Teams that started as the top-ranked nations in each ODI World Cup

The team which entered the World Cup as number one ranked side have gone onto win that particular edition of World Cup

Sep 22, 2023 16:06 IST
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Teams that started as the top-ranked nations in each ODI World Cup

The One Day International (ODI) Cricket World Cup is a highly anticipated global sporting event held every four years. It serves as a celebration of cricket's rich history, diversity, and ability to unify nations. Originating in 1975, the tournament has expanded over the years, originally featuring eight teams and now accommodating up to ten, underscoring cricket's worldwide appeal.


This event is more than just a cricket competition; it symbolizes the essence of competition, sportsmanship, and global togetherness. The ODI World Cup showcases the talents of the world's finest cricketers and provides a platform for both established and emerging nations to exhibit their cricketing abilities. Each edition reaffirms cricket's status as a beloved sport capable of uniting people and creating enduring memories.

It remains a highly anticipated spectacle, eagerly awaited by cricket enthusiasts and sports fans worldwide, continually captivating hearts and minds across the globe. Over the years there have been various teams who have entered the tournament as number one but eventually had contrasting fortunes in the World Cup. This time around the World Cup 2023 will be held in India. Let us look at the list:

1987- England (Runner Up)


England in 1987 England in 1987 (Source - Twitter)

England's team entered the tournament as one of the favourites to win the tournament. Throughout their World Cup regime, the team showed great grit and were top-notch in the entire tournament. On the back of brilliant batting and bowling performance, the World number one at that time was denied the championship title by the Australian team who registered their maiden title.

1992- Australia (Group Stage)


Australia in 1992 (Source - Twitter) Australia in 1992 (Source - Twitter)

One of the examples of why the rankings do not actually ensure their win or give a guarantee regarding the performances. Similar, was the case in the 1992 edition of the World Cup when the Australian team entered the tournament as number one ranked team but where eliminated in the group stage also. The Pakistan team were the ultimate winner of the World Cup.

1996- Australia (Runner Up)

Australia in 1996 (Source - Twitter) Australia in 1996 (Source - Twitter)

The 1996 edition of the World Cup saw Australia entering the tournament as the number one ranked side and also one of the favourites to win the tournament. They reached the final but were snatched from winning the championship by Sri Lanka and fell just one step before winning the coveted trophy.

1999- South Africa (Semi-Finalist)


South Africa in 1999 (Source - Twitter) South Africa in 1999 (Source - Twitter)

In the 1999 World Cup, South Africa entered the competition as the highest-ranked team. Regrettably, their journey took a devastating turn when they experienced a heart-wrenching defeat in the semifinals at the hands of Australia. South Africa has earned the moniker "chokers" in major global tournaments due to their history of faltering when victory seems within reach. On that occasion, it was Australia who emerged as the triumphant champions of the tournament.

2003- Australia (Winners)

Australia in 2003 (Source - Twitter) Australia in 2003 (Source - Twitter)

It was certainly a Golden Era for the Australian team. It was the time when the team won a series as well as a tournament in which the team played. In the 2003 World Cup, Australia was the top-ranked team, and under Ricky Ponting's captaincy were favourites. They clinched the tournament, marking the first instance of a No. 1 ODI team securing the ODI World Cup.


2007- Australia (Winners)

Australia in 2007 (Source - Twitter) Australia in 2007 (Source - Twitter)

The Australia team enjoyed a true Golden Era, achieving success in both series and tournaments they participated in. In the 2007 World Cup, Australia maintained their top-ranked status and secured their third consecutive title. This remarkable feat made them the first team ever to win the World Cup three times in a row.

2011- Australia (Quarterfinals)

Australia in 2011 (Source - Twitter) Australia in 2011 (Source - Twitter)

There was no team which were even close to the Australian team at that time. It was the third consecutive World Cup where the Australian team entered as the top-ranked nation. Australia, continuing their cricketing dominance, entered the 2011 World Cup as the top-ranked team. To everyone's surprise, they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by India. Eventually, they went on to secure their second World Cup title under the leadership of MS Dhoni.


2015- Australia (Winners)

Australia in 2015 (Source - Twitter) Australia in 2015 (Source - Twitter)

It was for the fourth time in a row that the Australian side where World number one when it came to ODI rankings. The team had a great mixture of young and experienced players which also made them favourites to win the trophy. Entering the 2015 World Cup as the top-ranked team, Australia lived up to their status by clinching the title for the fifth time, a record that remains unmatched by any other team.

2019- England (Winners)

England in 2019 (Source - Twitter) England in 2019 (Source - Twitter)

Another year the top-ranked side won the prestigious trophy. In the World Cup, where the round-robin format was re-introduced.  In the 2019 World Cup, England held the top ranking and were considered the favourites to triumph in the prestigious global tournament. As anticipated, they secured the title in a thrilling final clash against New Zealand.

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