ENG vs SA: Imran Tahir becomes first spinner to bowl first over in a World Cup

Imran Tahir created history in the opening game of World Cup 2019 by becoming the first spinner to bowl the first over in the tournament.

Imran Tahir struck second ball of the first over of World Cup 2019, with the scalp of Jonny Bairstow.   -  Getty Images

South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir created history in the opening game of World Cup 2019 against England at the Oval on Thursday. He became the first spinner to bowl the first over in the tournament.

Watch: Imran Tahir picks first wicket of World Cup 2019

The feat turned special when he struck second ball with the wicket of Jonny Bairstow; caught behind for a duck.

Here's a look at the first balls of each World Cup from 1975 to 2015.

1975 World Cup

Madan Lal

India's Madan Lal bowled the first ball of the Prudential World Cup in 1975 to Dennis Amiss of England.

In what was still early days of limited-overs cricket, the World Cup was a 60-over affair. It was a forgettable outing for India as England secured a massive 202-run victory. The match was also famous for Sunil Gavaskar's slow innings. He had scored an unbeaten 36 off 174 deliveries.


Lal had a decent outing as the medium pacer scalped one wicket and conceded 64 runs in his quota of 12 overs. As the tournament progressed, he improved his performance. He scalped three wickets against East and Central Africa but could take just one wicket against New Zealand. 

1979 World Cup

Sir Andy Roberts

One of the greatest bowlers of all time, Sir Andy Roberts sent down the first delivery of the 1979 World Cup. West Indies took on India in the opening match at Birmingham and Roberts returned with 2/32 in his 9.1 overs as India was bowled out for 190.

He took the prized scalp of opener Gavaskar and later went on to remove Bishan Singh Bedi.

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West Indies won the opener by a canter as Gordon Greenidge scored a century. As the tournament progressed, Roberts went on to pick three wickets against New Zealand and two wickets against Pakistan in the semifinal. He remained wicketless in the final against England, but played a vital role in helping West Indies win the World Cup.

1983 World Cup

Sir Richard Hadlee

It was a World Cup that changed the perception of cricket in India as Kapil Dev's men lifted the trophy. It was England who played the first match against New Zealand in London. The first ball of this edition was bowled by Sir Richard Hadlee.

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Although New Zealand lost the match by 106 runs, Sir Hadlee bowled four maidens, took the wicket of Sir Ian Botham and gave just 26 runs in his quota of 12 overs.

1987 World Cup

V.B. John

For the first time, Asian nations — India and Pakistan — were selected to host a World Cup. In the first match, Pakistan took on Sri Lanka in Hyderabad and it was Sri Lanka's V.B. John who bowled the first ball. In a match that was won by Pakistan, John bowled an economical spell of 10 overs for just 37 runs, including two maiden overs.

1992 World Cup

Craig McDermott

The 1992 World Cup was jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia. The first match was played between the host nations. Craig McDermott was the opening bowler for Australia. He dismissed John Wright and Ian Smith. But Australia lost the match.

1996 World Cup

Dominic Cork

India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka hosted the 1996 World Cup and England took on New Zealand in the opening match. England's Dominic Cork bowled the first ball of the World Cup and the Englishman went on to dismiss opener Craig Spearman, later in his spell. In his quota of 10 overs, Cork conceded 36 runs with a maiden to his credit.

1999 World Cup

Darren Gough

Host England played its opening match against Sri Lanka and it was Darren Gough who bowled the first over of this edition. England opened its account with a win and Gough took just one wicket and gave away 50 runs in the 8.4 overs he bowled.

2003 World Cup

Shaun Pollock

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock bowled the first ball of the 2003 World Cup as South Africa took on West Indies in Cape Town. The skipper then, took two wickets and gave away 52 runs in his quota of 10 overs, including two maidens.

2007 World Cup

Umar Gul

West Indies hosted the World Cup for the first time. The host took on Pakistan in the first match at Kingston. Umar Gul bowled the first ball of the World Cup and took two wickets in the nine overs he bowled and ended up in the losing side.

2011 World Cup

Shaiful Islam

Bangladesh hosted India in the first match of the World Cup that MS Dhoni's men went on to win. In the first match, Shaiful Islam bowled the first ball of the World Cup to Virender Sehwag and the bowler picked the wicket of Yusuf Pathan, later in his spell. India went on to win the match by 87 runs with Sehwag blasting a 140-ball 175.

2015 World Cup

Nuwan Kulasekara

In the World Cup that was hosted by Australia and New Zealand, Sri Lanka took on New Zealand in Christchurch to start the proceedings. The first ball was bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara, who returned with just one wicket in his spell. The islanders lost the rubber.

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