia 10 3 7 0.429
Sri Lanka 8 3 4 1 0.750
Zimbabwe 8 7 1 7.000
England 7 3 3 1 1.000
New Zealand 7 3 4 0.750
West Indies 7 4 3 1.333
Pakistan 5 5
Kenya 4 4
South Africa 3 3 0.000
Bangladesh 2 1 1 1.000
Netherlands 2 2
Bermuda 1 1
East Africa 1 1
Ireland 1 1
Namibia 1 1
Total 67 39 26 0 2 1.500

New Zealand’s case is perhaps the most curious of the lot. They hold 4-3 advantages against both England and India, but their real success story have come against South Africa, against whom they hold a 4-2 lead, having won their last three matches. They have had a reverse run against Sri Lanka; after having a 3-1 lead they lost five on the trot and are currently at 3-6. They have also played nine matches, the most for them, against each other.

New Zealand’s longest all-win streaks of 3-0 have come against Bangladesh and Kenya, though of the six matches they have played against Zimbabwe, they have won five and one was washed off.

  New Zealand
Team M W L T NR W/L
Sri Lanka 9 3 6 0.500
Australia 8 2 6 0.333
Pakistan 8 2 6 0.333
England 7 4 3 1.333
India 7 4 3 1.333
South Africa 6 4 2 2.000
West Indies 6 3 3 1.000
Zimbabwe 6 5 1
Bangladesh 3 3
Canada 3 3
Kenya 2 2
East Africa 1 1
Ireland 1 1
Netherlands 1 1
Scotland 1 1
UAE 1 1
Total 70 40 29 0 1 1.379

Pakistan have played nine times against England and West Indies, and have lost their only matches against Bangladesh and Ireland. However, their World Cup performances have four outstanding streaks: 0-3 against South Africa, 0-5 against India, 5-0-1 against Zimbabwe (one abandoned), and most famously, 7-0 against Sri Lanka.

  Pakistan
Team M W L T NR W/L
England 9 4 4 1 1.000
West Indies 9 3 6 0.500
Australia 8 4 4 1.000
New Zealand 8 6 2 3.000
Sri Lanka 7 7
India 5 5 0.000
Zimbabwe 5 4 1
South Africa 3 3 0.000
Canada 2 2
Netherlands 2 2
Bangladesh 1 1 0.000
Ireland 1 1 0.000
Kenya 1 1
Namibia 1 1
Scotland 1 1
UAE 1 1
Total 64 36 26 0 2 1.385

South Africa have played six times against each of England and New Zealand — the most for them. They have a 2-4 record against New Zealand, 1-3 against Australia, and 3-3 against England, but have more than made up with 3-0 streaks against India, Pakistan, and Netherlands.

  South Africa
Team M W L T NR W/L
England 6 3 3 1.000
New Zealand 6 2 4 0.500
Australia 5 1 3 1 0.333
West Indies 5 3 2 1.500
Sri Lanka 4 2 1 1 2.000
Bangladesh 3 2 1 2.000
India 3 3
Netherlands 3 3
Pakistan 3 3
Zimbabwe 2 1 1 1.000
Ireland 2 2
Kenya 2 2
Canada 1 1
Scotland 1 1
UAE 1 1
Total 47 30 15 2 0 2.000

Sri Lanka have played nine matches against England with a 3-6 result but have dominated proceedings against New Zealand (6-3 from nine matches). Their 1-6 record against Australia is worse than the 0-7 against Pakistan, but a 5-0 streak against Zimbabwe has helped their cause.

  Sri Lanka
Team M W L T NR W/L
England 9 3 6 0.500
New Zealand 9 6 3 2.000
Australia 8 1 6 1 0.167
India 8 4 3 1 1.333
Pakistan 7 7 0.000
West Indies 6 2 4 0.500
Zimbabwe 5 5
Kenya 4 3 1 3.000
South Africa 4 1 2 1 0.500
Bangladesh 2 2
Canada 2 2
Bermuda 1 1
Ireland 1 1
Total 66 31 32 1 2 0.969

Despite their recent failures, West Indies hold a 5-4 advantage over Australia and 6-3 over Pakistan in the World Cup. They are down 1-5 against England (after being 1-0 up till 1983), but a 5-0 advantage over Zimbabwe is commendable, as is 4-2 over Sri Lanka.

  West Indies
Team M W L T NR W/L
Australia 9 5 4 1.250
Pakistan 9 6 3 2.000
India 7 3 4 0.750
England 6 1 5 0.200
New Zealand 6 3 3 1.000
Sri Lanka 6 4 2 2.000
South Africa 5 2 3 0.667
Zimbabwe 5 5
Bangladesh 4 3 1
Kenya 2 1 1 1.000
Ireland 2 2
Canada 1 1
Netherlands 1 1
Scotland 1 1
Total 64 38 25 0 1 1.520

Zimbabwe holds a 3-1 ratio against Kenya, but their real success story lies in holding England and South Africa to 1-1 margins. Unfortunately, head-to-head results of 0-5 against both Sri Lanka and West Indies, 1-8 against Australia, and 1-7 against India have not done their cause a lot of good.

  Zimbabwe
Team M W L T NR W/L
Australia 9 1 8 0.125
India 8 1 7 0.143
New Zealand 6 5 1 0.000
Kenya 5 3 1 1 3.000
Pakistan 5 4 1 0.000
Sri Lanka 5 5 0.000
West Indies 5 5 0.000
England 2 1 1 1.000
South Africa 2 1 1 1.000
Canada 1 1
Ireland 1 1
Namibia 1 1
Netherlands 1 1
Total 51 10 37 1 3 0.270

Most matches against each other

Australia and India have played each other as many as ten times in the World Cup, with Australia having a distinct 7-3 advantage. It must be remembered that till 1987 the teams were locked at 2-2, and India have won the last match between the sides. Australia have won all five matches in the interim.

Six other pairs have played each other nine times, of which Australia has the best record (8-1) over Zimbabwe. The most keenly fought contest has been between England and Pakistan, where each side has won four times while another match was abandoned midway.

  Most Matches
Matches Team 1 Team 2 Result
10 Australia India 7-3
9 Australia Zimbabwe 8-1
9 England Sri Lanka 6-3
9 Sri Lanka New Zealand 6-3
9 West Indies Pakistan 6-3
9 Australia West Indies 5-4
9 England Pakistan 4-4-1

Longest streaks

Contrary to popular belief, India’s 5-0 advantage over Pakistan is not a World Cup record. Pakistan themselves have a 7-0 advantage over Sri Lanka, while India’s difference is matched by both Sri Lanka and West Indies, who have 5-0 records against Zimbabwe. India also has a 4-0 head-to-head over Kenya, while there are six occasions (three of them in South Africa’s favour) with 3-0 outcomes.

    One-sided streaks
Team 1 Team 2 M W NR
Pakistan Sri Lanka 7 7
India Pakistan 5 5
Sri Lanka Zimbabwe 5 5
West Indies Zimbabwe 5 5
India Kenya 4 4
England Netherlands 3 3
New Zealand Bangladesh 3 3
New Zealand Canada 3 3
South Africa India 3 3
South Africa Netherlands 3 3
South Africa Pakistan 3 3
New Zealand Zimbabwe 6 5 1
Pakistan Zimbabwe 5 4 1
West Indies Bangladesh 4 3 1

As evident from the above table, New Zealand holds a 5-0 lead over Zimbabwe, Pakistan 4-0 over Zimbabwe, and West Indies 3-0 over Bangladesh. Unfortunately, they have also played an abandoned match against the opponents mentioned above, which have ruined the “set”.

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(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here)