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Ray Illingworth - Captained England in the inaugural one-day international

For Australian skipper Bill Lawry, his English counterpart Raymond Illingworth and their respective sides, the 5th of January 1971 was a happy, bright day, literally and figuratively, as the sun emerged from the clouds after four days of rainfall that ruined the third Test of the 1970-71 'Ashes' Test series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Over 46,000 spectators turned up on the scheduled last day of the Test, at the venue that had hosted the inaugural Test between the same teams 93 years previously. There was of course, no hope for a result, but after four wet, gloomy days, they were desperate for some cricket. To entertain them, the two teams decided to play a 'limited-overs' match, an affair that would last for a day, in which both sides would bat for 40 eight-ball overs, with each bowler allowed to send down one-fifth of those. The team that would finish with more runs in its quota of 40 overs would be declared the 'winner'.

Limited-overs, one-day cricket had been played in different parts of the world before, and England in fact hosted an annual limited-overs competition between the counties, which was sponsored by Gilette, since 1963. But this was the first instance of two international sides battling it out in a limited-overs encounter.

Greg Chappell - An unbeaten 22 in the first one-day international

Neither the players, nor the spectators realize that they were about to begin a new chapter in the history of the sport. Coincidentally, the new chapter had commenced at the same ground where the first Test match had been played in 1877.

Australian Graham 'Garth' McKenzie bowled the first ball in the history of one-day internationals to the English opener Geoffrey Boycott. John Edrich top-scored with 82 as England totalled 190 from 39.4 overs.

In response, the Australians were 51-2 (0r as they say in Australia, 2-51) when Ian Chappell joined hands with Kevin Douglas Walters. They added 66 before Walters was caught behind off D'Oliveira. Chappell carried on, providing a wonderful exhibition of his powerful drives and brilliant footwork. At 165, he came down the wicket to Illingworth too soon and was stumped by Knott for a superlative 60. It was left to his younger brother Greg to finish off the match with some imperious strokes.


Geoffrey Boycott - Faced the first ball in one-day international history

The game was a success. The crowds loved it, and the players also enjoyed themselves in the middle. But most of them preferred to regard it as an 'exhibition', a 'one-off venture'. They had reason to reconsider their views a year later, when three 'limited-overs' internationals were included in the itinerary of Australia's tour of England in the summer of 1972.

Three years after that, the first-ever World Cup, a limited-overs tournament, was organized in England, with all the then six Test-playing countries participating (The banned South Africa excluded), and Sri Lanka and East Africa invited as Associate members of the International Cricket Conference (now International Cricket Council). The competition was a huge, huge success.

The rest is history.


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1 AustraliaAustralia 118
2 IndiaIndia 112
3 cricketPakistan 111
4 EnglandEngland 108
5 AustraliaNew Zealand 98
6 SouthSouth Africa 92
7 sri LankaSri Lanka 85
8 West IndiesWest Indies 65
9 BangladeshBangladesh 57
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1 AustraliaAustralia 123
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3 ZimbabweIndia 110
4 South AfricaSouth Africa 110
5 EnglandEngland 106
6 sri LankaSri Lanka 102
7 BangladeshBangladesh 98
8 countryWest Indies 94
9 cricket Pakistan 87
10 AfghanistanAfghanistan 49
1 New ZealandNew Zealand 132
2 IndiaIndia 128
3 west IndiesWest Indies 122
4 AfricaSouth Africa 119
5 EnglandEngland 116
6 AustraliaAustralia 110
7 Pakistan Pakistan 104
8 sri LankaSri Lanka 96
9 AfghanistanAfghanistan 78
10 BangladeshBangladesh 74

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