1992: Lost to Pakistan

How can you legislate against genius? Wasim Akram’s two-ball demolition job on Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis remains one of the most iconic passages of play of all time. Pakistan did what Pakistan do, and nothing and no-one was going to stand in their way - not even an England team that had spent the preceding weeks making a virtue of their bits and pieces, long before Sanjay Manjrekar turned their methods into a slur. Plus, there was that not-out lbw from Derek Pringle to Javed Miandad - he’d have been Sir Derek by now, had umpire Bucknor done the needful. So, England could not chase a total of 249 at Melbourne handing Pakistan their first and only World Cup trophy.

1987: Lost to Australia

Okay, so England reached the final in Calcutta and did jolly well along the way - Graham Gooch’s sweep-laden century to break India’s hearts in the semi-final remains one of the great individual feats in the tournament’s history. But of course, England’s memories of this final are tarnished for myriad reasons. Mike Gatting’s reverse sweep with the match at his mercy foremost among them (though England, post-KP, would simply claim “that’s the way I play” and move on from it). But more unforgivably, that shot let Australia off the hook after their most miserable decade of all time, and allowed Allan Border to don his jackboots and embark on a decades-long campaign of Ashes subjugation.

1979: Lost to West Indies


How can you legislate against genius, part two? No, not Viv - his century was just run-of-the-mill brilliant that day - but rather Collis King, whose madcap 86 from 66 was so ahead of its time, it might as well have rocked up in a DeLorean, direct from 2009, announcing that something had to be done about the kids. By contrast, England’s reply had more in common with Sunil Gavaskar’s iconic 36 not out from the 1975 event. Boycott anad Brearley (honestly, Boycott and Brearley!) opened the innings with 129 in an eternity before the young guns (Gooch! Gower! Botham!) ran out of road. Alas, where England were going that day, they didn’t need roads...