The Cricket World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport, where the best teams from around the world compete for the ultimate glory. But do you know who were the bowlers who bowled the first ball of the 11 World Cups? In this article, we will take a look at the 11 bowlers who had the honour of starting the World Cup with their first delivery. From Madan Lal to Tim Southee, these bowlers have made history with their first ball in the World Cup.
Early World Cups 1975-1999: Bowlers who bowled the first ball of the Cricket World Cups
1975: Madan Lal’s initiation
The first Cricket World Cup in 1975 was a unique tournament with a 60-over format. India and England met in the opening match, and Madan Lal from India bowled the first ball to Dennis Amiss. Although India lost the match, Lal made history as the first bowler to bowl in a World Cup.
1979: The might of Sir Andy Roberts
The West Indies cricket team was the most dominant in the world in the 19th century, thanks to their fearsome fast bowling attack. Sir Andy Roberts was one of the key members of this attack, along with Malcolm Marshall. The two bowlers were so intimidating that even the best batsmen in the world struggled to face them.
Roberts opened the bowling in the 1979 Cricket World Cup opener against India, and he took two wickets for just 32 runs in his 9.1 overs. This set the tone for a West Indian victory, and Roberts’ performance was a reminder of why the West Indies were so feared during this era.
1983: Sir Richard Hadlee’s era
The 1983 Cricket World Cup was a watershed moment for Indian cricket. India had never won a major international tournament before, but they shocked the world by defeating the mighty West Indies in the final. This victory ushered in a new era for Indian cricket, and the team has since become one of the most successful in the world.
The opening match of the 1983 World Cup was played between England and New Zealand on June 9, 1983. England won the toss and elected to bat, giving Richard Hadlee the opportunity to bowl the first ball of the tournament. Hadlee led the New Zealand bowling attack in the opening match, and he bowled four maiden overs and conceded just 26 runs in his 12 overs.
1987 World Cup- Vinothen John, Sri Lanka
The 1987 Cricket World Cup, the first to be hosted by an Asian nation, was held in India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka and Pakistan faced off in the opening match on October 8, 1987, with VB John bowling the first ball. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, and John bowled the first over to Rameez Raja and Ijaz Ahmed. He finished his spell with 31 runs conceded from 10 overs without taking a wicket.
1992 World Cup- CJ McDermott, Australia
The 1992 Cricket World Cup was a major turning point in the history of the tournament. It was the first World Cup to be played in colored clothing with a white ball under floodlights. This made the game more visually appealing and popular with viewers.
The opening match of the 1992 World Cup was played between Australia and New Zealand, with CJ McDermott bowling the first ball for Australia. McDermott had a memorable match, taking two wickets and conceding just 43 runs from his 10 overs. His performance helped Australia to win the match.
1996: Dominic Cork’s precision
The 1996 Cricket World Cup, the second to be played in colored clothing, was hosted by India. The opening match was played between New Zealand and England at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on February 14, 1996. England elected to field first, and Dominic Cork bowled the first ball of the tournament to New Zealand openers Chris Spearman and Nathan Astle.
1999: Darren Gough’s pace
England hosted the 1999 Cricket World Cup, the seventh edition of the tournament. Australia won the tournament, defeating Pakistan in the final to claim their second World Cup title.
The opening match of the 1999 World Cup was played between Sri Lanka and England on May 14, 1999. Darren Gough bowled the first ball of the tournament to Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Mahanama. Gough had a difficult opening match, conceding 50 runs from 8.4 overs with just one wicket.
2003 World Cup- Shaun Pollock, South Africa
Shaun Pollock was a revolutionary fast bowler who revolutionized the concept of swing bowling. He is considered one of the greatest opening bowlers in history.
Pollock was also known for his accuracy, and he bowled the first ball of the 2003 Cricket World Cup opening match between South Africa and the West Indies. The West Indies won the match by three runs, but Pollock finished his 10 overs with two wickets and 52 runs conceded.
2007 World Cup- Umar Gul, Pakistan
The 2007 Cricket World Cup, the ninth edition of the tournament, was hosted by the West Indies. The opening match was played between the West Indies and Pakistan on March 13, 2007.
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq elected to field first, and Umar Gul bowled the first ball of the tournament to Chris Gayle. Gul finished the innings with the best economy rate for Pakistan.
Unfortunately, Pakistan failed to progress to the second round of the tournament after suffering a shock defeat to Ireland in the group stage.
2011 World Cup- Shafiul Islam, Bangladesh
India’s 2011 Cricket World Cup victory was a dream come true for the nation, as they regained the title after 28 years. The team’s success was due to the combined efforts of all the players, who performed their roles to perfection.
The opening match of the tournament was played between Bangladesh and India, with Shafiul Islam bowling the first ball to Indian opener Virender Sehwag. Sehwag smashed the ball for a four, setting the tone for a dominant Indian performance. Shafiul was unable to complete his 10-over spell, conceding 69 runs and taking one wicket.
It was also Virat Kohli’s debut World Cup match, and he made an impressive start, scoring a century. Sehwag and Kohli both registered centuries in the match, which India won by 9 wickets.
2015 World Cup- Nuwan Kulasekara, Sri Lanka
The 2015 Cricket World Cup was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, and Australia emerged victorious, defeating co-host New Zealand in the final to claim their fifth World Cup title.
The opening match of the tournament was played between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, with Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal electing to bowl first. Nuwan Kulasekara bowled the first ball of the tournament to Martin Guptill.
New Zealand won the match by a comfortable margin of 98 runs, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 233 in pursuit of 322. However, Kulasekara will forever be remembered for bowling the first ball of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
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