Both Australia and Pakistan need a win after a wobbly start.
June 7, 1975: Five star Lillee stars in easy Australian win
The start of World Cup journey for Pakistan and Australia. It started right here; two fierce teams locked horns at Leeds for the first time in a World Cup.
The Chappell brothers were in prime form heading into the tournament, and after deciding to bat first, Australia's top four batted with great sense of purpose. Alan Turner, Rick McCosker, Ian Chappell and Greg Chappell, all four got starts and kept the scorecard ticking with identical intensity. Only Ross Edwards, batting at six, managed to convert his start into something substantial and helped Australia post - 278 which seemed a very competitive total at that time.
Chasing a stiff target, Pakistan needed some stability at the top but none of it was on offer as they lost three quick wickets early on and were always behind the eight ball. Only three batters managed double-digit scores as Dennis Lillee ran through Pakistan's lower-order with bustling pace and accuracy.
June 13, 1975: Packer-less Australia sent packing
Even before the game began, there was a sense of inevitability to the result of the contest as Australia sent a second string side to the World Cup with a huge chunk of its top players absent due to contracts with Kerry Packer's World Series cricket. Australia were eliminated in the league round, and their only win came against minnows Canada.
Pakistan, after being inserted, piled up a 99-run stand for the opening wicket and nearly every batsman got their eye in; so much so that the least number of balls faced among their top six was Zaheer Abbas who batted 32 deliveries for his 16. Javed Miandad's run-a-ball 46 towards the end added the much-needed impetus to post a competitive total - 286/7 - on the board. In response, apart from Andrew Hilditch's snail-paced 72, there weren't any notable contributions from the rest and Australia eventually fell 89 short of the target.
November 4, 1987: Clinical Australia dash home hopes
Not many gave a chance for Australia to reach the semi-final of the 1987 World Cup, but Allan Border's men found ways to win tough situations and were eventually crowned as champions. Pakistan were deemed as one of the favourites ahead of this clash and with Imran Khan announcing the game to be his final appearance in Pakistan, the excitement levels soared high with hopes pinned on the home team.
As is the Australian way, Allan Border chose to bat first in a high-pressure game and his openers responded well with a 73-run stand for the first wicket. A needless run-out at that stage restrained the momentum slightly, but solid scores from all of Australian top six meant they posted a challenging 267 on the board. Much like their opponents, Pakistan too lost their first wicket (Ramiz Raja) to a run-out with the only difference being the timing of that dismissal. Following the run-out, Pakistan felt the pinch of a high-pressure game throughout the chase and despite a fighting knock from Javed Miandad (70), the home team fell 18 short of the target.
This game will be remembered for various unique reasons as four batsmen got run-out and not to forget Imran Khan's magnificent spell of bowling which included three bowled and the sight of stumps cartwheeling all over the place. Pakistan's wicket-keeper batsman Saleem Yousuf got injured during the game after an Abdul Qadir googly deflected off Dean Jones' pad onto the mouth causing a slight delay around the 20th over and just few moments later Tauseef Ahmed injured his hand while trying to take a return catch from David Boon. Tauseef though continued bowling and left the ground - for treatment - only after his ten-over spell and was the last batsman to get dismissed in the game.
Also Pakistan seemed to have an even advantage till the 49th over of the first innings, but Imran Khan took a gamble and decided to go with Saleem Jaffar - who ended up conceding 18 runs; exactly the amount of defeat margin for Pakistan. Steve Waugh was the wrecker in chief in the final over and although it was his first World Cup, the senior Waugh showed glimpses of great potential in all departments of the game.
March 11, 1992: Pakistan keep hopes alive with big win
In a must-win game for both sides, Australia went in with an all-pace attack while Pakistan welcomed back the return of Ramiz Raja (injured shoulder) at the top. After opting to bat, Pakistan needed at least two of their top four to go big to have any chance of defeating the mighty Aussies in their own backyard. In fairness, both teams walked into this game low on confidence after bagging mixed results in their previous games.
Openers Aamer Sohail and Ramiz Raja did well to negate the new ball and marched on at a decent pace before Javed Miandad joined the former to stitch a 77-run stand for the third wicket. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the fall of Aamer Sohail stirred an unexpected implosion thanks to a splendid spell from Steve Waugh who picked up the vital wickets of Miandad, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram to restrict Pakistan to a mere 220. In fact, they lost their last seven wickets for 73 runs which enabled momentum to switch sides at the half-way stage.
Many expected Australia to cruise home after their masterly comeback with the ball, but the home team endured an even worse collapse with the bat and eventually lost their last eight wickets for 56 runs. Only three batsmen - Geoff Marsh, Dean Jones, Mark Waugh - got to double digits while the rest crumbled cheaply to hand Pakistan a crucial 48-run win at the WACA.
May 23, 1999: Inzamam stars in Headingley classic
Having lost their previous game against New Zealand, Australia decided to change their strategy and opted to go with a pace-heavy attack comprising Damien Fleming, Glenn McGrath, Paul Reiffel and Shane Warne. Despite a decent start, Pakistan seemed in trouble at 46/3 around the 13th over and the situation demanded a gritty effort from the remaining batters. Abdul Razzaq and Inzamam-ul-Haq both compiled fifties while Mohammad Yusuf and Moin Khan chipped in with blazing cameos to lift Pakistan to a challenging (275) total.
The late momentum with the bat helped Pakistan start off brightly with the ball as Wasim Akram cleaned up Adam Gilchrist off the third ball during the chase. Things looked in complete control with a 91-run stand between Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting for the second wicket, but the duo departed in quick succession and suffered a mini wobble around the 20th over. Michael Bevan and Steve Waugh, however, calmed the storm and weaved what seemed like a match-winning 113-run stand for the fifth wicket. Wasim Akram - arguably the best exponents of swing bowling around the time - had other ideas in his final spell as he reverse-swung Australia out of the game to hand his side a thrilling ten-run victory in the end.
June 20, 1999: Australia crush Pakistan to claim second crown
Australia's only loss against an Asian country in the 1999 World Cup came against Pakistan and fittingly, both the teams met again in the final with the latter having a slight psychological advantage over their opponents. Pakistan, in fact, won the toss and almost had everything working in their favor, only to implode massively, after deciding to bat, in a high-pressure final game. Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne hunted in pairs and shared six crucial wickets between them to restrict Pakistan to a scanty total (132).
Australia brushed off the target with ease inside 21 overs and became only the second team, after the West Indies, to lift the coveted trophy for the second time. This game is still regarded as one of the most one-sided finals of all-time and Australia couldn't have asked for an easier final after managing a narrow escape in the tied semi-final game against South Africa. Darren Lehmann, the coach of the 2015 World Cup winning team, hit the winning runs to trigger exuberant celebrations on the Lord's balcony.
February 11, 2003: Symonds special leaves Pakistan floored
This game was set to be a contest between one of the best batting line-ups against one of the strongest bowling line-ups of that edition. And as it turned out, Pakistan had Australia on the mat by dismissing four of their top five batsmen inside 16 overs. The jubilation of early dominance, however, didn't last long for the Asian nation as Andrew Symonds launched a boundary assault whilst weaving handy partnerships with the lower middle-order to bring up his maiden century in international cricket. The century (143 off 125 balls) not only changed the complexion of the game, but it also redefined Andrew Symonds, the ODI batsman and his batting average never dipped since.
Pakistan were set a mammoth 311 to chase and they needed one among their top four to go big to encourage any hopes of sealing the game. Unfortunately for them, wickets kept falling at regular intervals and only one in their top seven managed to scrape 30 runs. Ian Harvey picked up vital wickets and ended up with a four-fer as Australia kick-started their campaign with a confidence-boosting 82-run win.
March 19, 2011: Spirited Pakistan break Australia's winning spree
Heading into this game, Australia's winning streak in World Cups stood at 34 and very few anticipated Pakistan to put an end to that streak. In fact, they were the last team to beat Australia - on May 23, 1999 - in World Cups at the time.
On a sultry afternoon in Colombo, Australia - opted to bat - never got going and only two batsmen - Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin - managed to score in excess of 30, before being bowled out for a paltry total (176). The chase saw plenty of twists and turns thanks to a fantastic spell of bowling from Brett Lee who picked up a four-fer in his eight-over economical spell. The rest of the bowlers, however, couldn't exert as much pressure and a sensible 44 from Umar Akmal steered Pakistan home with nine overs to spare. They also became one of the first teams to qualify for the quarter-finals in that edition of the World Cup.
March 20, 2015: Ice-cool Watson steers Australia home
The highlights reel of 2015 World Cup would be incomplete sans the seething spell of Wahab Riaz who bowled with intimidating pace, unmatched intensity and the fizz of bouncers indeed. Facing the heat at the receiving end was Shane Watson, who fought commendably to get past the Riaz barrage of bumpers and remain unscathed despite a few nervy moments. That aside, the quarter-final clash between Australia and Pakistan was a pretty much one-sided affair. There were vulnerable moments for both teams, but Australia never panicked and sealed the game with supreme ease.
Having chosen to bat, Pakistan lost their openers cheaply inside the first six overs and that forced a cautious approach from the rest of the batters who struggled to kick-on despite getting starts; so much so that only one batsman - Shahid Afridi - managed to achieve a strike rate over 80 and were eventually bundled out for a below par (213) total.
Although Australia lost three big wickets - Warner, Finch, Clarke - relatively early in the chase, the required run rate was always under control and an 89-run stand between Smith and Watson for the fourth wicket sealed the deal for the home team.