On This Day: West Indies Became the First Cricket World Champions

First Cricket World Champions
Image Source: Stumpsandbails.com
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Cricket is now a religion for many and World Cup, like a pilgrimage. There is a long history of the biggest cricket tournament in the world. The World Cup 1975, the Prudential Cup, the one of a kind saw its first winner today on 21 June 1975. The mighty West Indies beat spirited Australia to be the first champions of the cricketing world.

The Men’s Cricket World Cup was first hosted in 1975 in England, which was the only country capable of putting together the necessary resources to host such an event. The matches were 60 overs for each team and were played with red balls and typical white uniforms. All of them were performed during the day.

The first tournament featured eight teams: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, and the West Indies (the six Test nations at the time), as well as Sri Lanka and an East African composite squad.

On June 21, 1975, West Indies defeated Australia by 17 runs in the final to become the first side to win the ODI World Cup. Clive Lloyd’s side went into the elimination stage undefeated, defeating New Zealand to advance to the final. Australia defeated England in another knockout match, headed by Ian Chappell.

West Indies were called in to bat first by Chappell, and Lloyd’s men scored 291/8 in 60 overs. West Indies got off to a shaky start and were reduced to 50/3. Lloyd rebuilt the innings and played the captain’s innings, smashing a century before being removed for 102 by Gary Gilmour. There were two maximums and 12 boundaries in the innings. Keith Boyce and Bernard Julien came in handy late in the game, adding 52 runs to the total, which was the difference between the two teams.

Gilmour led the Australian bowlers’ pack with a five-wicket haul that included the coveted wicket of Viv Richards. Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee took two and one wickets, respectively, 

Australia got off to a stronger start in their pursuit of a massive total of 292, with Chappell and Alan Turner ticking the scoreboard. West Indies were able to claw their way back into the game with a pair of run-outs, including Chappell for 62. As he rocked the middle-order, Boyce’s speed disrupted Australia’s chase. The right-arm pacer ended the day with four wickets, including the great Rod Marsh, to bowl Australia out for 274 in 59 overs.

For his all-around brilliance – 102 (85) and 1/38 – Lloyd was named Player of the Match.

The team that won the World Cup still has a great significance even now. The West Indies were lethal at the time and are still known for the impact they created in world cricket. The playing XI is full of legends and their fearless attitude became a lesson for many. There is no denying the team that won the first world cup was one of the greatest teams to ever play the sport. 

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