World Cup No. 1
East Africa, Sri Lanka
Two qualifying groups of four, playing each other once in 60-over matches; top two in each group progressed to semi-finals; 15 matches in all.
Not many, apart from the concept itself (there had only been 18 ODIs worldwide before this). Most teams still treated the matches as if they were truncated Tests - especially India, who played for a draw in the first game, responding to England's 334 for 4 with 132 for 3. Sunil Gavaskar batted through the 60 overs for 36 not out. A disgusted spectator dumped his lunch at the opener's feet.
England romped their group games - the tightest was an 80-run victory over New Zealand. West Indies, the favourites, nearly came unstuck against Pakistan, but the last pair, Deryck Murray and Andy Roberts, put on a winning 64. West Indies then hammered Australia by seven wickets at The Oval, where Alvin Kallicharran's 78 included a memorable attack on Dennis Lillee. Glenn Turner hit two tons for New Zealand, including 171 not out v East Africa (a combination of club cricketers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia).
Headingley served up a swinging, seaming paradise for England - but it Gary Gilmour (6 for 14) who did the damage as England tumbled for 93. Australia were reeling at 39 for 6 themselves before Gilmour joined Doug Walters and took them home. West Indies eased past New Zealand at The Oval with 19.5 overs to spare, thanks to another sparkling innings from Kalli (72).
It was midsummer's day (June 21), and Lord's needed all the available daylight to cram the match in. It eventually finished at 8.42pm. After Roy Fredericks trod on his wicket as he hooked Lillee out of the ground Clive Lloyd took up the fight in memorable fashion, crunching 12 fours and two sixes in his 102, and the eventual 291 looked too hot for Australia. The early batsmen kept trying quick runs to Viv Richards; he kept running them out. At 233 for 9 it seemed over, but the last pair, Jeff Thomson and Lillee, inched the Aussies to within 18 of victory before the fifth run-out ended the fun.
During Sri Lanka's match against Australia at The Oval, a group of Sri Lankan Tamils entered the field and lay down on the pitch, holding banners protesting against political oppression. But they were soon taken off the ground and the players resumed without any more trouble.
One-day cricket itself - the five-day game had a fight on its hands after the first "festival of cricket" lit up the imagination of the people. Of the players, Javed Miandad, just 18, made his international debut, and had Clive Lloyd caught behind at Edgbaston. Uniquely, he went on to play in the next five World Cups. Imran Khan took time off from captaining Oxford to play in the first of his five. Six of the West Indians also played in the next final (and Greenidge, Richards, Lloyd and Roberts in the one after that as well).
Only Lillee, Thomson and Marsh of this great Australian side graced another World Cup. Rohan Kanhai, the elegant West Indian batsman, bowed out of international cricket with a studied 55 in the final - he helped the rampaging Lloyd put on 149. Kanhai was a late replacement after Garry Sobers skipped the tournament due to injury. For England, the Packer-bound Amiss, Knott, Greig and Snow played their only World Cup, and skipper Mike Denness lasted only one more Test.
This article was first published in 2014