After 11 World Cups, five triumphant and two defeated finals, Australia boast an unprecedented five titles. We look back at where they got it wrong in 1975 and 1996 – and right in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015…
1. Captain and key all-rounder Clive Lloyd was too hot to handle for Ian Chappell’s men in June 1975’s inaugural final at Lord’s. Lloyd orchestrated a fine century against an opposition attack spearheaded by pace ace Dennis Lillee and Gary Gilmour, whose five-wicket haul went in vain. Seamer Lloyd’s four-for, a string of unfulfilled starts from the Australian batsmen – and as many as five run-outs – brought the Windies triumph.
2. November 1987 witnessed Australia’s maiden World Cup title, against England, at Eden Gardens in Calcutta. Opener David Boon and the little known Mike Veletta ensured a reasonably formidable total, after which two wickets apiece for seamer Steve Waugh and captain and spinner Allan Border capped an unsuccessful pursuit. English skipper Mike Gatting’s unsuccessful reverse sweep was the chief point of contention, while Boon walked away with the Man of the Match award.
3. Similar to Lloyd’s title-clinching exploits more than two decades earlier, Sri Lanka all-rounder Aravinda de Silva broke Australian hearts in March 1996’s final at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. De Silva’s superb ton and pivotal three wickets rendered Australian Mark Taylor’s solid half-century – and the early dismissals of the dangerous Romesh Kaluwitharana and Sanath Jayasuriya – ineffective. The Aussies, like in 1975, had failed again.
4. Sparking a hat-trick of World Cup titles, the Australians emerged comfortable victors over Pakistan in June 1999’s final at Lord’s – the scene of final disappointment two dozen years prior. Leg-spinner Shane Warne ripped through an opposition batting unit supposedly adept at successfully combating quality slow bowling. A quickfire cameo from the hard-hitting Adam Gilchrist later all but completed a modest chase, despite fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar’s collective counter.
5. All of eight Indian bowlers could not prevent the in-form Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn from leading Australia to a 350-plus total in March 2003’s final at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Seamers Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee then shared five important wickets, which included the early fall of cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar. McGrath aptly snared the final wicket, which heralded a second successive World Cup trophy.
6. Australia’s three consecutive titles arrived at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, in controversial circumstances, in April 2007. Umpires Aleem Dar and Steve Bucknor kept all and sundry out in the middle despite severely bad light. Enough mandatory time eventually elapsed, amid a desperate chase from Sri Lanka, and the Aussies were crowned champions – thanks largely to Gilchrist’s big century much earlier in the brightness of the Bridgetown day.
7. Unbeaten throughout a dominant campaign prior to March 2015’s title decider at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, New Zealand’s proverbial bubble burst in their very first World Cup final. Left-arm trio Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner dismissed the Kiwis for less than 190, tellingly lined with four ducks, before a characteristically quick start laid the foundation for ultimate triumph in captain Michael Clarke’s last ever ODI.