Key matches

K. KEERTHIVASAN

Graham Gooch proved his critics wrong with his fine batting in the Reliance World Cup. The English opener smashed a magnificent hundred against India in Bombay.-N. SRIDHARAN

India v England, Nov. 5, Bombay.

GRAHAM GOOCH was a stunning success in the Reliance World Cup proving many of his critics wrong. In the semifinals against India, which England won by 35 runs, the English opener came up with a magnificent performance, smashing a century (115). His knock was primarily responsible for England, put in to bat, to post a total of 254 for six.

Pilloried by all and sundry for his inclusion in the World Cup, Gooch went on to amass runs in the tournament. On a pitch, which was tailor-made to suit the Indian spinners, Gooch prospered, garnering most of his runs through sweeps. The bowlers to suffer the most were spinners Ravi Shastri and Maninder Singh.

With two wickets down for 79, Gooch, who was looking for some solid support, found an able partner in Mike Gatting, who made a vital 56. There was a predetermination to Gooch's methods at the crease as he planted his front foot well across against the spinners before clouting them between the square and long leg area.

Reprieved once on 82 (K. Srikkanth dropped a simple catch at short fine-leg), Gooch went on make a fine century in 120 balls. Gatting, despite not getting many of his shots in the middle of the willow, made a significant contribution.

The two added 117 off 19.3 overs. It was Gooch's presence in the middle that helped England to post a challenging total in the end. He made 57 per cent of the runs while cornering 53 per cent of the strike. These figures show the kind of foundation Gooch laid for his team on a pitch, which did not get any appreciable bounce. Kapil Dev, the only economical bowler, picked up two wickets conceding 38 runs, while Maninder claimed three victims.

DeFreitas struck early for England rattling the stumps of opener Sunil Gavaskar with a delivery that left the master batsman clueless, and the Indians were seven for one. Srikkanth lived dangerously, fishing outside the off stump, but stayed put as he and Navjot Singh Sidhu (22) made up for Gavaskar's failure. Playing all over a Foster delivery, Srikkanth (31) got his stumps disturbed. Sidhu's foot movement was suspect and the good seam bowling only exposed it. One batsman who showed some character was Mohammed Azharrudin who made 64 (74b). After Kapil Dev's exit, the all-rounder making a flashy 34, the Indians ran out of gas and the innings folded at 219 in 45.3 overs. Eddie Hemmings (four for 52), and Neil Foster (three for 47) were the pick of the England bowlers.

Australia v Pakistan, Nov. 4, Lahore.

In his heyday, Craig McDermott was an excellent line and length bowler who was capable of putting the ball in the danger area consistently. After plundering 267 runs, Australia, thanks to the destructive bowling of McDermott (five for 44), scripted an 18-run victory over Pakistan in a keenly contested match.

The `Man of the Match' Craig McDermott gets applause from both the Pakistan and the Australian players. McDermott's destructive spell of five for 44 helped Australia beat Pakistan by 18 runs at Lahore.-ALL SPORT

With contributions from all the top-order batsmen, Australia, put in to bat, made an imposing 267 for six, opener David Boon top-scoring with 65. As usual, the famed opening combination of Boon and Geoff Marsh started in a breezy manner and Australia looked well set to reach the 300-run mark. Boon and Marsh excelled, but the latter's dismissal somewhat slowed down the run-rate.

Nevertheless, Australia was going strong at 207 for three, when Pakistan skipper Imran Khan, coming back in the 41st over, applied the much-needed brakes. He claimed three for five in 10 deliveries to check the run-flow but support from the other end was sadly lacking.

With an asking rate of 5.6 runs per over, Pakistan did not help its cause losing three wickets with only 38 on the board. Javed Miandad (70) and Imran (58) came to the team's rescue, which gave a glimmer of hope for the Pakistanis. As the two started to settle down, the runs came in a torrent, providing the home crowd some joy.

In a bid to contain the run glut, Allan Border rolled his arm over, and the move clicked. Imran's sweep found the edge and 'keeper Dyer made no mistake. The crucial breakthrough had come. The rest was a gallant attempt by Pakistan to reach what looked and turned out to be an impossible target. With 118 runs to get in 15 overs, it was clear that Pakistan was fighting a lost battle.

Bowling at a lively pace, McDermott, who had earlier accounted for opener Mansoor Akhtar, polished off the tail picking up the wickets of Wasim Akram, Salim Yousuf, Salim Jaffer and Tauseef Ahmed in quick succession.

India v New Zealand, Nov. 1, Nagpur.

It was an occasion to celebrate for the little master Sunil Gavaskar as he notched up his maiden century in one-dayers, against New Zealand at Nagpur. It was doubly sweet for India when Chetan Sharma became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the World Cup, later in the day.-N. SRIDHARAN

It was a special moment for the little master. For Sunil Manohar Gavaskar, a prolific run-getter in Tests, the maiden ODI century (103 not out) against New Zealand in the league match was an occasion to celebrate since it was an ambition he had nursed for long. The fact that he braved a viral infection made the knock even more alluring, thereby putting everything else in the shade. The match also had another significant landmark: Chetan Sharma became the first bowler to take a hat-trick in the World Cup.

India, put in to bat, rode on the openers Gavaskar and Krishnamachari Srikkanth (75) exploits to score a nine-wicket win and top the league. Chasing a target of 221 for nine in 50 overs, Gavaskar and Srikkanth took charge and were involved in a 136-run partnership, which, incidentally, was their highest. It was also their most spectacular association in a job they had undertaken so often together.

India needed to meet the target by the end of the 42nd over if it were to play its semifinal match at home, and it got there in 32.1 overs. Gavaskar exhibited the range and stunning capacity setting the tone and tenor of the run chase with an admirable mixture of improvisation and orthodoxy. Such was his brilliance that Srikkanth's aggressive innings was overshadowed. Mohammed Azharuddin remained unbeaten on 41.

Earlier, New Zealand struggled to make an impact. John Wright (35) and P. Horne (18) showed promise for the opening wicket but the problem was the team's inability to consolidate on good partnerships. Ironically, the Kiwis had lost too much in their eagerness to go on the offensive early. Deepak Patel made a solid 40 and was involved in a stand of 59 with Rutherford. Then came the magic from Chetan Sharma as he bowled Rutherford, Ian Smith and Chatfield off successive deliveries to claim a famous hat-trick. India bowled with purpose with Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar too doing well.