Key matches

K. KEERTHIVASAN

Zaheer Abbas produced a cameo knock of 81 in Pakistan's score of 266 for seven against West Indies.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Pakistan v West Indies, June 11: Pakistan paid the price for underestimating the West Indies tail in the group match of the inaugural World Cup at Edgbaston. After setting a target of 266, Pakistan had the West Indies on the mat at 166 for eight. Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, Alvin Kallicharran, Rohan Kanhai and Viv Richards were dismissed cheaply.

Despite captain Clive Lloyd's 53, wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals, and the score read 145 for six, with Sarfraz Nawaz doing most of the damage claiming three wickets (he ended up with four for 44). However, Derryck Murray (61 not out) steered his team to an improbable one-wicket victory in the fourth ball of the last over. Andy Roberts (24 not out) and Vanburn Holder (16) provided able support.

Earlier electing to bat, Pakistan was determined to take on the challenge of the West Indies pace attack led by the fearsome Roberts. Keith Boyce, Vanburn Holder and Bernard Julien played the supporting role to perfection. However, the Pakistani batsmen were equal to the task. Majid Khan, who opened the innings was confidence personified, making a fluent 60. The middle order too chipped in, with Zaheer Abbas producing a sweet cameo (81). Mushtaq Mohammed and Wasim Raja produced half centuries. Pakistan finally finished at a respectable score of 266 for seven in the allotted 60 overs.

By no means was the target unreachable, given the strong batting line-up of the West Indies, which included Fredericks, Kallicharran, Lloyd and Richards. Sarfraz bowled a superb opening spell, dismissing Fredericks, Greenidge, and Kallicharan and West Indies found itself at 36 for three.

Soon, the West Indies slumped to 203 for nine, with only Lloyd among the middle order batsmen, coming up with a half century. Murray stayed there and along with Roberts managed to change the script. The only consolation for Pakistan came when Sarfraz was named the man of the match.

Sri Lanka v Australia, June 11.

The contest at The Oval between minnows Sri Lanka and Australia resembled the Bodyline series. Fast bowlers Lillee and Thomson kept bombarding the Sri Lankan batsmen with short-pitched deliveries, but the Lankan lions took the challenge head on.

Gary Gilmour, who picked up six wickets for 14, gets rid of Barry Wood.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Chasing Australia's 328 for five, Sri Lanka fought hard showing no signs of relenting, and made the contest one to remember through sheer determination. Facing the famed attack of Lillee and Thomson, Lankans displayed character in dealing with the Australian pacemen. Opener S.R.D. Wettimuny, braving incessant short-pitched deliveries from Thommo (he got one in his ribs) compiled a brave 53, before retiring hurt. Mendis contributed 32 before he too was felled by a Thommo delivery and had to be carried off the field. After the dismissals of Wettimuny and Duleep Mendis, Tennekoon (48) and M. H. Tissera (52) kept up the fight. The Lankans ended up scoring 276 losing four wickets in the process. For Australia, opener A. Turner, who top-scored with 101, put on 182 runs with McCosker (73).

Most of the Lankans, will remember the match for their doughty display.

New Zealand v India, June 14.

Entering the tournament not even as a dark horse, India had a good chance of entering the semifinals when it took on New Zealand in a group match. But one man stood between India and a semifinal berth, and that was Glenn Turner. Powered by his unbeaten century New Zealand won the match by four wickets.

Opener Sunil Gavaskar, who made a fine 65 in the previous match against East Africa, had made only 12 when Richard Hadlee caught him off the bowling of D. Hadlee. That triggered the Indian collapse as four more wickets tumbled with the addition of 77 runs.

But Abid Ali held the innings together with a neat 70. He was primarily responsible for India reaching the respectable score of 230.

India then had New Zealand in a spot of bother as Morrison, Howarth and Parker lost their wickets in quick succession, and the Kiwis found themselves in the hole at 74 for three at tea. But Turner and Hastings batted with responsibility and authority to keep New Zealand in the hunt. The two added 65 for the fourth wicket. Requiring 26 from the last five overs, Turner (114 not out) steered New Zealand to victory with seven deliveries to spare.

Batting first, India was in dire straits at 94 for five, with Gavaskar, Farook Engineer, Anshuman Gaekwad, G. R. Visvanath and Patel back in the pavilion. The only bright spot was the performance of the utility cricketer Abid Ali who picked up two wickets apart from compiling 70 important runs.

Australia v England, June 18.

An unknown entity became a celebrity overnight. Picked by captain Ian Chappell for the crucial semifinal match against England, Gilmour justified his skipper's faith in him. Playing in his first match, Gary Gilmour showed no sign of nerves as he came up with an all-round performance; picking six wickets conceding 14 runs in the allotted 12 overs, and then scoring a vital unbeaten 28 to give Australians a thrilling four-wicket win over England.

Put in to bat, England messed up, unable to read the seam and movement of the 23-year-old New South Wales bowling sensation Gilmour, and soon was bundled out for 93. Denness top-scored with 27.

However, England hit back with a spirited opening spell by Chris Old, which helped to put it right on the tracks. And Australia's batting woes looked worse than England's, with the score reading 39 for six. Openers McCosker and A. Turner, Chappell brothers had no clue whatsoever to the bowling of Old, Arnold and John Snow.

Gilmour, who tormented the England batsmen no end, came to his team's rescue once again. This time with the bat as he and K.D.Walters (20 not out) ensured that there was no further collapse. Incidentally, Gilmour (28 not out) emerged the top-scorer.

It was a day when newcomer Gilmour, who took the limelight away from Lillee and Thomson, was at his fiery best producing 36 dot balls. Illustrious partners Lillee scalped one victim from nine overs, while Thomson none from six.