English weather can’t keep the Caribs down, Prudential World Cup 1979

By ScoreLine Desk - April 21, 2019

In 1975, the World Cup had been played in a flaming English June, but four years later June was not quite so kind, though only one match was totally washed out. However, the Prudential Assurance Company upped their sponsorship to £250,000 and, because of increased prizes the receipts for matches were nearly double of those in 1975 though the spectator numbers dropped by 28,000. The format was the same as for the first World Cup and there was only one team change; Canada replacing East Africa. Each side was allowed 60 overs, but the umpires were now instructed to deal more harshly with wide balls and bouncers.

Brilliant sunshine greeted the semi-finals. There was a very exciting game at Old Trafford. New Zealand put England in and, though both Mike Brearley and Graham Gooch made fifties, Richard Hadlee caused all the early batsmen problems. Derek Randall came in at number 7 to make the tail wag and push the total over 200. With John Wright batting well, New Zealand kept in touch with the target and required 14 from the final over-they couldn’t manage it, England winning by nine runs.

In the other semi, Gordon Greenidge (73 from 107 balls, 5 fours, 1 six) and Desmond Haynes (65 from 115 balls, 4 fours) set a first wicket partnership of 132 runs in a match dominated by batting. Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd also contributed solidly, as West Indies ran up 293 (6 wickets, 60 overs) against Pakistan.

Majid Khan (81 from 124 balls, 7 fours) and Zaheer Abbas (93 from 122 balls) shared a second-wicket partnership of 166 runs in 36 overs in the response. However, none of the other Pakistani batsmen flourished, with Javed Miandad being bowled for a duck first ball, and Pakistan lost 9/74, beginning with the dismissal of Abbas.

Pakistan was bowled out for 250 in 56.2 overs in the high-scoring semi-final, sending the West Indies to the final.

England won the toss and chose to field first. The West Indies got off to a bad start, falling to 99/4 with the loss of Greenidge, Haynes, Kallicharan, and captain Clive Lloyd. However, Vivian Richards (138 from 157 balls, 11 fours, 3 sixes) and Collis King (86 from 66 balls, 10 fours, 3 sixes) consolidated the innings. King especially ripped through the English bowling, with a strike rate of 130.3. The West Indies were already at 238/5 when the 139 run partnership ended with the loss of Collis King. Vivian Richards and the tail then took the West Indies to a very imposing total of 286 (9 wickets, 60 overs).

The English batsmen got off to a good start. But the openers, Mike Brearley (64 from 130 balls, 7 fours) and Geoff Boycott (57 from 105 balls, 3 fours) scored very slowly. They put together a very methodical opening partnership of 129 runs in 38 overs, playing as if the match were a five-day Test. By the time both batsmen were out, the required run rate had risen too high. Graham Gooch played some hefty strokes in scoring his 32, taking England to 183/2. However, the loss of Gooch triggered the most devastating collapse in World Cup history, as England lost 8/11. They were eventually all out for 194 in 51 overs. Vivian Richards was declared Man of the Match.

By ScoreLine Desk

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