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Ask Steven

Is Imran Khan the oldest man to play in a World Cup final?

And what's the highest innings total at the World Cup?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Imran Khan was 39 years 121 days old when he led Pakistan to their historic win in 1992, 56 days shy of being the oldest player in a World Cup final  •  Tony Feder/Getty Images

Imran Khan was 39 years 121 days old when he led Pakistan to their historic win in 1992, 56 days shy of being the oldest player in a World Cup final  •  Tony Feder/Getty Images

What's the highest innings total at the World Cup? And will it be broken this year? asked David McKenzie from England
Going into the 2019 edition, the highest World Cup total was Australia's 417 for 6 against Afghanistan in Perth in the last one, in 2015. That broke an eight-year-old mark, India's 413 for 5 against Bermuda in Port-of-Spain in 2007. There have been two other 400-plus totals in the World Cup, by South Africa in successive matches in 2015: after running up 408 for 5 against West Indies in Sydney on February 27, they pummelled 411 for 4 against Ireland in Canberra on March 3. Here's the the full list, which will be updated throughout the World Cup.
As for whether the record will be broken in 2019, it has to be on the cards: in all one-day internationals, there have been ten higher totals than Australia's 417, and four of them have come since the last World Cup - three (including the two highest totals of all) by England, and one by South Africa.
Which opening pair started successive World Cup finals with a hundred partnership? asked Michael Tate from Australia
This prolific pair was the Australians Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. They kicked off the 2003 final, against India in Johannesburg, by putting on 105 in 14 overs. Four years later, against Sri Lanka in Bridgetown, Gilchrist and Hayden began with an opening stand of 172, in 22.5 overs. The only other century opening stand in a World Cup final was a rather more sedate one - Geoff Boycott and Mike Brearley's 129 in 38 overs against West Indies at Lord's in 1979.
The unbroken third-wicket partnership of 234 by Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn for Australia in 2003 in Johannesburg remains the highest stand for any wicket in final.
East Africa played in the very first World Cup. Are there any other teams who have appeared just once in the tournament? asked Brian Waters from Kenya
East Africa, who took part in the 1975 World Cup, are one of three teams with just the one appearance in the tournament, excluding Afghanistan who are about to take part in their second. Namibia were one of the participants in southern Africa in 2003, while Bermuda took part for the only time in the Caribbean in 2007.
The United Arab Emirates have appeared in two World Cups (1996 and 2015), while Ireland and Scotland have been in three, Canada and the Netherlands four, Kenya five, and Zimbabwe nine. Bangladesh are about to appear in their sixth, and South Africa their eighth; the seven other senior Test nations have appeared in all 11 previous editions, and are about to make it a round dozen.
Who's the oldest man to play in a World Cup final? Was it Imran Khan? asked Waqas Ahmed from Pakistan
Pakistan's captain Imran Khan was 39 years 121 days old when he lifted the World Cup in Melbourne in 1992. But there has been one older player in a World Cup final: Rohan Kanhai was about two months older - 39 years 177 days - for West Indies against Australia in the first final, at Lord's in 1975. Kanhai made 55, and helped Clive Lloyd put on 149 for the fourth wicket.
I noticed that in the World Cup qualifying tournament in 1979, Canada and Sri Lanka won their semi-finals, but didn't play the final for more than two weeks. Why the long delay? asked Tushar Trivedi from India
The semi-finals of the ICC Trophy in 1979 were played on June 6 - Sri Lanka crushed Denmark, and Canada squeezed past Bermuda. You're right that the final wasn't played for more than two weeks - Sri Lanka won by 60 runs at Worcester on June 21 ­- and the reason for this delay seems almost incredible now.
In between the semis and the final, the teams had another commitment - the 1979 World Cup itself! That started on June 9 (three days after the ICC Trophy semis), and the last group games were on June 16. Neither of the qualifiers made it out of their groups - although Sri Lanka did upset India at Old Trafford - so they were free for the finale of the qualifying competition.
And there's an update to a recent question, from Debapriya Chakraborty from India
"Further to my question two weeks ago about the oldest international debutant, there is now a new answer: on May 20, the 53-year-old James Moses played his first official Twenty20 international for Botswana against Uganda in Kampala."
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes