Top 25 World Cup Matches (Part 4 – 10-6)

July 4, 2019

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This 12th edition of ICC Cricket World Cup has almost reached the last stage. The semifinalists are almost decided and the group stage will be over soon. With the hope of another exciting World Cup climax, let’s have a look at five more memorable encounter in the history of the Cricket World Cup (1975-2015). 

10 | February 1996, Kenya vs West Indies, Group stage, Pune

In one of the most talked about matches in the World Cup, the Africans in their first appearance in the World Stage beat the two time World Champions on the leap year day. It was a perfect analogy as such a dramatic win by an associate nation is as rare as a leap year day.

Richie Richardson must have been a happy man during the break as he won the toss and then bowled out the newcomers for 166 with only Steve Tikolo (29), Hitesh Modi (26) and Thomas Odoyo (24) showing some fight. His pace quartet Ambrose-Walsh-Bishop-Cuffy shared seven wickets among them and rest three were taken by Roger Harper’s spin.

West Indian players must have been confident of chasing this score easily and they came one after another and hoped the next person would finish the job. They were 33/3 when Brian Lara went; soon they were 55/5 then 78/7 and finally were bowled out for 93. Opening bowler Rajab Ali took 3 wickets and Maurice Odumbe chipped in with three more. The dismissal of Lara was a true representative of the match. The Kenyan keeper Tariq Iqbal was a bulky, bespectacled man who till then showed no confidence behind the stumps and his keeping was full of fumble and he let multiple times the balls to go past him. But somehow the Brian Lara nick was pouched by him, with a ‘little’ support by his stomach. It was a fascinating incident from an intriguing match.

9 | November 1987, Australia vs England, Final, Kolkata

In the first three World Cup finals a constant factor was the presence of West Indies as the favorites to lift the trophy. In 1987 World Cup, for the first time, West Indies were not in the World Cup final. Not only that, the two less fancied teams were playing the final. When India faced England and Pakistan faced Australia in semi-finals most of the cricket fans from the sub-continent were sure of an India-Pakistan face-off in the final. But that was not the case. Instead, it was the other age-old rivals Australia and England met for the finale of a very successful World Cup.

Australia batted first after winning the toss and there were contributions from all of their top six. David Boon was the highest scorer with 75. There were key contributions from Dean Jones and the captain Allan Border. Interestingly Australia included their second wicketkeeper Mike Veletta as a specialist batsman at number six and he provided some very important quick runs at the end with his 45 off 31 to take the team to 253.

The England chase did not start well as the opener Tim Robinson went on the first ball. There was some recovery by Graham Gooch and Bill Athey. Once Gooch was gone, Mike Gatting was in and it looked like he and Athey would take England to a World Cup triumph. But then, Australian captain Border came in to deliver his gentle left-arm spin.  Gatting tried to hit a reverse sweep and was caught by the wicketkeeper Dyer. This was the turning point. England kept losing wickets regularly and finally fell seven runs short of Australia in a very entertaining final.

8 | March 1992, South Africa vs England, Semi-Final, Sydney

A very controversial match in World Cup history was played at Sydney during the 1992 World Cup. It was the semi-final between South Africa and England. South Africa just returned into International cricket after a 21-year suspension and were keen to reach the final. England lost the 1987 World Cup final and were desperate to have another go in the final. There was already rain in Sydney and the match was converted to 45-overs per side contest.

The Day-Night match started with South Africa asking England to bat first. The opening bowlers Allan Donald and Meyrick Pringle bowled tightly and at one stage England were 21/2. England middle order scripted a recovery led by Graeme Hick’s 83 as Alec Stewart (33), Neil Fairbrother (28), Allan Lamb (19), Chris Lewis (18), all contributed. Dermot Reeve played a key innings of 25 off 14 at the death to take them to 252/6

With 253 to score for a place in the final, everyone from the South African top order played their part. The partnerships read 26, 35, 29, 41, 45 and 30 for first six wickets and when Jonty Rhodes was dismissed the score was 206/6. The all-rounder Brian McMillan and wicketkeeper Dave Richardson slowly added the required runs and with 22 required off 13 balls, rains returned. The match was interrupted for 10 minutes and so when the match was resumed, the overs needed to be eliminated. The ‘Rain Rule’ or the rule for adjusting the target in case of a rain delay during the World Cup stated that, in case of a reduction of overs in the second innings, correspondingly the runs scored in the lowest scoring overs in the first innings would be subtracted.

As a result, when they decided to deduct two overs from South Africa’s chase, they looked for the lowest scoring overs in England innings which were two maidens from Pringle. Hence the bizarre new target set for South Africa was 22 runs off 1 ball which was impossible to score and their World Cup dreams ended in rude shock among a very confusing situation for both players and fans.

7 | March 1996, Australia vs West Indies, Semi-Final, Mohali

This match was one of the most exciting World Cup semi-finals with a twist in the tail. For the most part of the match, West Indies were looking like the favorites to reach the final after 13 years but eventually, that was not the case.

Australia, batting first, had a terrible start. Curtley Ambrose and Ian Bishop reduced them to 15/4. The recovery came from Michael Bevan and Stuart Law. The duo helped to recover the innings and ensured a long partnership and West Indies could not make inroads in the lower order. Bevan (72) and Law (69) added 138 runs in the partnership before Law was run out. It was a lucky break for West Indies, they soon got Bevan and despite an attacking 31 from Ian Healy, Australia could only score 207/8 in their 50 overs.

In contrast, West Indies had a strong start. The opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul played a brilliant innings of 80 and contributed in the partnership with Brian Lara (45) and the captain Richie Richardson. With the score on 163/8 in the 42nd over and just 43 required to win it was West Indies’ match to lose and that’s exactly what they did. Chanderpaul was dismissed and that panicked the team. The batting order was reshuffled, players got out trying to play unorthodox shots and no one provided support to Richardson standing at the one end. Richardson tried his best but could not do entirely on his own. He remained not out for 49 as Damien Fleming and Shane Warne finished off the tail. West Indies lost the match by just five runs.

6 | June 1983, India vs West Indies, Final, London

Two times World Cup champions vs a minnow who hardly had any success in those early days of one day cricket. The result of such a contest should be a win for the team with two World Cups who were also the defending champions. But a group of young Indians known as ‘Kapil’s Devils’ wrote their names in the annals of history and changed the game in India and worldwide.

In the first two World Cups, India won only one match, which was against a non-test playing nation. Some pre-World Cup success gave them some hope for a better showing but no one considered them for a World Cup final spot. But the destiny had something else in store. India qualified over the much-fancied Australia from the group stage and beat the hosts England in the semifinal.

The battle was the toughest in the final against a set of world beaters from West Indies. And when India could score only 183 runs no one even gave them slightest of chance to lift the trophy. Krishnamachari Srikkanth was the top scorer for India with 38 as Sandip Patil and Mohinder Amarnath contributed 27 and 26 runs in the middle order respectively.

Balwinder Singh Sandhu got a wicket of Gordon Greenidge early with a late outswinger. Viv Richards came and started to score runs at a quick pace and threatened to take the match away from the Indians. But an inspired catch by Kapil Dev sent the great man back. Indian all-rounder trio Amarnath, Roger Binny, and Madanlal kept bowling tight and picking up wickets at regular intervals. Finally, West Indies were all out for 140. India won the final by 43 runs and cricket was never the same again.

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Author: Shreyasi Talukdar

A PR person who is chasing her passion for cricket through writing.

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