Devastating but entertaining

Innings of incredible power that not only electrified the stands but changed the course of games. And splendid bowling performances that tore up the World Cup script. Andy Hampson picks his best.


West Indies v Australia, Final, Lord's, June 21, 1975

Never one to hang around, Clive Lloyd virtually won the first World Cup for the West Indies with an innings of breathtaking power. The West Indies' captain was dropped on 26 but made the most of the chance as he blasted his way to a jaw-dropping century in 85 balls.

VIV RICHARDS (138 n.o.)

West Indies v England, Final, Lord's, June 23, 1979

The great Viv Richards took the World Cup away from England with a stupendous knock after coming in to bat with West Indies precariously placed at 99 for four. Richards changed the game in a devastating partnership with Collis King. He finished in style by swatting the last ball of the innings for six.


Sri Lanka v Australia, Final, Lahore, March 17, 1996

Aravinda de Silva played the innings of his life to lead Sri Lanka to a glorious World Cup triumph in a grudge final against Australia. Chief destroyer Sanath Jayasuriya had departed early, but Aravinda picked up the baton with a masterful knock — wonderfully epitomising the flair with which Sri Lanka took the event by storm.

STEVE WAUGH (120 n.o.)

Australia v South Africa, Super Six match, Headingley, June 13, 1999

Australia faced elimination from the World Cup until Waugh , with a little help from Herschelle Gibbs, turned things around with an innings of characteristic determination. Waugh was only 56 when he was dropped by a prematurely celebrating Gibbs, who had earlier hit a hundred himself. Whether Waugh really told Gibbs that he had "dropped the World Cup" or not, the South African indeed had. The teams met again in the semifinal, but the match ended in a tie and Australia, with a better run-rate in the Super Six, advanced to the final. That was when South Africa were made to rue Gibbs' error.

RICKY PONTING (140 n.o.)

Australia v India, Final, Johannesburg, March 23, 2003

Ricky Ponting, then only Australia's one-day captain, all but put India out of the game with an entertaining and ultimately brutal innings which earned him the Man of the Match award. Ponting took 74 balls to reach his half-century but then smashed 90 runs from his next 47 deliveries, including eight sixes. It was a wonderful display of controlled aggression — and it demoralised the Indians.


Six for 14 v England, Semifinal, Headingley, June 18, 1975

Called into the side as soon as Australia saw the green and over-watered Headingley wicket that later attracted much criticism, left-arm swing bowler Gilmour ended England's World Cup hopes. He dismissed six of England's top seven as they slumped to 93 all out. Gilmour then followed it up with an unbeaten 28 as the Australians scraped through.

JOEL GARNER (West Indies)

Five for 38 v England, Final, Lord's, June 23, 1979

Geoff Boycott and Mike Brearley's pedestrian 37-over, 129-run opening stand meant England were always behind the clock — chasing 287. Nevertheless, at 183 for two they were still in contention until the Big Bird began his spell of five for four in 11 balls, clean bowling Graham Gooch and David Gower in the same over.


Five for 44 v Pakistan, Semifinal, Lahore, November 4, 1987

McDermott helped Australia tear up the World Cup script with a Man of the Match display as they successfully defended 267. Wasim Akram tried to increase the run rate after a poor start, but McDermott responded to being hit for six by bowling him with a leg-stump yorker. It was his second victim of the day, and three more followed as he wrapped up the tail.

WASIM AKRAM (Pakistan)

Three for 49 v England, Final, Melbourne, March 25, 1992

Neil Fairbrother and Allan Lamb had revived England's World Cup dream after Mushtaq Ahmed, in a mesmerising spell, had pinned down their top order. But that was all to change as Wasim (pic right) returned to break the 72-run partnership with a ball that beat Lamb comprehensively and knocked his off stump. He followed it up by bowling Chris Lewis next ball to all but secure victory for Pakistan.

SHANE WARNE (Australia)

Four for 29 v South Africa, Semifinal, Edgbaston, June 17, 1999

This roller coaster of a game may ultimately be remembered for the comic tragedy of Allan Donald's run out; yet before Lance Klusener all but won it for South Africa, Warne had put the Aussies firmly in control. His `Ball from Hell mark two' removed Herschelle Gibbs — and fellow opener Gary Kirsten was bowled next over. He proved almost impossible to score off, and his later dismissals of Hansie Cronje and the dangerous Jacques Kallis gave him four of the top five.

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