King Richards Lords over England

Vivian Richards...in a murderous mood during his unbeaten 138 against England in the final.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Vivian Richards’ unbeaten 138 against England is considered one of the finest seen in a World Cup final. Walking in at the score of 22, Richards lost the company of Desmond Haynes, Alvin Kallicharran and Clive Lloyd with only 99 runs on the board. What followed was a partnership dominated by Collis King, who clobbered the attack, but Richards’ ability to read the situation and play till the end was an example to emulate. After King departed at 238, it was Richards who shifted gears. Of the 48 runs added after King’s departure, Deryck Murray contributed just five. The pace quartet of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Colin Croft contributed nothing with the bat as Richard signed off by walking across the stumps and flicking Hendrick into the Mound Stand for a six off the last ball!

Big Bird’s strikes

Chasing 287 to win the Cup, England openers Geoff Boycott and Mike Brearley had done well to see off the opening spells of Roberts, Holding, Croft and Garner. But the stand of 129 by the end of the 39th over did not leave West Indies unduly worried. Once the openers fell to Holding six runs later, the English fans looked to Derek Randall and Graham Gooch to step up the run-rate. Garner returned for the 48th over and in the space of 11 deliveries, took five wickets for four runs to hasten an England defeat.

He bowled Gooch and four deliveries later beat David Gower’s defence. After Croft sent back Randall and Botham, Garner polished off the tail. As England lost eight wickets for 11 runs, Garner’s five for 38 was etched in the record books as the best spell in any Cup final.

Hendrick’s magic

Undoubtedly, England and Pakistan produced the competition’s most thrilling contest — a low scoring match at Headingley where 316 runs were scored in 116 overs, dotted with the fall of 19 wickets! Both teams came into the match armed with two successive victories. When Pakistan restricted England to 165 for nine, not many gave the host a chance of containing the formidable batting line-up of the rival.

Pakistan openers Majid Khan and Sadiq Mohammad put on 27 runs before England turned the match on its head with Hendrick producing a game-changing spell. He took four wickets for nine runs, ably supported by Ian Botham, who took two to reduce Pakistan to 36 for six!

It was Hendrick’s swing that swung the match England’s way. He sent back Majid, Sadiq, Mudassar Nazar and Haroon Rashid in the space of eight deliveries for just three runs.

Though Asif Iqbal brought Pakistan back with a splendid half-century and Imran Khan promised to take the team past the finish-line, Hendrick was not done yet. He took a splendid catch to dismiss last-man Sikandar Bakht to give England a 14-run victory.

King holds centrestage

At 99 for four after 29 overs, West Indies was in a spot of bother in the final against England. Though Viv Richards was still around, there was not much batting to follow. In walked Collis King, to join his illustrious partner.

What followed was an innings of rare counter-attack, hardly seen in that era. After cutting the first delivery he faced from Botham for a boundary, King took control. Richard tried to calm King down thrice but then gave up.

Resuming after lunch at 19, with West Indies on 125 for four, King unleashed an array of strokes. The ball kept hitting the wall behind the ropes as England skipper Mike Brearley’s decision to persist with non-regular bowlers like Boycott, Gooch and Wayne Larkins backfired. The trio shared 12 overs and conceded 100 runs, a majority of them coming during the 139-run stand for the fifth wicket. King smashed Larkins for two sixes in an over and treated Boycott with disdain. He was eyeing a half-century when Richards was in the nineties. King then raced away to 86 — with Richards still in the nineties — off just 66 deliveries, dotted with three sixes and 10 fours!

Rakesh Rao