Each of the first four tournaments was played by eight teams, divided into two groups of four.
The competition consisted of two stages, a group stage and a knock-out stage. The four teams in each group played each other in the round-robin group stage, with the top two teams in each group progressing to the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals played against each other in the final.
A distinct format was used for the 1999 and 2003 World Cups.
The teams were split into two pools, with the top three teams in each pool advancing to the Super 6. As they advanced, the teams carried their points forward from previous matches against other teams advancing alongside them, giving them an incentive to perform well in the group stages. The top four teams from the Super 6 stage progressed to the semi-finals, with the winners playing in the final.

The format used in the 2007 World Cup involved 16 teams allocated into four groups of four.

Within each group, the teams played each other in a round-robin format.

Teams earned points for wins and half-points for ties. The top two teams from each group moved forward to the Super 8 round. The Super 8 teams played the other six teams that progressed from the different groups.

 

The top four teams from the Super 8 round advanced to the semi-finals, and the winners of the semi-finals played in the final.
The format used in the 2011 and 2015 World Cups featured two groups of seven teams
Each playing in a round-robin format. The top four teams from each group proceeded to the knock out stage consisting of quarter-finals, semi-finals Ultimately the final.


It is proposed that in 2019 World Cup, the number of teams participating will go down to 10

All the teams will play against each other once in round robin format Entering the knock-outs. This would be similar to the one used in 1992 World Cup.