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From the Archives: The World Cup at Lord's

Posted: 30 May 2019

As the fifth men’s World Cup is now upon us, MCC Archivist Rob Curphey looks back at previous World Cups in England, and the ten World Cup matches that were held at Lord’s.

The Beginning

The genesis of a Cricket World Cup can be attributed to numerous factors;

Firstly, the introduction and popularity of a domestic one-day competition, known as the Gillette Cup, that was introduced in England in the 1960s, and then in the 1970s. 

Secondly, the introduction and increasing popularity of regular one-day international competitions played by tourists who visited England - touring sides, in addition to Tests, would play the hosts for the Prudential Trophy in a two-three game series in England, first held in 1972.

In 1971, the first one-day international took place between Australia and England in Melbourne as a consequence of a washed-out Test match.The 1971 washed out Test in AustraliaThe International Cricket Conference decided in 1972 that in principle a tournament would be held in 1975, comprising eight participants – similar to an idea the then editor Ben Brocklehurst had proposed to S C Griffith, MCC Secretary, in 1969.

Prudential were chosen as the sponsors, helped by their recent success of sponsoring one-day internationals in England.




The first tournament, originally known as an ‘International Competition’ consisted of eight teams split into two groups of four.

The teams being England, Australia, West Indies, Pakistan, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka (not yet a Test nation) and East Africa (making their only appearance).

The teams were chosen at a meeting of TCCB and ICC representatives chaired by F R Brown in 1972, who also decided that all umpires selected would come from the United Kingdom and the match would consist of two 60-over innings.England's Dennis AmissThe two teams of groups would play each other in a round robin format similar to in football’s World Cup competition, with the winner of each match receiving four points.

The first match at Lord’s was remembered for Dennis Amiss’ sparkling innings of 137* - which Amiss later recalled in 2013 as his favourite memory of playing at Lord’s – helping England to defeat India by 202 runs.


That match was one of only two hosted by Lord’s throughout the tournament – the other being the final, between the two tournament favourites, Australia and the West Indies.

Despite losing the toss, West Indies made a total of 291 in 60 overs – with their captain Clive Lloyd scoring 102, Gary Gilmour ending with figures of 5 for 48 for Australia.

Chasing West Indies’ total, Australia had five men ran out, and Keith Boyce took 4 wickets, as West Indies won the inaugural Prudential World Cup by 17 runs.West Indies' Keith BoyceThe trophy – on display in the MCC Museum – was presented to Lloyd, winning captain and who earned a further £200 as man of the match, by the MCC President Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 


The success of the previous tournament immediately made ICC agree to host a second competition, again held in England following a vote of full members of ICC in July 1977.

The tournament was preceded by a qualifying competition for associate members known as the ICC Trophy, also held in England, where the two finalists would go on to compete as one of the 8 teams.

The draw was made at the ICC Conference in July 1978, and the two finalists from the previous tournament, West Indies and Australia, were seeded, with the two qualifiers being kept apart. The format remained the same (four groups of two from which the top two would play each other in the semi-final), home umpires were used in order to reduce costs, and Prudential retained their sponsorship of the competition.

The ICC Trophy took place between May-June 1979 in the Midlands, with Sri Lanka defeating Canada in the final by 60 runs. 

As in 1975, Lord’s hosted two matches – the group stage clash between England and an Australia team decimated by World Series Cricket, and the final between the hosts and holders West Indies, who like Pakistan had retained their players who had appeared for Kerry Packer.West Indies' Viv Richards celebrates his century.In the final, with West Indies 99-4, Viv Richards went on to play one of the great one-day final innings, scoring 138 not out in 157 balls helping West Indies to a total of 286. Richards’ innings, then the second highest in one-day finals behind Geoffrey Boycott for Yorkshire in 1965, earned him the man of the match and a cheque for £300.

The hosts, in reply, could only muster 194, with Joel Garner taking 5 wickets for 38. This time, captain Lloyd received the trophy from MCC President Charles Palmer, alongside members of both teams.



The decision for the tournament to be hosted by England for a third time was initially confirmed in 1982.

The tournament, despite retaining the same number of teams, had more matches with teams playing each other twice in the new format, in a bid to reduce the chances of weather-affected results.

The draw for the tournament was made at the ICC Conference in July 1982, with the two finalists from the previous tournament – West Indies and England – kept apart in the draw. Sri Lanka, now a Test nation, also took part, leaving Zimbabwe as the only associate nation who qualified for the tournament via the ICC Trophy.Various programmes from 1983.The number of overs per innings remained at 60 and home umpires were again selected, and told to apply a stricter interpretation of wides and bouncers, with more than twice as many wides per match as in 1979.

Prudential were again the sponsors though this tournament represented their final involvement in sponsoring cricket.Despite the increase in fixtures, Lord’s only hosted three games – two group stage matches between England and Pakistan and Australia and West Indies, and West Indies returned to play the final against India. The holders were hot favourites to regain their crown, but India upset the odds by bowling West Indies out for 140.

Kapil Dev kisses the trophy in 2019.The Cup, used for the final time in the tournament’s history, was presented to the Indian captain Kapil Dev by the MCC President Sir Anthony Tuke in front of crowds swarmed around the Pavilion at Lord’s.

Mohinder Amarnath was named man of the match, scoring 26 and taking 3 wickets for 12 runs in seven overs. India’s victory was all the more remarkable as prior to the tournament odds of them winning ranged from 33-1 to 66-1. 


After World Cups held in India and Pakistan in 1987 and Australia and New Zealand in 1992, England were chosen again to host the World Cup for 1999 (provisionally 1998) at a meeting of ICC in 1993.

This decision, and subsequent agreement to host the final at Lord’s (made two years prior to the tournament) was the impetus for MCC undertaking a series of projects to improve Lord’s, including a new Grand Stand and Media Centre.The Media Centre in 1999.

The Media Centre

The tournament consisted of 12 teams including three associate nations that qualified via the ICC Trophy in Malaysia in 1997 – Bangladesh, Kenya and Scotland. 

Although England were selected as hosts, the tournament held matches in Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh and Amstelveen in Holland. Therefore, the amount of different venues (21) for the 42 matches ultimately meant that like in 1983, Lord’s hosted only three matches.

This included the opening match preceded by the tournament’s opening ceremony, where England defeated defending champions Sri Lanka by 8 wickets, and a match in the new ‘Super Six’ second group stage between Australia and Zimbabwe.

Australia then returned to Lord’s for the final against Pakistan, which after the drama of their monumental semi-final against South Africa, was a much easier affair.

Pakistan were bowled out for 132 leaving Australia a straightforward target that they achieved in 20.1 overs. Shane Warne was named man of the match for his spell of 4-33 in 9 overs. The Australian captain Steve Waugh was presented with the trophy by the ICC President Jagmohan Dalmiya.Shane Warne and Steve Waugh during the 1999 victory parade. 

Visit the MCC Museum

Visitors to the MCC Museum over the summer will be able to see a number of items relating to these tournaments as part of the ‘Tournaments’ exhibition including:

  • Match worn shirts from the 1999 World Cup used by Tom Moody and Jonty Rhodes
  • The official match poster for the 1999 final
  • Scorebooks used in the 1979 and 1983 finals,
  • The first World Cup trophy that was lifted at Lord’s by Clive Lloyd and Kapil Dev
    Find Out More

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