The fifth edition of World Cup, known as Benson and Hedges World Cup and took place in New Zealand and Australia in Feb-March 1992. The World Cup saw the return of South Africa to International cricket. It was the largest ever World Cup with 39 matches in all. 14 in New Zealand and 25 in Australia, ten under floodlights. Each side played each other once before the top four in the table played off in the semis.
The Kiwis exploited the concept of pinch-hitting during the 15-over field restriction. Mark Greatbatch went after the bowling from the word go and his success played a big part in New Zealand making it to the semi-finals.
It was Martin Crowe’s captaincy and batting that hogged the limelight during the tournament. He opened his campaign with a brilliant century against Australia, followed it up with 74, 81, 73 and New Zealand with their performance looked likely to lift the cup. Pakistan defeated them by seven wickets at Christchurch to end their winning streak.
Pakistan again got better of them New Zealand in the first semi-finals at Eden Park by four wickets which was mainly because of Inzamam’s brutal batting display. It was one of the best one-day innings that changed the cricket fortunes for the team, which had suffered semi-final losses in the past three World Cups. Inzamam walked in with Pakistan in a spot of bother chasing New Zealand’s 263, thanks to Martin Crowe’s 83-ball 91. The equation of 123 from 15 overs looked unlikely before Inzamam produced a whirlwind 60 to silence all those who doubted his potential.
In a newly-introduced clause, the second semi-final between South Africa and England turned out to be a joke. Put into bat, England posted 252 for six in 45 overs. South Africa were 232 for six in 43 overs before rain stooped play. When the players returned to the field, South Africa target was reduced to 22 runs off one ball. Weather gods halted South African campaign and England were through to yet another finals.
In the finals at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 25, Pakistan beat England by 22 runs. Electing to bat first, Pakistan lost both openers with 24 on the board before Imran Khan and Miandad provided the launching pad with a well-calculated 139-run stand. Later burst by Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan post 249 in their allotted 50 overs.
Pakistan defended the 250-run target with aggression. Akram swung the game Pakistan’s way provided the breaks his team needed. The crafty left-arm seamer picked up three important wickets in the finals and was rightly declared Man of the Match.