3 Times When Defending Champs Failed: It is a popular saying in sports that winning a title is easier than defending it. Teams often develop well-thought-out plans to win the World Cup. There have been teams like England who completely revamped their white ball structure to win the World Cup. India started preparing for the 2011 World Cup in 2009 itself.
The problem in defending the crown:
This is the kind of method teams deploy. But not many teams spend enough time to go about their title defence. Hence winning the World Cup twice in a row becomes that much more difficult. Apart from Australia and West Indies, no other side has won the title defending it.
England’s abject performance:
There was a lot of talk around how England’s 2023 white ball team is even better than the one that won the World Cup. The return of Ben Stokes added gravitas to the side. But Jos Buttler led-England have been anything but good. They have failed to come to terms with conditions, opponents, and matchups. The side looks a pale shadow of the champion team they were in 2019. England so far has produced one of the shoddiest ever defence of a World Cup title.
We look at 3 Times When Defending Champs Failed in Cricket World Cup:
#3 Australia – 2011
They didn’t drop a game for a stretch of 29 matches across three World Cups (1999, 2003, and 2007). Australia won World Cup games for fun. There was absolutely no team that came close to them during this period of dominance. But come the 2011 World Cup, the air of invincibility around them started diminishing.
Pakistan broke their unbeaten run defeating them in a league game. They made the quarterfinals but lost out to a determined Indian team. Australia failed to make the semis for the only time between 1996-2019 (7 editions). It was clearly an underperformance from them!
#2 Sri Lanka – 1999
Arjuna Ranatunga was regarded as one of the finest leaders in the game. He was a fiercely loyal captain who backed his troops to the hilt. In 1996, he led a passionate team who gave everything to their captain to notch up a memorable World Cup win. Sri Lanka’s journey was made easier with few teams refusing to tour the country owing to political and safety reasons. This helped Sri Lanka book a spot in the quarters quite comfortably. They then went on to win all the 3 knockout games to emerge champions.
But it was a completely different story in the 1999 World Cup that was played in England. Sri Lanka couldn’t succeed in those conditions. They painted a sorry picture winning just 2 games out of 5 in the first round. Sri Lanka exited in the group stage itself.
#1 Australia – 1992
Allan Border, one of the greats of the game led an unheralded Australia to glory in the 1987 World Cup. It was a win that slowly started changing the world order. The subsequent World Cup in 1992 was to be played down under. It was expected that Australia would find it easy to defend the title in the home World Cup. But that was not the case. An ageing Australian side found very little energy to compete in the tournament. They could muster just 4 wins from 8 games and crashed out from the World Cup.