Winner: South Africa
The earliest edition of what is now called the ICC Champions Trophy was played in a knock-out format in 1998 in Bangladesh. Nine teams featured in the tournament: Australia, India, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, West Indies and England qualified automatically, while New Zealand and Zimbabwe played a pre-qualifier, which New Zealand won, to get into the tournament proper. All matches were played in Dhaka.
This was South Africa's only victorious campaign in an ICC multi-team ODI event. It defeated England in the quarter-final by six wickets and 20 balls to spare in a chase of 282. It went on to pummel Sri Lanka by 92 runs.
Pitted against the West Indies in the final, it chased down a target of 246 with four wickets and three overs to spare. Jacques Kallis, who was instrumental in South Africa winning the final, amassed 164 runs at 82 including a hundred against Sri Lanka. He also finished with eight wickets, which included a five-for in the final.
The tournament is also remembered for Sachin Tendulkar's 141 against Australia, which set up a 44-run win for India against a dominant opposition. That was the highest score in the tournament.
Player of the tournament: Jacques Kallis
Top run-scorer: Phillo Wallace – 221 runs
Top wicket-taker: Jacques Kallis – 8 wickets
Winner: New Zealand
This too was played in the knock-out format. The pool of teams that qualified automatically was reduced from seven to five, with three berths up for grabs in the pre-qualifying round.
The five teams that gained automatic qualification were Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and South Africa. India, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Kenya were the six teams that fought for the remaining three berths with India, Sri Lanka and England making the cut.
Once in the main rounds, India soon established itself as the team to beat. It defeated Australia in the quarter-final, proceeded to defeat South Africa by a comfortable margin of 95 runs, before bumping into a spirited New Zealand in the final. New Zealand defeated Zimbabwe and then Pakistan to get to the final.
New Zealand lifted the trophy with four wickets and two balls to spare in its chase of 265, even though the tournament's top-performers, Sourav Ganguly and Venkatesh Prasad with bat and ball respectively, came good for India. Chris Cairns, the allrounder, scored a fine hundred to give New Zealand its only win at an ICC event to date.
Ganguly, the India skipper, topped the batting charts with 348 runs at an average of 116. His tally included a couple of hundreds, one of which valiantly came in the final, and a half century. Prasad's eight wickets came at an average of 21.37.
Top run-scorer: Sourav Ganguly – 348 runs
Top wicket-taker: Venkatesh Prasad – 8 wickets
2002, Sri Lanka
Winner: Shared between India and Sri Lanka
In 2002, the tournament's format was tweaked and it came to be called the ICC Champions Trophy. All games were played in Colombo, between R Premadasa and Sinhalese Sports Complex. The tournament featured 12 teams, including the 10 Full Members by direct qualification. Kenya and the Netherlands were the two other teams.
The 12 teams were split into four groups, with the topper proceeding to the semi-finals. Australia, India, Sri Lanka and South Africa were the four teams that emerged on top.
India defeated South Africa in a dramatic encounter, while Sri Lanka had it easier against Australia. Unfortunately, rain quashed hopes of witnessing a great final. Sri Lanka scored 244 for 5 in its 50 overs and India responded with 14 for no loss in two overs before rain spoiled the day. On the reserve day, the host nation got to 222 for 7 and India reached 38 for 1 in eight overs before rain ruined chance of a result.
Virender Sehwag amassed 271 runs from five games at an average of 90.33 including a ton and a half-century, while Muttiah Muralitharan topped the bowling charts.
Top run-scorer: Virender Sehwag – 271 runs
Top wicket-taker: Muttiah Muralitharan – 10 wickets
Winner: West Indies
Like the previous edition, all 10 Test-playing teams gained automatic qualification and Kenya qualified by virtue of its ODI status. The 12th team was USA, which qualified by winning the ICC Six Nations Challenge.
The semi-finalists, i.e the toppers of the four groups, were Australia, the West Indies, Pakistan and England. England beat arch-rival Australia in the first semi-final, while the West Indies triumphed over Pakistan. In a low-scoring thriller at The Oval, the West Indies put England in the shade by just two wickets and seven balls to spare in its chase of 218. The West Indies was reeling at 147 for 8 at one stage, but a resilient unbeaten 71-run stand between Courtney Browne, the wicketkeeper, and Ian Bradshaw, the left-arm bowler, took it past the line.
Marcus Trescothick scored 261 runs from four games at an average of 65.25 to finish as the top run-scorer. The top wicket-taker was also from the host country: Andrew Flintoff. Yet, it was Ramnaresh Sarwan who was Player of the Series for his 166 runs at an average of 83. He even stood in for an injured Brian Lara in the semi-final.
Player of the Series: Ramnaresh Sarwan
Top run-scorer: Marcus Trescothick – 261 runs
Top wicket-taker: Andrew Flintoff – 9 wickets
Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, India and England, the top six teams, automatically qualified for the main round. Sri Lanka, the West Indies (the defending champion), Zimbabwe and Bangladesh had to go through a qualifying round to secure their places for two remaining positions, with the first two going through.
The West Indies, after being bundled out for 80 against Sri Lanka at the starting phase of the tournament, courtesy Farveez Maharoof’s 6 for 14, went all the way to the final. An emphatic win over Australia, the No. 1 side, in the group game, which featured Jerome Taylor’s hat-trick and Chris Gayle’s century helped turn things around. In fact, the tournament saw Gayle stamping his authority.
Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa qualified for the semi-finals. This was the first time since the 1975 World Cup that no Asian team qualified for the semi-final. The tournament also featured five of the ten lowest totals in the history of this tournament. It all boiled down to the West Indies and Australia in the finals, which the Australians won by eight wickets in a rain-affected match. Australia, a team that had dominated cricket in the era, lifted the trophy for the first time.
Player of the tournament: Chris Gayle
Top run-scorer: Chris Gayle – 474 runs
Top wicket-taker: Jerome Taylor – 13 wickets
2009, South Africa
The top eight ODI teams participated in the competition, with the top two from each group qualifying for the semi-finals. There were quite a few memorable moments, starting from the first match where Sri Lanka defeated home side South Africa, courtesy a brilliant century from Tillakaratne Dilshan. Pakistan, meanwhile, got the better of its big rival India.
After its game against India was washed out, Australia faced a must-win game against Pakistan in the group stage. Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz got Australia over the line by two wickets in a thrilling low-scoring contest. Then, in the first semi-final, Australia defeated England, before going on to trump New Zealand, who had defeated Pakistan, in the final to retain the title. Shane Watson scored blistering centuries in both the matches, and was the pillar around whom Australia's wins were built. They say a team is as good as its leader and Ricky Ponting validated that by leading the chart of run scorers. The tournament will always be remembered for the dominance of Ponting and the emergence of Watson.
Player of the tournament: Ricky Ponting
Top run-scorer: Ricky Ponting – 288 runs
Top wicket-taker: Wayne Parnell – 11 wickets
MS Dhoni, the Indian captain, had every major trophy under his belt, except for the ICC Champions Trophy. By the end of this edition, Dhoni made sure he had the one remaining cup too.
The tournament retained the same format with the top eight teams divided into two groups. It began with some nail-biting thrillers, involving Pakistan, the West Indies, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Australia, the defending champion, failed to win a single match in the competition and couldn't qualify for the semi-finals.
India had a fairy-tale run, coming into the final unbeaten after defeating Sri Lanka in the semi-final. The host nation, England, too, was in the final, after defeating South Africa.
The entire competition saw some amazing contests, but the best was left for the last. The fifty-over match turned into a 20-over contest after rain spoiled the party. India could only manage 129 with the help of cameos from Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja and Shikhar Dhawan, the team's mainstay through the competition. Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara almost took the home side over the line, but Ishant Sharma got rid of both of them in consecutive deliveries to script a five-run win.
The other star that emerged for India was Jadeja, who starred both with bat and ball.
In 2017, the competition returns to England, with more fireworks expected.
Player of the tournament: Shikhar Dhawan
Top run-scorer: Shikhar Dhawan – 363 runs
Top wicket-taker: Ravindra Jadeja – 12 wickets