Facts. It is perhaps Rafa Benitez’s favourite word and definitely something most enjoy knowing—especially if it is fun or rather unknown. Facts are the basis of almost everything in life as, in most cases, we make our decisions based on them.
In the sporting fraternity, facts hold an important place since it creates hype—something we love when it comes to sports. It is no different in cricket either as decades of playing the sport has garnered a lot of facts, some of which are intriguing as well as little known.
With 11 World Cups played, cricket has its fair share of facts and here are 5 World Cup facts that you probably don’t know…
1) First ODI hit-wicket ever
There are many ways for a batsman to get out. One of the rare ones are hit-wickets. It is not often that one sees a batsman hitting the stumps with the bat or any part of the body. However, it does happen every once in a while, but the first time this happened in an ODI game was in a clash of the highest magnitude.
Playing in the final of the 1975 World Cup, Roy Fredericks was facing the speedster Dennis Lillee. The Australian banged in a short ball, which the West Indian hooked with force, so much that the ball went for a six while he lost his balance and his flailing leg touched the stumps, making him the first ever hit-wicket victim in ODIs.
2) The coin toss
The 2011 World Cup final began in the most controversial way possible. At toss itself, the two captains—India’s MS Dhoni and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara—were in apparent disagreement with each other, albeit in a friendly manner.
As match referee Jeff Crowe flipped the coin, he couldn’t hear Sangakkara’s call. Heads was what fell, and apparently it was what the then Sri Lankan captain called, but since everyone failed to hear it, the coin was tossed again.
This time, however, Sangakkara called heads again and, thankfully for him, heads was the result yet again—making him win the toss. Imagine the controversy if he hadn’t.
3) The only ever 100 mph ball
Nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like the will to bowl fast. Indeed, even the spectators feel the blood propelling through their veins when they witness a fast bowler bowling at speeds that range in the late-90 mph.
However, there was this one occasion when a bowler touched the holy mark of a 100 mph—and we all know who that was.
When Shoaib Akhtar charged in at full speed to bowl to Nick Knight in a World Cup 2003 match, there were hopes that he could break the 100 mph barrier. And when the big screen revealed the truth, it delighted the fans and the bowler himself. To this day, it was the only ever 100mph ball recorded in ODI (if you don’t consider radar glitches).
4) When generosity cost India
Kapil Dev was not only a legendary bowler for India, he was also a great and generous human being. However, his generosity once cost India—and that too in a World Cup clash.
When Dean Jones smashed Maninder Singh’s delivery over mid-off during a 1987 World Cup clash, the umpires weren’t sure if the ball went over the fence or bounced just inside it. Ravi Shastri, being the nearest fielder, signaled ‘four’ to the umpire and they took his word for it.
However, Dean Jones went towards the umpire and opined that it was a six. The latter delayed the resolving of the issue till the mid-innings break. During the break, the umpires approached Kapil Dev and he allowed Australia’s pleas to be accepted and hence, in the end, a six was awarded.
In the end, India lost the game by just a single run—making that decision a match-changing one.
5) India have won it all
Once upon a time, 50 overs wasn’t the maximum number of overs a side could play in an innings. ODI cricket used to be 60 overs-an-innings and the final of the 1983 World Cup was the last time an ODI game had 60-overs-per-innings.
As we all know, India won that tournament. The next World Cup they won the T20 World Cup in 2007 and then came the 2011 World Cup triumph—which makes them the only team in the history of cricket to win the 20 overs, the 50 overs and the 60 overs World Cup.
This is a record that will perhaps never be broken since 60-60 ODI games are never happening again.