Cricket and World Cup
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players each on a field at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. Each team takes its turn to bat, attempting to score runs, while the other team fields. Each turn is known as an innings.
The bowler delivers the ball to the batsman who attempts to hit the ball with his bat away from the fielders so he can run to the other end of the pitch and score a run. Each batsman continues batting until he is out. The batting team continues batting until ten batsmen are out, or a specified number of overs of six balls have been bowled, at which point the teams switch roles and the fielding team comes in to bat.
In professional cricket the length of a game ranges from 20 overs per side to Test cricket played over five days. The Laws of Cricket are maintained by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) with additional Standard Playing Conditions for Test matches and One Day Internationals.
Cricket was first played in southern England in the 16th century. By the end of the 18th century, it had developed to be the national sport of England. The expansion of the British Empire led to cricket being played overseas and by the mid-19th century the first international match was held. ICC, the game’s governing body, has 10 full members. The game is most popular in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa.
The ICC Cricket World Cup is the international championship of One Day International (ODI) cricket. The event is organised by the sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), with preliminary qualification rounds leading up to a finals tournament held every four years. The tournament is one of the world’s most viewed sporting events and is considered the “flagship event of the international cricket calendar” by the ICC.
The first World Cup was organised in England in June 1975, with the first ODI cricket match having been played only four years prior. However, a separate Women’s Cricket World Cup had been held two years before the first men’s tournament, and a tournament involving multiple international teams had been held as early as 1912, when a triangular tournament of Test matches was played between Australia, England and South Africa. Each of the first three World Cups were held in England. From the 1987 tournament onwards, hosting has been shared between countries under an unofficial rotation system, with fourteen ICC members having hosted at least one match in the tournament.
The finals of the World Cup are contested by the ten full members of the ICC (all of which are Test-playing teams) and a number of teams made up from associate and affiliate members of the ICC, selected via the World Cricket League and a later qualifying tournament. A total of 19 teams have competed in the ten editions of the tournament, with 14 competing in the 2011 tournament. Australia has won the tournament four times, with the West Indies, India (twice each), Pakistan and Sri Lanka (once each) also having won the tournament. The best performance by a non-full-member team came when Kenya made the semi-finals of the 2003 tournament.