We are just a couple of weeks away from the start of the mega cricketing event in the UK. World cups over the years have been the stage for big performers and big performances. Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Yuvraj, Arvind De Silva, Inzaman ul Haq, Klusener have used this platform to take their glory many notches higher. However, their eye catching performances, unfortunately, have eclipsed the performances of some other brilliant cricketers in those World cups. I wanted to use this space to sing my praise of those less sung performances.
1975 World Cup
The well-advertised performance of the 1975 World cup finals is that of Viv Richards’s run-outs and his effort on the field. Viv grew into such a talisman cricketer after this World cup that folks spoke more and more about his efforts in the finals overshadowing other brilliant performances.
Lloyd’s blistering hundred & Gilmour’s fifers
If you ever built an all-time ODI cricket team, you would have Sachin, Sanath, Richards, Kohli, and Ponting/Aravinda in the top 5. If this team ever needed someone at No.6 and required that person to score even faster than the top 5, then there is only one man who can fit in. That man is Clive Lloyd. The blistering hundred, 102 of 85 balls, Lloyd scored in the 1975 final, when teams could put every fielder on the boundary, is an effort that has got eclipsed over the years. Rohan Kanhai’s 55 in Lloyd’s support is another performance that is forgotten. This was Kanhai’s farewell game as well. What a way to go!!
Gary Gilmour was a left arm medium pacer who happened to play for Australia, when their fast bowling unit was dominated by Lillee and Thommo. Gilmour took a sixfer in the semifinals against England and a fifer against West Indies in the finals. Yet, his performances have not got the credit they are due.
1979 World Cup
Collis King’s blistering 86 & Garner’s fifer
If I think of World cup 1979 finals, what comes immediately to my mind is that outrageous shot that Richards played off Bob Willis. Richards would move outside the off stump, face the bowler chest on and hit Willis’s attempted Yorker into the crowd at deep square leg. All off this in one fluid motion without losing his balance!! Such was the man’s batsman-ship, you could never forget those scenes!! However, if there was a batting display in that same innings that left the master blaster himself awe-inspired, it was that of Collis King!
Just like they did in the 1975 finals, WI got off to a bad start against England. This time in the place of Lloyd & Kanhai, it was King and ‘The King’ who took WI to a big score. Collis King scored 86 of 66 balls to take the life out of the English bowlers. Viv scored the big hundred, however off a rather sedate scoring rate by his lofty standards (138 off 157 balls). Despite playing an innings at hitherto unheard of strike rate, that too in a World cup final, Collis King’s innings rarely got its due.
When Mike Brearly top scores a ODI batting card and the most productive partnership of the innings features Boycott, it does not take a genius to guess the end result. However, what cemented the English fate on that day, were those Yorkers delivered from the ‘clouds’ by the Big Bird. Garner’s fifer with four bowled is another performance that got overshadowed by the master blaster’s performance.
1983 World Cup
Kris Srikanth and Mohinder Amarnath’s back foot brilliance
Clips of 1983 World cup final have been played over and over again in India. Kapil’s running catch, Sandhu’s miraculous in-cutter, and Amarnath’s last wicket have been shown on TV over and over again. However, India’s batting effort, albeit a paltry 183, got overshadowed by what happened in the second half of the match. The fifty run partnership between Srikanth and Amarnath had some fantastic batting against fast bowling of the highest quality and form. Srikanth playing a nasty rising delivery from Garner with soft hands and later square driving a similar delivery from him for a boundary will remain top shots. However, the best of the lot was the hook that Jimmy Amarnath played off Marshall to the deep square leg boundary. Go watch it on YouTube! Hook shots don’t come any better, that too off Marshall’s legendary vicious bouncers.
1987 World cup
Mike Veletta’s 45 & 48 and Steve Waugh’s little gems
Australia’s unexpected win in the 1987 World cup is largely remembered for brilliant performances of Boon, Marsh and McDermott. However, there were some vital performances that got overshadowed in this World cup.
Mike Veletta scored an important 45 runs of 31 deliveries in the lower middle order to help Australia pose a big target to the in-form English team in the finals. The fact that Australia won the final match by just 7 runs, enhances the value of this innings. We rarely hear people sing his praise for this cup winning innings. Additionally, Veletta scored an important 48 to help the Aussies put up a big score in the Semifinals as well.
We all know of Sachin’s last over against SA in the Hero cup. Do you know that Steve Waugh did such a job for the Aussies in the 1987 World cup? Steve won two group matches, one against India and the other against NZ, bowling the last over!! Not only that, he played a cameo (32 off 28) against Pakistan in the Semi-finals, scoring 16 runs of the last over. Again in the finals, he got Allan Lamb out at a crucial stage.
1992 World cup
Javed Miandad’s sheet anchor in do or die games, Moin’s cameo in the Semi Finals
Javed Miandad is not one to stay away from the limelight. His performances for Pakistan have been glorified on many occasions. But, his stellar role in Pakistan’s 1992 World Cup campaign hasn’t got its due. We all remember Akram’s magic in the finals and Inzamam’s batting in the Semi-Finals.
However, Javed played the sheet anchor role for the team and scored important 40s and 50s in the do-or-die matches against Australia in the round robin, NZ in the semis and again in the Finals against England. His unbeaten match winning 57 in the semi-finals was overshadowed by Inzamam’s brilliant 60!
Another performance that got overshadowed by Inzi in that same match was that of Moin Khan. The game was still open, when Inzamam got out. Moin Khan, alongside Javed, played a match finishing 20 run cameo to shape the win in this match.
Special mention – Roy’s hook in the 1975 finals
One has seen batsmen get run-out after scoring one or two runs in the same ball. How many times have we seen someone hit a six and then get out of the same delivery? This happened in the finals. Roy took on Lillee’s bouncer, hit it out of the park and fell on his stumps. I remember watching this clip many years later and this scene stayed in my memory. I had to mention this.
In part 2 of this article, I will cover the less sung performances in the World Cups starting from 1996 until 2015.
For details of the above matches, please visit Cricinfo