Key matches

K. KEERTHIVASAN

Gordon Greenidge pulls Majid Khan during his knock of 74.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

West Indies v Pakistan, June 20

Greenidge and Haynes forged a successful opening partnership that broke many records. The first step towards that direction was taken in the semifinals against Pakistan. In a match, that tested the batting strengths of the two teams, the two blazed away to a century partnership that enabled West Indies notch up a 43-run win.

Put in to bat, West Indies started on a flourish with openers Greenidge and Haynes putting on 132 runs. Greenidge did not spare any bowler — be it Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz or Mudassar Nazar. On the other hand, Haynes played the supporting role to perfection. The duo ensured that the run rate did not fall below four runs per over. With the exit of Greenidge and Haynes, the Pakistanis thought that it would be able to contain the West Indies. Richards, who made his presence felt in the inaugural edition, stamped his class with a quickfire 42. Richards and Clive Lloyd (37) accelerated the run-rate producing in the process superior strokeplay as West Indies finished at 293 for six.

Possessing some exciting talent, Pakistan, too, was keen to get the target. Majid Khan (81), Zaheer Abbas (93) added 166 runs for the second wicket and as long as the two were there, hopes lingered. Once Abbas got out to a diving catch by Derryck Murray off Croft's bowling, Majid followed in the next over trapped leg before to Croft. The fact that the last eight wickets went for 74 runs reflect how meekly the other Pakistani batsmen caved in. That Pakistan went on to make 250 against the hostile bowling attacks of Roberts, Holding and Garner showed their grit.

England v New Zealand, June 21.

Derek Randall couldn't have asked for more at Old Trafford. The clown prince known for his strange mannerisms ensured England beat New Zealand by nine runs in a thrilling semifinal encounter, which could have gone either way. With his brash batting and electrifying fielding, Randall helped his team's cause to the brim.

Requiring 20 runs from the last two overs, two wickets in hand, New Zealand just could not pull it off as Ian Botham and Hendrick came up with toe-crushing yorkers.

New Zealand wicket-keeper Warren Lees whips off the balls, but Derek Randall scrambles home. Randall made a lightning 43 to guide England out of trouble.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

England, put in to bat, made a disastrous start losing Boycott, caught by Howarth off Hadlee. Brearley made half century, while Graham Gooch made a refined 71. But England kept losing wickets at regular intervals and was looking bad at 178 for seven.

Failed in the No. 3 position in the three earlier innings here, Randall was relegated, and the ploy worked. He made a lightning 43 not out and guided England out of troubled waters as the host finished at a respectable score of 221. Richard Hadlee had match figures of 12-4-32-1.

New Zealand did make a brave effort, but its key batsmen failed to produce their best, Turner failed, Howarth and A. V. Coney disappointed. Opener left-hander John Wright waged a lone battle, and he did seem to be taking New Zealand to victory. A splendid piece of fielding by Randall did Wright in, a direct throw from the former from the deep caught Wright short. Randall again did the damage running out the dangerous Mark Burgess, and England was victory bound. The clown prince had the last laugh.

England v Pakistan, June 17.

A low scoring match made interesting by the bungling of both the team's batsmen. England somehow managed to put it across Pakistan by 14 runs. Put in to bat, England started badly losing opener Mike Brearley for no score, caught behind off Imran Khan's bowling. Randall perished sooner than expected. Geoff Boycott and Graham Gooch nursed England to 51, before Majid Khan had Boycott trapped in front. Gooch (33) was the top-scorer. But it was the ninth wicket partnership between Bob Willis (24) and Bob Taylor (20 not out), which proved to be invaluable for England as it coasted to 165 for nine. On the bowling front, Majid Khan and Sikander Bakht picked three wickets apiece.

Confident of getting past the meagre total, Pakistan got off to rousing start with Majid Khan and Sadiq Mohammad batting freely adding 27 runs for the opening wicket.

Mike Hendrick's arrival changed the scenario upside down. He removed the openers and then packed off Mudassar Nazar and Haroon Rashid in quick succession. In a dramatic turnaround, helped by Hendrick's four-wicket spell and Botham's three, Pakistan was all at sea at 34 for six. Pakistan found a saviour in Asif Iqbal who put on 52 runs with Wasim Raja (21) and Imran Khan (21 not out) pushed the total to 115 for seven.

There was little doubt in one's mind whether or not Asif would guide his side to victory. A well-set Asif was out to a beauty from Bob Willis. After completing his fifty, he was done in by a delivery, which rose sharply, and Brearley took a fine catch. Skipper Asif Iqbal who made 51, was the eighth man to go. Pakistan's chances seemed hopeless but Imran Khan and Wasim Bari trudged along. Brearley, introduced Boycott, with the score reading 145 for eight. Twenty runs to get and only two wickets in hand. Bowling his gentle inswingers, Boycott had Bari caught by Taylor off bat and pad and then had last batsman Sikander caught in the deep by Hendrick. Imran was left stranded on 21 not out.