HomeCricketWorld Cup Flashback: 1975 Final

World Cup Flashback: 1975 Final

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The first-ever World Cup final was the clash between the Titans. The two strongest teams of the tournament West Indies and Australia had the final face-off on June 21, 1975. The tournament was called the Prudential Cup and those were the initial days of one day cricket.

The Show Begins

In Group A, there were England, New Zealand, India, and East Africa. England won all the matches and East Africa lost all three. New Zealand won the match against India which was a decider and qualified along with England from the Group A in the semi-final stage.
In the case of Group B two favorites qualified for the top four as expected. From this group, it was West Indies who stole the show. They won all three matches and that too with absolute dominance. Their road to final especially their group match against the Aussies gave a hint of what coming next.
In the first semi-final, Australia took control from the beginning and defeated England to seal the place the final. The second one saw a spirited West India coming back strong in the match after the initial blow. And then it was another saga of supremacy. West Indies won the match.

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The World Cup Finale

Finally, the stage was set for the first Cricket World Cup final at the Home of Cricket. It was the longest day of the year that was ready for the finest cricket battle of the year.

Ian Chappell won the toss and sent West Indies to bat first. West Indies had a poor start. Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, and Alvin Kalicharan were back to the pavilion soon. With 50/3 onboard, the West Indies captain Sir Clive Lloyd walked in. And then began another saga of coming back to the track.
Lloyd led from the front, played a gutsy 85-ball 102 runs with 12 fours and two maximums, and took the charge of building the innings. In the World Cup final, he was well supported by Rohan Kanhai for a partnership of 149 runs. Kanhai played the exact opposite role to Lloyd in the venture. He scored 55 runs off 105 balls. In the later part of the innings, Keith Boyce and Bernard Julien contributed 34 and 26 runs respectively. The final total for West Indies to defend was 291 for the loss of eight wickets. The journey from 50/3 to 291/8 once again proved why they were the best in that lot.
On the other hand, Gary Gilmour took from exactly where he finished in the semi-final. He ran through the Windies middle order. His scalps included set batters like Lloyd, Kanhai, and Viv Richards to end with five for 48 in his 12 overs.

For the opponents, it was a difficult task to chase down. To begin with, Australians were cautious and able to reach 81 runs for the loss of one wicket. Then Viv Richards began a series of run-outs. His victims were the opener Allan Turner and the Chappell Brothers. In the case of Turner and Greg, two direct throws sent them back to the pavilion.  Then with the score on 162/3, Ian Chappell tried to steal a run but failed only to become Viv’s third victim.  After that, almost a procession of Australians going back. The Aussies started losing wickets at regular intervals.  Max Walker, the fourth person to become the fourth run-out victim by the Windies. 59 runs were needed to win with one wicket in hand for Australia. The number ten and eleven batsmen from Australia team Denis Lillee and Jeff Thomson were at the crease with zero chance.

The Climax

The duo took time to settle down and started to accumulate runs. The target was reduced to 24 runs off 11 balls, which was very much achievable.  Thomson was caught by Fredericks and the West Indies fans were all over the ground in no time. They were elated. They were crazy and failed to realize that it was a no-ball.
The drama ended and the match was resumed. But it could last for three more balls only as Thomson was actually dismissed by Murray and West Indies won the match by 17 runs. Finally, the crowd got a chance for a real celebration.  West Indies skipper expectedly was rewarded with the Man-of-the-Match award.
Australia was shattered. Their comeback to the game was prolific but the way it ended it was saddening. Probably the chaos followed by the no-ball broke Thomson’s concentration. But the drama added spice to the already tricky game.
The first World Cup final certainly couldn’t get any better!

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