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Unveiling the Greatest: Power Ranking the Cricket World Cup Champions

by Uneeb Khan
Unveiling the Greatest: Power Ranking the Cricket World Cup Champions

The ICC Cricket World Cup is the pinnacle of achievement in one-day international cricket. It is contested by the best teams from around the world every four years. Since its inception in 1975, there have been 12 editions of the World Cup with 5 different teams being crowned champions as per icc world cup cricket news. Let’s power rank these 5 winners based on their performances in the World Cups they won.

5. Sri Lanka (1996)

Sri Lanka’s maiden World Cup triumph in 1996 was historic but their overall performance in that tournament was underwhelming compared to other champions. Going into the tournament, they were considered clear underdogs despite having talented players like Aravinda de Silva, Roshan Mahanama and Sanath Jayasuriya. After squeezing through the group stages with 3 wins and 2 losses, Sri Lanka upset England in the quarter-finals to make the last 4. Their batting struggled in the semi-final versus India but the bowlers restricted the Indians to 271 and Sri Lanka won by default after crowd trouble interrupted play. The final against Australia was expected to be one-sided with Mark Taylor’s Aussies playing at home. But Sri Lanka capitalized on winning the toss and batting first by posting 241/7 on the back of useful contributions from top order batsmen Jayasuriya, Mahanama and De Silva. The real game-changer was Vaas’ sensational opening spell removing the Aussie openers cheaply. Muralitharan and De Silva also chipped in to bowl Australia out for 241 and clinch a famous 43-run win. While it was a watershed moment for Sri Lankan cricket, their overall tournament record of 3 wins in 6 games was unconvincing for champions. 

4. West Indies (1975, 1979)

The all-conquering West Indies sides led by Clive Lloyd were expected to dominate the first two editions of the Cricket World Cup. With a formidable lineup boasting of stars like Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Clive Lloyd and Andy Roberts, the West Indies were undisputedly the best ODI team in that era. Riding on their fearsome fast bowling attack and aggressive batting approach, the West Indians cruised through to the finals in 1975 and 1979 relatively unchallenged. They outclassed Australia by 17 runs in the inaugural 1975 final at Lord’s as Richards smashed a scintillating 138. Four years later, West Indies trumped England by 92 runs in the 1979 final as Collis King smashed 86 off just 66 balls. So West Indies fulfilled their promise as pre-tournament favorites by winning those titles. However, on both occasions, barring a couple of close games in the group stages, the West Indians did not face any serious threat. The overall quality of opponents was not great as limited overs cricket was still evolving in the 1970s. Moreover, West Indies were expected to dominate and win those World Cups hands down.

3. Australia (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015)

Australia holds a record for a highest number of World Cup victories, securing a title five times, a feat unmatched by any other team. Their exceptional achievements include consecutive wins in a year 1999 as well as 2003, followed by the third triumph in 2007, forming a remarkable hat trick of victories. Eminent cricket legends such as Shane Warne, and Glenn McGrath, as well as Ricky Ponting, along with Adam Gilchrist contributed significantly to Australia’s remarkable journey. In the captivating showdown, Australia clinched their 5th title in a year 2015, setting the new record, as they defeated co-hosts New Zealand in an electrifying final. However, despite their impressive title collection, Australia’s World Cup campaigns have experienced their share of imperfections. Barring 1999 and 2003, they have had close shaves in the knockout rounds in their other successful runs. The depth in talent and consistency sets them apart, but there are other champions with higher peaks of excellence.

2. India (1983, 2011)

India’s World Cup win in 1983 was historic as it changed cricket’s power dynamics. As massive underdogs, India stunned the mighty West Indies in the final at Lord’s with an outstanding all-round display. Led by Kapil Dev, India’s fearless brand of cricket overturned the apple cart in that World Cup. 28 years later, India ended their long wait for a second World Cup crown by beating Sri Lanka in the 2011 final at home. Inspired by the brilliant batting of MS Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli, India chased down 275 with ease to lift the trophy after decades of heartbreaks. These two World Cup wins bookended by 28 years, albeit across different generations, signify Indian cricket’s finest moments. But India’s overall dominance in those two World Cup campaigns was just a notch below the next team on this list.

1. Pakistan (1992)

It is not often that you see an underdog team transforming itself from no-hopers to world champions in the space of a tournament. Pakistan did precisely that in the 1992 World Cup in Australia-New Zealand. Pakistan had a poor start to the tournament with just 1 win from their first 5 games. But inspired by Imran Khan’s leadership, Pakistan turned things around with 5 consecutive wins, including a semi-final and final for the ages. Needing 22 from 9 balls in the semi-final against New Zealand, Inzamam-ul-Haq smashed a legendary 37-ball 60 to pull off a miracle. In the final against England, Pakistan looked down and out chasing 249. But useful runs from Imran and Javed Miandad, followed by a sensational spell from Wasim Akram saw Pakistan win by 22 runs in one of cricket’s biggest upsets. For sheer drama and the unbelievable transformation it showed, Pakistan’s World Cup campaign of 1992 remains unmatched, and hence tops this power ranking.


While there have been 5 different World Cup winners, Pakistan’s miraculous triumph in 1992 edges them ahead as the best Cricket World Cup performance. Their story of going from outsiders to champions captures the romantic essence of cricket’s biggest tournament. But the consistency of Australia in winning a record 5 titles cannot be discounted either. Meanwhile, India and West Indies had their moments of glory in the 1970s/80s and the 2010s respectively. Sri Lanka broke new ground by winning in 1996, but lacked the all-round excellence of the other champions. This power ranking of the 5 Cricket World Cup winners as per icc world cup sports news, captures their journey and key highlights enroute glory.

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