ODI Cricket World Cups are tournaments that are conducted once in every four years, since 1975. It is the most prestigious tournament in this format of the game.
Even though the round-robin was part of every Cricket World Cup that has taken place, it was in 1992 World Cup, the complete round-robin format was used first. You can find here in detail about the round-robin format in Cricket.
There have been constant changes to the structure of the World Cup formats throughout the years.
In this article, we will see how different formats were used in conducting World Cups, since the inaugural edition in 1975.
1975 – 1987:
The first four editions of the prestigious tournament followed a similar format.
Eight teams were divided into two groups of 4, each initially.
After playing round-robin matches, the top two teams from each group were qualified for the semis.
A single round-robin format (in the group stage) was used during the 1975 and 1979 editions. Meanwhile, in the 1983 and 1987 editions, a double round-robin format was used in the group stage.
A single group of 9 teams was present in the 1992 edition. Each team played eight matches (single round-robin), and the top 4 teams made it to the semis.
A major change was made ahead of the 1996 tournament. For the very first time, 12 teams participated in a Cricket World Cup.
There were two groups of 6 teams. The top 4 teams from each group qualified to the quarterfinals, then conducted in an elimination format.
1999 and 2003:
The 1999 and 2003 World Cups used a unique scheduling system that included “Super rounds.”
In the 1999 World Cup, 12 teams were split into two groups of 6 teams each. After single round-robin matches, the top 3 teams from each group made it to the ‘Super 6.’ And, again in the ‘Super 6’ teams played 5 matches each as per single round-robin. Finally, the top 4 teams from the ‘Super 6’ made it to the semi-finals.
The only change during the 2003 edition was that the number of participating nations was increased to 14, and the teams were split into two groups of 7.
The 2007 edition was also a tedious one as far as the format is concerned.
Sixteen teams were divided into four groups of 4 each. Initially, each team had to play 3 matches as per a single round-robin. The top 2 teams from each group entered ‘Super 8’.
Each team has to play seven matches each in the ‘Super 8’ as per single round-robin, and the top 4 teams qualify for the semi-finals.
2011 and 2015:
Coming over to the previous two editions now. The same format was used during the 2011 and 2015 World Cups. Fourteen teams were divided into two groups of 7 each.
In the first round (the league stage), each team played 6 matches as per single round-robin format.
The top 4 teams from each group qualified for the knockout stage, consisting of the quarterfinal, the semi-finals, and the final.
In the latest edition of the World Cup, which is in 2019, it was the second time when the tournament’s league stage was scheduled in a single complete round-robin format.
All ten teams participated in the tournament and fought against each other once with a total of 45 league games before the top 4 qualified for the semi-finals.
What is expect for the future editions of ODI World Cup?
ICC faced multiple criticisms for conducting a 10-teams WC in 2019. Even a couple of regular ODI members–Zimbabwe and Ireland missed out of the event that took place in England. ICC are currently in the discussion to decide the event details for the next 8-years and they are expect to announce a 14-teams tournament for the next two World Cups.
So, that will see the formats used in 2011 and 1025 will be back.