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Pakistan’s Rollercoaster Journey Through The Cricket World Cups

Pakistan’s Rollercoaster Journey Through The Cricket World Cups

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With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 starting tomorrow, we thought we’d give you a rundown of our national team’s previous performances at the tournament.

1975

At the debut cricket world cup, Pakistan went in as the lowest ranked side into the tournament. The team was captained by Asif Iqbal and had a lot of talented players such as Majid Khan, Zaheer Khan, Imran Khan, Wasim Raja, Javed Miandad and the discoverer of reverse swing bowling Sarfraz Nawaz in the squad. Yet the team faced a tough challenge as they had both the eventual cup finalists Australia and West Indies in their group. They lost their opening games against the two giants and managed to get a consolation win against Sri Lanka before bowing out in the group stages.

1979

West Indian players pose with the 1979 World Cricket World Cup Trophy

Pakistan returned to the world cup ready to make amends for their embarrassing group stage exit in the previous tournament. The team was once again lead by Asif Iqbal this time won their opening two games against Canada and Australia while losing out in the final game to eventual group winners and runners up for the cup England, by 14 runs. In a tightly contested semifinal against eventual cup winners West Indies, the team lost by 43 runs and were knocked out. The tournament was a huge step forward for Pakistan cricket as the team showed it was capable of competing against the best teams in the sport.

1983

West Indian fast bowler Malcolm Marshall celebrates the wicket of Pakistani captain Imran Khan.

Now under the captaincy of all-rounder Imran Khan, the Pakistani team approached the world cup with an aura of new energy. With the legendary spin bowler, Abdul Qadir and veteran batsman Ramiz Raja also on the roster hopes were high for the team. During the group stages, the team managed to win and lose three games each, finishing second in their group due to a higher run rate than third-placed New Zealand.

A highlight of these group stages was Pakistan’s first ever century at a World Cup, scored by Imran Khan against Sri Lanka.

Four days after that, Zaheer Abbas scored Pakistan’s second World Cup century against New Zealand. In the semi-finals, the team once again went up against a formidable West Indies side, unfortunately, lost by eight wickets. This was the second time in a row the team had managed to reach the semi-finals and gave the Pakistani fans hope for a very bright future.

1987

Pakistani Batsman Javed Miandad at the 1987 Cricket World Cup.

The 1987 Cricket World Cup was the first one held outside of England and was co-hosted by India and Pakistan. Once again captained by Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket team was eager to impress as they had in the previous edition. Pakistan started the tournament in great style, winning their first 5 games in style. In their final group stage game, the team lost to West Indies but progressed to the semi-finals by finishing at the top of their group. The semi-finals saw the team face a formidable Australian side. Unfortunately, the ghost of their previous semi-final exit came to haunt the Pakistani team and sadly they lost out to the eventual cup winners Australia by 4 wickets in a thrilling encounter in Lahore.

1992

Pakistani Cricket team celebrates winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

The 1992 Cricket World Cup was the first to feature colored clothing and floodlights. It saw Pakistan go in as underdogs and the team struggled as they won only four of their eight opening games and barely made it into the knockout stages by drawing against England in their final game and finishing above Australia in the group by only one point. In the semi-finals, Pakistan managed to break the curse of previous semi-final exits and defeated New Zealand in a high scoring and highly contested game. Youngster Inzamam ul Haq announced himself to the world of cricket with a stellar batting performance scoring 60 off of 37 balls.

Pakistani captain Imran Khan speaks to the stadium while holding the 1992 CWC Trophy after defeating England in the final.

The final of the world cup against England saw Pakistan get off to a slow and bumpy start as they lost both their openers at 24 runs scored. There was a resemblance to the previous encounter between the two teams in the tournament where Pakistan had been bowled out for 74. But a 139 run second wicket partnership between Imran Khan and Javed Miandad set up a comfortable score and with late onslaughts from Inzamam ul Haq (42) and Wasim Akram (33) Pakistan pushed to a total of 249 runs. In the second innings, the Pakistani bowlers Wasim Akram, Moin Khan, and Mushtaq Ahmed proved to be too much for England and captain Imran Khan claimed the final wicket of the game to give Pakistan won their first ever World Cup as they defeated England by 22 runs.

After this world cup, captain Imran Khan announced his retirement from one day cricket.

Fast bowler Wasim Akram ended the cup as top wicket taker with 18 wickets to his name. After the tournament, captain Imran Khan labelled the team as ‘cornered tigers’ as he told the media that it was the mentality of being cornered tigers that had earned his team this victory.

1996

Prime Minister Benzair Bhutto looks on as Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga talks to the media while holding the CWC Trophy at Qaddafi Stadium, Lahore.

Lead by the fast bowler Wasim Akram, Pakistan went into this world cup with high hopes as the cup was being held in Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka. With names such as Waqar Younis, Saqlain Mushtaq and Saleem Malik on the roster, the team started out strong in the group stages and won 4 out of their 5 games, losing only to eventual group winners South Africa.

Progressing to the quarterfinals with high hopes, the team was set to face arch-rivals India.

In a thrilling and emotion-filled encounter, the team, unfortunately, lost continuing their run of having never defeated India at the world cup finals. This world cup proved to be disappointing for the holding champions as they bowed out without reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1975.

1999

Team captains Steve Waugh and Wasim Akram after the toss for the Cricket World Cup final in 1999.

Once again captained by Wasim Akram, Pakistan returned to the world cup ready to make up for their quarter-final exit in the last tournament. Losing only one game in the group stages against Bangladesh, the team finished top of their group and progressed in style to the semi-final stage. Playing New Zealand for the once again in the semi-final stage, the team came out victorious in a dominating performance as they won by 9 wickets. The final saw Pakistan go up against a formidable Australian side and disappointingly the team lost by 9 wickets.

2003

Australian Cricket Team celebrates winning the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

Captained by the fast bowler Waqar Younis, Pakistan was eager to once again challenge for the world cup and hopefully make up for its loss in the final against Australia in the previous edition. Unfortunately, though, the team only managed to win 2 of its opening 6 games in a group that contained both eventual finalists India and Australia. For the first time since 1975 Pakistan was knocked out in the group stages in a disappointing fashion.

2007

Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer speaks to Shahid Afridi ahead of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The 2007 Cricket World Cup marked the start of a dark and sad time for Pakistani cricket. Captained by the 1992 semi-final hero Inzamam ul Haq, the Pakistani team went in with high hopes as joint favorites with India to win the cup. Unfortunately, the untimely death of coach Bob Woolmer left a huge impact on the team. They suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Ireland and managed to only win one game against Zimbabwe. This meant that the team was once again knocked out in the group stages and the dreams for a second world cup seemed to be dead for most Pakistani cricket fans.

2011

Pakistani fast bowler Wahab Riaz celebrates the wicket of Indian batsman Virender Sehwag.

Leading up to the 2011 world cup, the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore caused Pakistan to lose its status as a co-host for the world cup. Along with this, the ban on international cricket following the attack also led to the Pakistani team’s hopes for a strong world cup performance being undermined. Under the leadership of the explosive Shahid Afridi, Pakistan went into the 2011 world cup with hopes of making amends for their untimely exit in the previous two editions.

The team dominated their group and won 5 of their 6 games, losing only to New Zealand.

The quarterfinals saw Pakistan beat West Indies in a dominant performance in which they restricted the opponents to only 112 runs and won the game with all 10 wickets in hand. This was the first time the team had gotten to the semifinals since 1999. In the semi-finals, against India, Pakistan chose to bowl first and was given a formidable target of 261 runs to start. Unfortunately, the team fell short in the second innings and only managed to score 231 runs as they bowed out of the World Cup against eventual winners India.

2015

Pakistani Cricket Team sings the national anthem ahead of a game at the 2015 CWC.

Under the leadership of the veteran player Misbah ul Haq, the Pakistani team went into the 2015 Cricket World Cup without having played any cricket in their own country for the past 6 years. Hoping to give their fans something to cheer about, the team started out pretty strong losing only 2 of their opening 6 games and finishing third in their group behind India and South Africa. The quarter-final stage saw Pakistan go up against eventual cup winners Australia and in a tense and thrilling encounter, the Pakistani team disappointingly lost. This was only the second time in the history of the tournament that the Pakistani team was knocked out in the quarter-final stage.

What are your hopes and expectations for this world cup? Do you think our team has what it takes to defy the odds once again and repeat the miracle of 1992?