World Cup

Cricket World Cup 1992: Pakistan Crowned World Champions

The 1992 Cricket World Cup, also known as the Benson & Hedges World Cup 1992, was the fifth edition of the tournament. It was contested in Australia and New Zealand from February 22 to March 25, 1992, and Pakistan won the World Cup for the first time by defeating England by 22 runs in the final. 

Now, let’s see how the 1992 ODI World Cup unfolded and cherish some moments.

The Build-Up


The tournament structure was altered from prior events, with a full round-robin replacing the previous two qualifying groups. The preliminary draw included eight competing countries and 28 round-robin matches, as well as two semi-finals and a final.

After 21 years of banishment due to apartheid, South Africa was re-admitted to the International Cricket Council in late 1991, and the draw was altered to include them, adding a further eight matches to the round-robin.


A total of 11 venues from Australia hosted the World Cup matches, while 7 stadiums from New Zealand also played host to other games. Eden Park in Auckland hosted the first semi-final, while the second one was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney. The final of the tournament took place at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne.


The 1992 World Cup featured the 7 Test teams at the time, and South Africa competed as the ICC’s eighth full member for the first time. Zimbabwe made their third appearance after qualifying by winning the 1990 ICC Trophy and defeating the Netherlands in the final for the second time.

Teams that participated in the 1992 Cricket World Cup:

  • Australia
  • England 
  • India 
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Indies
  • Zimbabwe


The former champions, Australia, and New Zealand were the favourites for this World Cup.

1992 World Cup Group Matches

Match 1: February 22 | New Zealand vs Australia

The opening match was played between the two co-hosts and trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand posted 248, riding on the back of Martin Crowe’s 100. Despite David Boon scoring a century, Australia lost the game by 37 runs.

Match 2: February 22 | England vs India

Robin Smith’s 91 took England to 236 in 50 overs. India got off to a good start, but they couldn’t capitalise on it, and England won by 9 runs.

Match 3: February | Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe

In a high-scoring game, Zimbabwe put up 312 runs on the board thanks to Andy Flower’s 115 and Andy Waller’s 83 of 45 balls. In response, Sri Lanka started off well, but they lost a bunch of wickets in the middle. Somehow, Arjuna Ranatunga ensured that Sri Lanka won by 3 wickets.

Match 4: February 23 | Pakistan vs West Indies

Despite Ramiz Raja scoring 102, Pakistan could only manage to put in 220 runs to defend. The Windies rather had an east chase and won the game by 10 wickets.

Match 5: February 25 | New Zealand vs Sri Lanka

After being asked to bat first, Sri Lanka scored a mere 206 runs. Later, the Kiwis chased down the target in the 49th over and won the match by 6 wickets.

Match 6: February 26 | Australia vs South Africa

Australia elected to bat first; however, their batters couldn’t stand in front of the South African bowlers. Australia was restricted to 170/9, and South Africa chased it down with 9 wickets to spare.

Match 7: February 27 | Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Aamer Sohail’s 114 and Javed Miandad’s 89 took Pakistan to a total of 254 runs. While defending the target, Wasim Akram unleashed his wrath on Zimbabwe’s batters and helped Pakistan win by 53 runs.

Match 8: February 27 | England vs West Indies

Chris Lewis and Phil DeFreitas’s bowling attack combined crushed the Windies, and they were bowled out for 157 runs. England chased it down easily and won the game by 6 wickets.

Match 9: February 28 | India vs Sri Lanka

The match between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned due to rain.

Match 10: February 29 | New Zealand vs South Africa

South Africa elected to bat first; however, they managed to score a paltry 190 runs. While chasing, New Zealand’s openers gave a solid start, and the Kiwis won by 7 wickets.

Match 11: February 29 | West Indies vs Zimbabwe

The Windies batters came out strong against Zimbabwe and posted 264 on the board. The Windies bowlers also complemented well and restricted Zimbabwe to 189/7, and the West Indies won by 75 runs.

Match 12: March 01 | Australia vs India

Batting first, Australia managed to score 237 runs in 50 overs. During India’s chase, rain interrupted the game and target was changed to 236 runs in 47 overs. However, India was bowled out on 234 and Australia won by one run.

Match 13: March 01 | England vs Pakistan

Graham Gooch decided to field first, and his bowlers didn’t disappoint him and bowled out Pakistan for a meagre score of 74 in 40.2 overs. During England’s chase, rain interrupted the match, and it ended in a no result.

Match 14: March 02 | South Africa vs Sri Lanka

South Africa could only manage to score 195 due to their lower-order failure. While chasing, Sri Lanka had a troubled start; however, Roshan Mahanama and Arjuna Rantunga’s partnership ensured Sri Lanka won the match by 3 wickets.

Match 15: March 03 | New Zealand vs Zimbabwe

In a rain-infested encounter, New Zealand could only bat for 20.5 overs and managed to score 162/3 before the rain halted the game again. Later, Zimbabwe were set a target of 154 from 18 overs, but they managed to score 105 runs, and New Zealand won by 48 runs.

Match 16: March 04 | India vs Pakistan

Archrivals India and Pakistan met in Sydney. India scored 216/7 on the board thanks to Sachin Tendulkar’s unbeaten 54. India’s bowling proved to be too strong for Pakistan, and India won by 43 runs.

Match 17: March 05 | South Africa vs West Indies

Batting first, South Africa reached a fighting total of 200 runs in front of a strong Windies pace attack. While defending the total, South Africa’s Meyrick Pringle wreaked havoc on the Windies batters, helping South Africa win by 64 runs.

Match 18: March 05 | Australia vs England

England bowled out their archrivals, Australia, for a mere score of 171 runs. The England openers gave a good start, and England won the march by 8 wickets.

Match 19: March 07 | India vs Zimbabwe

In one more rain-interrupted game, India batted for 32 overs and scored 203 runs. After India’s innings, rain came again, and the target was revised to 159 runs in 19 overs for Zimbabwe. But they could only manage to score 104 runs, and India won by 55 runs.

Match 20: March 07 | Australia vs Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka didn’t look settled in the game from the beginning, and they were restricted to 189/9 by Australia. While chasing, Australia got off to a solid start and won the match by 7 wickets.

Match 21: March 08 | New Zealand vs West Indies 

The hosts, New Zealand, restricted the West Indies to 203 runs. The West Indies bowlers did trouble the Kiwis for some time; however, they chased down the target in the 49th over and won the game by 5 wickets.

Match 22: March 08 | Pakistan vs South Africa

After being asked to bat first, South Africa reached a total of 211 runs. During Pakistan’s chase, the match was interrupted due to rain, and the target was revised to 194 in 36 overs for Pakistan. But they could only manage to score 173 runs, and South Africa won by 20 runs.

Match 23: March 09 | England vs Sri Lanka

England decided to bat first and put up a challenging total of 280 on the board. In response, Sri Lanka was skittled out on 174 runs in 44 overs, resulting in England winning the match by 106 runs.

Match 24: March 10 | India vs West Indies

Anderson Cummins’ 4 wickets played a pivotal role in bowling India out for 197 runs. The West Indies batter then chased down the total in the 41st over and registered a 5-wicket victory.

Match 25: March 10 | South Africa vs Zimbabwe

A collective bowling effort, led by Brian McMillan and Peter Kirsten’s 3 wickets each, helped South Africa restrict Zimbabwe to 163 runs. While chasing, South African batters had an easy outing, and they won the game by 7 wickets

Match 26: March 11 | Australia vs Pakistan

Batting first, Pakistan put up a total of 220 on the scoreboard. While defending their total, Pakistan’s bowlers didn’t let loose and bowled out Australia for 172 runs, winning the game by 48 runs.

Match 27: March 12 | New Zealand vs India

After being invited to bat first, India managed to score 230/6 thanks to Sachin Tendulkar’s 84 runs. Indian bowlers gave a fight while defending the target; however, New Zealand chased it down with 4 wickets in hand.

Match 28: March 12 | England vs South Africa

The solid opening partnership between captain Kepler Wessels and Andrew Hudson powered South Africa to a total of 236 runs. The rain interrupted the game during England’s chase, and the target was revised to 226 runs in 41 overs, which England chased down with 1 ball remaining.

Match 29: March 13 | Sri Lanka vs West Indies

Phil Simmons’ 110 off 125 balls powered the West Indies to a total of 268/8. In response, Sri Lanka managed to score only 177 runs, and the West Indies won by 91 runs.

Match 30: March 14 | Australia vs Zimbabwe

In a 46-overs-a-side game, Australia put on 265 runs on the board. Then the Australian bowlers rattled through the Zimbabwean batting lineup and bowled them out on 137, winning the game by 128 runs

Match 31: March 15 | New Zealand vs England

An impressive bowling effort from New Zealand bowlers saw England restricted to 200/8 in 50 overs. While chasing, New Zealand did lose an early wicket; however, it didn’t stop them from chasing down the target with 7 wickets to spare.

Match 32: March 15 | India vs South Africa

Due to the interruption of rain, the game was reduced to 30 overs a side. India put 180 on the board, which South Africa chased down easily with 5 balls and 6 wickets in hand.

Match 33: March 15 | Pakistan vs Sri Lanka

In an even contest between bat and ball, Pakistan came out with flying colours. Sri Lanka managed to score 212 runs in 50 overs. Javed Miandad’s 57 and Saleem Malik’s 51 took Pakistan home, winning the game by 4 wickets.

Match 34: March 18 | New Zealand vs Pakistan

The Pakistani bowling attack, led by Wasim Akram, bowled out the Kiwis for 166 runs. Then Ramiz Raja’s century and Javed Miandad’s crucial 30 runs helped Pakistan win the match by 7 wickets.

Match 35: March 18 | England vs Zimbabwe

Ian Botham and Richard Illingworth gave a tough time to Zimbabwean batters and bundled them out for 134 runs. It looked like England would chase it down easily, but Eddo Brandes had other plans. He ran through England’s batting lineup, scalping 4 wickets and helped Zimbabwe win by 9 runs.

Match 36: March 18 | Australia vs West Indies

David Boon’s century took Australia to a total of 216 runs. The Australian bowlers took regular wickets of the Windies batters, and Australia won by 57 runs.

Knockout Stage

1st Semi-Final: March 21 | New Zealand vs Pakistan

Pakistan beat tournament favourite New Zealand in a high-scoring contest in the first semi-final and clinched a berth in the World Cup Final for the first time.

New Zealand batted first and reached a total of 262. Their captain, Martin Crowe, was injured while scoring 91 and chose to let John Wright captain the team throughout Pakistan’s innings rather than risk aggravating the injury, which was deemed a blunder in retrospect.

Pakistan still required 123 runs from 15 overs when Inzamam-ul-Haq came in to bat. In the chase, he hit 60 runs off 37 balls to reach the target with one over to spare, earning him the Man of the Match award.

2nd Semi-Final: March 22 | England vs South Africa

South Africa won the toss and chose to field first. In a rain-interrupted match, England scored 252 runs in 45 overs while batting first.

South Africa was well on its way to chasing down the target; however, rain halted play before the final ball of the 43rd over. At that point, South Africa needed 22 runs off 13 balls to win.

Using the Most Productive Overs approach, the target was revised to 21 runs from only 1 ball after 2 overs were lost due to rain. The SCG scoreboard and TV broadcast wrongly indicated South Africa needed 22 off 7 balls, then 22 off 1 ball to win, but the true requirement was 21 off 1 ball.

Final: March 25 | England vs Pakistan

Pakistan decided to bat first; however, Derek Pringle took two early wickets for England before Imran Khan and Javed Miandad added 139 for the third wicket to steady Pakistan’s innings. Imran played a captain’s knock, scoring 72, and Miandad scored 58 to stabilise the innings, after which Inzamam (42) and Wasim Akram (33) launched an assault to give Pakistan a fighting total of 250.

England made a rocky start. England was at 69/4 after Wasim Akram dismissed Ian Botham, Alec Stewart, Graeme Hick, and Graham Gooch. Imran gave his main pacer, Akram, an early second spell in the 35th over due to a good partnership of 71 between Allan Lamb and Neil Fairbrother.

Imran Khan had the final say, catching Richard Illingworth off Ramiz Raja’s bowling, and Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs in a gripping final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Special Moments in the World Cup of 1992

Changes and Innovations 

The 1992 World Cup was the first to use coloured player uniforms, white cricket balls, and black sight screens, with several matches played under floodlights. It was also the first Cricket World Cup to be held in the Southern Hemisphere and the first to include South Africa, which had been allowed to rejoin the International Cricket Council as a Test-playing nation after apartheid ended.

Historical Background 

Pakistan won their first World Cup championship in 1992, becoming the fourth side to do so after the West Indies, India, and Australia. With his incredible leadership performance, Imran Khan became the oldest World Cup winning captain at the age of 39. 

After England, India, and Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand became the countries that hosted Cricket World Cups. England, the runners-up, were the first side in World Cup history to qualify for the knockout stages five times in a row.

The Favourites: New Zealand

Co-hosts New Zealand was the tournament’s surprise package, winning their first seven games in a row to finish first in the round-robin. In the competition, New Zealand was only defeated twice. Both defeats came at the hands of champion Pakistan, the first in the group stage and the second in the semi-final.

Most Productive Overs Method

In rain-affected matches, the rule for determining the target score for the team batting second was also revised. The former regulation (the average run rate approach) merely multiplied the team batting first’s run rate by the number of overs available to the team batting second; however, this rule was seen to give the team batting second an unfair advantage.

To address this, the target score would now be determined using the Most Productive Overs technique. In this system, if the team batting second had 44 overs available, their target score would be one more than the team batting first’s 44 highest-scoring overs.

While the reasoning behind the system appeared plausible, the timing of rain interruptions remained problematic, as demonstrated by the semi-final between England and South Africa, where a difficult but eminently reachable 22 runs off 13 balls was reduced to 22 runs off 7 (the least productive over, a maiden, being deducted) and finally, a preposterous 21 off 1 ball (the next least productive over having given 1 run).

If the interruption occurred during the second innings, the side batting second faced a considerable disadvantage — one that was only overcome once in England’s group-stage victory against South Africa. The Duckworth-Lewis system was developed in response to the semi-final’s farcical conclusion.

Final Thoughts

The 1992 World Cup is mainly remembered for Pakistan’s courageous effort and the infamous semi-final match between South Africa and England, which was decided in favour of the latter by the contentious “rain rule.”

Cricket’s popularity in the Indian subcontinent skyrocketed following the 1992 World Cup. Cricket was the most popular sport in Pakistan at the end of the 1990s, thanks to Pakistan’s World Cup victory. Cricket became one of the most popular sports among South African whites as a result of South Africa’s involvement in the competition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *