1979: Double delight for West Indies at Cup

first_imgThe second edition of the World Cup has a distinctly different feel as compared to the previous one. And it was due to a development that would, in due course, change the way cricket is played, perceived and financed.West Indies continued their dominance but world cricket was still recovering from the churning that had preceded the tournament due to one man – Australian tycoon Kerry Packer.West Indies captain Clive Lloyd holds up the trophy at Lord’sAfter Packer failed to bag the exclusive rights for cricket in Australia, he set up the World Series Cricket in protest for his network, Channel Nine, in 1977.He signed top Australian, English, Pakistani and West Indian players, including England skipper Tony Greig, West Indies captain Clive Lloyd, Greg and Ian Chappell and fast bowlers like Dennis Lillee, Michael Holding and Imran Khan.Meagre salaries of international players forced them to take the Packer offer. But in the aftermath of the apparent revolt, those Australian players who were part of the series were not considered for the 1979 World Cup in England and thus the Aussies fielded a much weaker side, led by Kim Hughes.West Indies retained all their players and gave the reins of the side to 1975 winning captain Clive Lloyd.Eight teams participated, with Sri Lanka and Canada as the two non-Test playing nations.Still sporting whites in the 60-over format, the teams were divided in two groups. The West Indies, Pakistan, England and New Zealand qualified for the semi- finals. Australia were duly thrashed in the group stages, losing three out of the four matches in the group stage, winning only against Canada.advertisementIn the semis, England and New Zealand played out a humdinger of a match. The Kiwis won the toss and reduced the hosts to 98 for four. But Graham Gooch and Mike Brearley hit half- centuries to take the score to a competitive 221 for eight. John Wright tried to keep his team in the hunt with 69 but fell short by nine runs.In the second semi-final, the batsmen called the shots. Though West Indies won by 43 runs Pakistan gave them a run for their money. The defending champions racked up 293, thanks to an opening partnership of 132 by Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge. In reply, the prolific Zaheer Abbas (93) and Majid Khan (81) added 166 runs for the second wicket but the West Indians kept pegging away, led by Colin Croft who picked three for 29. In the end, Pakistan fell short by 43 runs.Thus the best two teams of the tournament faced off in the final. Clive Lloyd’s team was asked to bat first and was in a spot of bother at 99 for four. But that was all that went the Englishmen’s way. It was the time for some Viv Richards magic as he smashed 138 off 157 balls and remained not out as the defending champions scored 286. The hosts were never in the chase despite a century opening stand as Joel Garner completed the formalities with five for 38 to seal a 92- run win. Lloyd said the win even sweeter than the previous edition, as it had come after the tumultuous Packer series and the ensuing confrontations.Indian angleIt was a disastrous tournament for India. Losing all three group matches, including a humiliating 47-run loss to Sri Lanka. It was preceded by comprehensive losses against West Indies – nine wickets – and New Zealand – eight wickets. India failed to breach the 200- run mark with Gundappa Vishwanath’s 75 against the eventual winners being the best Indian effort. The last defeat against Sri Lanka was played over three days as the first day had a late start. It rained heavily the next day and India began the chase on the third day, falling to the leg- spin of Somachandra de Silva.Highlights of 1979 The fifth game of the 1979 World Cup between West Indies and Sri Lanka at The Oval was abandoned due to rain without a ball being bowled.It was moved to the reserve day, but it rained again. The match was rescheduled for the next day and had to be abandoned too. This was first match which was abandoned for three consecutive days due to rain and is the only such instance in World Cup matches and One- Day Internationals.Sri Lanka beat India in the group stage by 47 runs which helped them gain Test status in a few years.last_img