Cricket World Cup History: 3 times the host nation won the tournament
Home advantage is crucial in every sport. The fans of the home team come out in large numbers to support their local heroes and act as an extra man in favour of their team.
In cricket, this advantage extends beyond just the support. Every country is different in its conditions. The temperature, wind speed, humidity, nature of the pitch, size of the ground -- everything plays a major part in the game of cricket. For example, the ball will get more spin on the dusty pitches of the Indian sub-continent thus helping the spinners. It will get much more bounce on the bouncy pitches of Australia and South Africa thus helping the pacers. And if we look at the pitches of England and New Zealand, the ball will swing away from the batsman more than anywhere else in the world.
And maybe this is the reason that most of the time, we see the host nations performing relatively better than their counterparts in bilateral series and in the ICC tournaments as well. As far as the ODI World Cup is concerned, out of the total 11 editions till date, 3 have been won by one of the host nations. So let us have a look at all these instances.
#3 1996 - Sri Lanka
The 1996 Cricket World Cup was jointly hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It was the second time that the competition was held in India and Pakistan but Sri Lanka was made the host nation for the very first time. They grabbed this opportunity with both hands as they defeated Australia by 7 wickets in the final played at Lahore and won their first and only World Cup till date.
Sri Lanka also gained two unsporting advantages in the group stage of the tournament. The Australian and West Indies teams refused to travel to Colombo for their match against Sri Lanka amidst security concerns. Therefore the Sri Lankans were declared the winners of these fixtures by walkover.
Sri Lanka faced India in the semifinals, held at the Eden Gardens. The Sri Lankans were awarded a victory before the match was even completed as the Indian crowd at the Eden started riots due to the poor performance of the Indian team. Team India was 120/8 while chasing a target of 252.