Living up to the favourite tag

Published : Jan 24, 2015 00:00 IST

One of the English victims of the Gary Gilmour carnage was Barry Wood.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY
One of the English victims of the Gary Gilmour carnage was Barry Wood.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

One of the English victims of the Gary Gilmour carnage was Barry Wood.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

Clive Lloyd holding aloft the Prudential World Cup on the Lord’s balcony should rank as one of the finest cricket moments of all time. Here was the proud captain of a great team that had lived up to its reputation. It was a 60-overs-a-side affair and the West Indies had the ammunition to fire all opposition out of contention. It was a strong statement from the Caribbean and reaffirmed the faith experts and critics had in Lloyd’s ability to forge his team into a winning unit. It was also a tribute to the all-round talent that the West Indies possessed. The century by Lloyd in the final was one of the greatest seen on a cricket field. Walking to the crease at 50 for three following Gordon Greenidge’s dismissal, Lloyd joined veteran Rohan Kanhai to produce a scintillating innings that lifted the spirits of his team against an inspired opposition led by Ian Chappell. Lloyd took only 85 balls to craft a match-winning knock, and with Kanhai, Keith Boyce and Bernard Julien also chipping in, West Indies set up a total which its bowlers managed to defend in a tight finish.

Amazing rearguard effort

The astonishing victory that West Indies achieved against Pakistan at Edgbaston was a thriller all the way — a one-wicket win with just two balls to spare! A target of 267 was not a tough one for the fancied West Indies, but Pakistan reduced the favourite to 166 for eight. Defeat loomed large when Deryck Murray and Vanburn Holder began the rescue act. Holder left at 203. Andy Roberts joined Murray and West Indies stared at the daunting task of gathering 64 runs more. But Murray (61 not out), with amazing support from Roberts (24 not out), pulled off a sensational win.

Gilmour’s game

Gary Gilmour’s domination of the semifinal against England led to one of Australia’s most memorable triumphs. The venue was Headingley, known to assist seam and swing bowlers, and left-armer Gilmour showed his awesome wares with a spell of 12-6-14-6. It was a dream show indeed as he also chipped in with the bat to salvage the situation for Australia from a precarious 39 for six. The target for Australia was only 94, but it became a monumental exercise because of the adverse conditions for batsmen. But it was Gilmour’s day and England’s misfortune was that it ran into a player who did nothing wrong. When Australia reached the target, there were 188 balls to spare. It was a pity that Gilmour played only two more ODIs after that epic performance at Headingley.

When Lillee was tamed

Alvin Kallicharran, the left-hander from Guyana, came up with a masterly display against Australia at The Oval. There was elegance in every stroke that he produced as he hit 78 off 83 balls with 14 fours and a six. The audience was in a trance as Kallicharran tore into Dennis Lillee, hitting the Aussie with contempt. The pulls and hooks took one’s breath away and Lillee was left licking the wounds inflicted by Kallicharran’s dynamic strokeplay. Not many had dominated Lillee in such a manner as Kallicharran slammed the bowler for five fours in an over. Lillee stood embarrassed as Kallicharran took 35 runs off a mere 10 balls from the Australian. This was simply amazing batsmanship.

Crafty spin bowling

Bishan Singh Bedi’s miserly spell against East Africa was the lone bright spot for India in the tournament. His magnificent analysis of 12-8-6-1 was a fine demonstration of his skills at keeping the batsmen shackled. East Africa may not have been the strongest team in the tournament, but Bedi demonstrated his control to make a mark in the World Cup. He was surprisingly excluded from the first match against England, but shone against New Zealand too with figures of 12-6-28-1.

Vijay Lokapally

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