Greatest Cricket Teams of All Time
Cricket has grown a lot since originating in England during medieval times. Today, the game has 2.5 billion fans. That makes cricket the second-most popular sport in the world, beyond only football (or soccer).
Over the years, cricket has had many popular teams, from a team that played in front of 110,000 fans and started a riot to a team that had a televised game watched by almost 1 billion people (five times more people than ever watched a Super Bowl) to a team of legends who played a five-day game in front of 200,000 fans.
These are the greatest cricket teams of all time.
15. New Zealand 2019
Coach/manager: Gary Stead
Captain: Kane Williamson
Key players: Kane Williamson, Lockie Ferguson, Alex Carie, Trent Bolt
ICC World Cup: England 241, New Zealand 241, England wins 15-0 in Super Over by boundary count (championship)
Bottom Line: New Zealand 2019
The only World Cup runner-up team to make the list, New Zealand came as close as possible to winning it all before losing to England in the Super Over of the 2019 World Cup final in one of the greatest cricket games of all time.
New Zealand's Kane Williamson was named Player of the Tournament as New Zealand finished as runner-up for the second consecutive World Cup.
England's win by boundary count created a change in World Cup rules. Future finals will play as many Super Overs as necessary.
14. Australia 2015
Coach/manager: Darren Lehmann
Captain: Michael Clarke
Key players: Steve Smith, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Starc, David Warner
ICC World Cup: Australia 186, New Zealand 183 (championship)
Bottom Line: Australia 2015
On the biggest stage imaginable, Mitchell Starc was aces for Australia on the way to winning the World Cup at home and bringing home the coveted Player of the Tournament award.
Australia won its record fifth World Cup by beating New Zealand in front of 93,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. Starc was dominant for the entire season, leading Australia with 87 wickets taken, including an unbelievable 22 wickets in the World Cup alone.
13. Sri Lanka 1996
Coach/manager: Dav Whatmore
Captain: Arjuna Ranatunga
Key players: Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha, Aravinda De Silva
ICC World Cup: Sri Lanka 245, Australia 241 (championship)
Bottom Line: Sri Lanka 1996
Few teams in cricket history have had such a connection with their fans as the 1996 Sri Lanka team — the first host or co-host team to win the World Cup and the only time Sri Lanka has ever made the World Cup finals.
This Sri Lanka team also won one of the wildest sporting events to attend of all time. In the 1996 World Cup semifinal at Eden Gardens in Calcutta, Sri Lanka took on India in front of 110,000 people.
Sri Lanka pummelled India mercilessly and was leading the match when Indian fans, disappointed in their team's performance, began rioting in the stadium. The match was stopped, and Sri Lanka was declared the winner.
12. Australia 1987
Coach/manager: Bob Simpson
Captain: Allan Border
Key players: David Boon, Geoff Marsh, Craig McDermott, Eddie Hemmings, Charles Dyer
ICC World Cup: Australia 253, England 246 (championship)
Bottom Line: Australia 1987
The first World Cup title team for Australia did it in grand fashion, topping hated rival England in the final. It was Australia's second World Cup final after losing to the powerful West Indies team in 1975.
Australian captain Allan Border defined what this team was all about, and they reflected his style of play — steady but not spectacular and nothing too flashy.
It's ironic that Border became captain because he wasn't someone who ever wanted that role, yet he jump-started Australia's greatest run.
11. Australia 2007
Coach/manager: John Buchanan
Captain: Ricky Ponting
Key players: Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist
ICC World Cup: Australia 281, Sri Lanka 215 (championship)
Bottom Line: Australia 2007
Australian cricket player Glenn McGrath contributed as much as any player to his country's worldwide domination in the 1990s and 2000s.
McGrath was never better than in his final competition for Australia in the 2007 World Cup, when he was named Player of the Tournament as Australia didn't lose a game and extended its win streak to 29.
McGrath still holds the World Cup career record with 71 wickets and was inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame in 2013.
10. West Indies 1975
Coach/manager: Clyde Walcott
Captain: Clive Lloyd
Key players: Bernard Julien, Keith Boyce, Andy Roberts, Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Clive Lloyd
ICC World Cup: West Indies 291, Australia 274 (championship)
Bottom Line: West Indies 1975
West Indies won the first of back-to-back World Cup titles — the country's only two World Cup titles — in 1975.
West Indies was already considered unofficial world champions before the first World Cup behind the strength of a lineup with some of the greatest players of all time.
None of those players made a bigger impact than Clive Lloyd, who captained the team from 1974 to 1985 in the greatest era of cricket for the West Indies. In a cool twist, Lloyd climbed a tree outside of a stadium as a child to watch the West Indies and star Garry Sobers play Pakistan.
9. Australia 2003
Coach/manager: John Buchanan
Captain: Ricky Ponting
Key players: Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne
ICC World Cup: Australia 359, India 234 (championship)
Bottom Line: Australia 2003
Australia shook off the abject embarrassment of having its best player, Shane Warne, banned from the World Cup on the day before play began after a failed drug test.
Australia had such a strong team that losing Warne didn't matter. They beat India in the final by over 100 runs and didn't lose a game in the tournament.
At the heart of Australia's great 2003 team was captain Ricky Ponting, who is perhaps the greatest cricket captain of all time and won three World Cup titles, including the last two as Australia's captain.
8. Pakistan 1992
Coach/manager: Intikhab Alam
Captain: Imran Khan
Key players: Wasim Akram, Javed Miandad, Rameez Raja, Mushtaq Ahmed
ICC World Cup: Pakistan 249, England 227 (championship)
Bottom Line: Pakistan 1992
The 1992 Pakistan team that won the country's only World Cup featured two players, Imran Khan and Javed Miandad, who were playing in their fifth consecutive World Cup and coming off three consecutive semifinal losses.
Khan, one of the most famous athletes of all time and Pakistan's current prime minister, played perhaps the best match of his career in the final and the look on his face when he held up the World Cup trophy is an iconic moment.
It should also be noted that it was Khan who handpicked almost every player that year.
7. South Africa 1970
Coach/manager: Mickey Stewart
Captain: Ali Bacher
Key players: Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Mike Procter, Eddie Barlow
ICC World Cup: N/A
Bottom Line: South Africa 1970
South Africa's history of cricket is full of "what-ifs" in regards to its 1970 team. That's because the world was still five years away from the first Cricket World Cup, and South Africa was 24 years away from being able to participate in international competitions because of its refusal to end apartheid.
Featuring one of the greatest cricket players of all time in Graeme Pollock, South Africa swept four grueling test matches from the powerful Australians that year.
South Africa almost got its shot to show the world exactly how good they were, but a tour of England featuring 12 matches was called off after anti-apartheid movement leaders voiced their concerns.
6. India 2011
Coach/manager: Gary Kirsten
Captain: Mahendra Singh Doni
Key players: Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Doni, Yuvraj Singh
ICC World Cup: India 277, Sri Lanka 274 (championship)
Bottom Line: India 2011
This Indian team brought the nation back to glory, winning the nation's second World Cup and first since 1983.
India's Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest players of all time, was playing in his final World Cup, and it was the first time a team won the championship in its home country.
That same year's Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers was watched by a record 162.9 million viewers in the U.S. and roughly 200 million worldwide. The worldwide viewing audience for the 2011 World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka was approximately 997 million.
5. England 2019
Coach/manager: Trevor Bayliss
Captain: Eoin Morgan
Key players: Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Joe Root, Jason Roy
ICC World Cup: England 241, New Zealand 241, England wins 15-0 in Super Over (championship)
Bottom Line: England 2019
This was the team that finally brought World Cup glory to England, winning it all after losing in the finals in 1979, 1987 and 1992.
They did so in dramatic fashion. England had to beat India and New Zealand in back-to-back games to advance to the World Cup semifinals, then beat New Zealand in a Super Over in the finals.
England's win in the World Cup finals is already considered one of the greatest games of all time, if not the greatest ever played and England's Ben Stokes with his play staked a claim for a place among the all-time greatest cricketers.
4. Australia 1999
Coach/manager: Geoff Marsh
Captain: Steve Waugh
Key players: Steve Waugh, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Mark Waugh
ICC World Cup: Australia 133, Pakistan 132 (championship)
Bottom Line: Australia 1999
Bottom line: Australia's 1999 squad is largely remembered for one of the most memorable games in cricket history.
Against South Africa in the World Cup semifinal, Australia had just one up remaining down nine runs when South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs started to celebrate as he made the winning catch and threw the ball in the air. And the Aussies rallied to win.
Featuring one of the greatest players in cricket history, Shane Warne, this Australian team was one for the ages.
3. West Indies 1979
Coach/manager: Clyde Walcott
Captain: Clive Lloyd
Key players: Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards, Michael Holding
ICC World Cup: West Indies 286, England 194 (championship)
Bottom Line: West Indies 1979
Led by legendary cricketers Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards, West Indies won its second consecutive ICC World Cup in dominating fashion.
Greenidge and Richards, both on Richie Benaud's Best XI in 2004, capped off the decade with a 92-run win over England in the World Cup final, and Richards was named Man of the Match.
The team had great leadership on the field and in the coach's box. Former West Indies star Clyde Walcott, arguably the greatest batsman of the 1950s, was the team's manager.
2. India 1983
Coach/manager: PR Manh Singh
Captain: Kapil Dev
Key players: Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny, Madan Lal,
ICC World Cup: India 183, West Indies 140 (championship)
Bottom Line: India 1983
The first team from India to win the ICC World Cup pulled off one of the biggest upsets in cricket history when they defeated West Indies in a low-scoring final.
The West Indies was trying for its third consecutive ICC World Cup title while India was in the finals for the first time and was the first Asian nation to make it to the finals.
India used inclement weather in the final to its advantage. In two previous World Cup appearances before 1983, India wasn't able to make it out of the group stage.
1. Australia 1948
Coach/manager: Keith Johnson
Captain: Don Bradman
Key players: Don Bradman, Arthur Morris, Lindsay Hassett, Neil Harvey, Sid Barnes, Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller, Bill Johnston
ICC World Cup: N/A
Bottom Line: Australia 1948
Led by perhaps the greatest cricketeer of all time in batsman Don Bradman, the 1948 Australian team is the only team in the history of the sport to complete a test match tour of England unbeaten.
Nicknamed "The Invincibles" for their run in England, where they went 4-0-1, the Australians played 31 first-class matches that year and went 23-0-8 with a schedule that saw them on the field for 122 of 141 days.
It's been 73 years since Australia took its test match tour of England and attendance records from the matches haven't been broken since. The second, third and fourth matches all set records. And the attendance of 158,000 for the fourth test at Headingfield's remains a record for cricket attendance in England.
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