Three days to World Cup: When home advantage matters

While there are benefits, hosting a World Cup comes with its own share of pressure as well.

Published: 27th May 2019 11:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2019 11:11 AM   |  A+A-

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Only three hosts have ever won the World Cup, will England be the fourth? | Twitter@cricketworldcup

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Winning a World Cup is hard. What is even harder? To do that when you are hosting the tournament and all the pressure that comes it. It is so hard that so far no team that has been the sole host of the tournament has ever won it.

As England look to change that this time around and claim their maiden World Cup, here is a look back at the only three occasions where a host country has managed to come out on top in the tournament.

Three days to go before the start of World Cup 2019, here are the only three hosts to win a World Cup.

Sri Lanka's fairytale in 1996

The first team to do it was Sri Lanka. And it was fairytale that few could have seen coming. Hosting the tournament along with India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka were massive underdogs and it took sublime performances individually and collectively to help them overcome controversy and claim their maiden World Cup.

ALSO READ | 96 days to go: Maiden hosts, maiden World Cup - A Sri Lankan fairytale 

Courtesy of Australia and West Indies opting to forfeit their games against Sri Lanka, they had qualified for the quarter-finals before a game was played. But instead of being complacent, Sri Lanka finished the group stage as one of only two unbeaten teams.

In the quarter-final, it was Sanath Jayasuriya that got them past England. In the semi-final, it was a collective effort before crowd trouble handed them the game against India before an all-round Aravinda de Silva helped them claim the title against Australia.

India's redemption in 2011

Although Sri Lanka were the first host country to win the World Cup, it took another 15 years before India became the first country to win the World Cup final on home final.

And it was fitting that the victory came against Sri Lanka, making it the first time that a World Cup final featured two Asian teams. Before the heroics of Gautam Gambhir and MS Dhoni in the final at the Wankhede stadium helped India win by six wickets, it was the Yuvraj Singh show.

Although he didn't finish in the top three in either runs scored or wickets taken in the tournament, he walked away with the Man of the Series thanks to his consistent performances with both bat and ball. The all-rounder's heroics along with Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan, who finished second and first in the run-scoring and wicket-taking charts helped India claim their second World Cup, 28 years after their first in 1983.

Five-star Australia shine in 2015

2011 was the first time since 1992 that a World Cup final didn't feature Australia. After their incredible unbeaten streak was also ended in 2011, Australia bounced back in the only way they know how, by winning the World Cup.

ALSO READ | Five days to World Cup: Five-star Australia reign supreme

Courtesy of their win over New Zealand in the final at the MCG, Australia became the first team to win five World Cups. And all of this came after a sedate start to the tournament that saw them win one, lose one and saw another game abandoned in their first three matches.

Six successive wins after that, including comprehensive victories in the knockout stages helped Australia become only the second team after India to win the World Cup final at home.

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