The 1992 World Cup, held jointly by Australia and New Zealand, saw many changes to the tournament;
A new sponsor (Benson and Hedges), a radical ‘all-play-all’ group stage replicated in the 2019 edition, day/night matches, a white ball, coloured clothing, and a ‘rain rule’ which helped England to get past South Africa in the semi-finals, as a twelve-minute rain delay reduced South Africa’s target of 22 from 13 balls to 1 ball.
England’s opponents this time would be Pakistan, who defeated New Zealand in the semi-finals and were playing in their first final under the captaincy of Imran Khan.
When the two teams met in the group stages, England bowled Pakistan out for 74 before rain forced an abandonment. The final, in front of 87,182 spectators at Melbourne Cricket Ground, was a much more dramatic and competitive affair.
Wearing a t-shirt with an image of a tiger printed on it, a nod to his motto that the team fight like ‘cornered tigers’, Khan won the toss for Pakistan and decided to bat. With both openers dismissed by Derek Pringle, Javed Miandad joined Khan at the crease with his side at 24 for 2.
A partnership of 139 for the third wicket followed, brought to an end by Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth. Pakistan made 249 for 6 from 50 overs, Khan top scoring with 72 (he was the only player to hit a 6 in the match), while Derek Pringle was the pick of England’s bowlers with 3 for 22 from 10 overs – the best figures by an England player in a World Cup Final.
In reply, England like Pakistan suffered a poor start as Botham was dismissed for a duck and Alec Stewart was caught for 7, leaving them on 21 for 2.
Then Mushtaq Ahmed captured the wickets of Hick and captain Graham Gooch, leaving England on 69-4, but Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb put together a strong partnership which pushed England to 138-4 after 34 overs – 25 ahead of Pakistan’s total at the same stage.
From there, the match turned again, this time decisively, as Wasim Akram bowled Lamb and his replacement Chris Lewis in consecutive balls. England continued the chase, Fairbrother top scoring with 62, but in the last over, Rameez Raja caught Illingworth off the bowling of Khan to leave England all out for 227, and Pakistan won their first World Cup title by 22 runs.
With figures of 3-49 and scoring 33 runs, Wasim Akram was named Man of the Match, receiving a gold medallion and 3,000 dollars. At the end of the match Khan received the trophy, a globe made from Waterford Crystal, from the ICC Chairman Colin Cowdrey, who offered a simple instruction, that he ‘mustn’t drop it’.
The scorebook used by England from the 1992 final is on display in the MCC Museum during the 2019 World Cup, as well as Wasim Akram’s jumper, Dermot Reeve’s leg guard, Phil DeFreitas’s helmet and Allan Lamb’s jumper which were used during the tournament.