Bharat Express

Reliance Cup 1987 : Australian Dominance Begins

N.K.P. Salve’s  dream turned true when India and Pakistan successfully staged the fourth world cup.

Australian dominance begins

Australian dominance begins

For the first time the Cricket World Cup moved out of England and N.K.P. Salve’s  dream turned true when India and Pakistan successfully staged the fourth world cup. The only change was that each side were to play 50 overs instead of 60.

The eight participating nations were split into two pools. Pool A consisted of India, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe whereas Pool B comprised of Pakistan, West Indies, England and Sri Lanka. The opening matches produced some close finishes with Australia producing a surprise by pipping the defending champions and favourites India by 1 run at Madras (now Chennai) while New Zealand beating Zimbabwe by 3 runs courtesy a fine 142(137) by David Houghton and a gutsy 54(70) by Ian Butchart. Chasing 243 Zimbabwe was reeling at 7/104 and the match appeared for an early finish but a fine partnership of 117 between the two gave New Zealand a run for their money at Hyderabad, India. This was undoubtedly the match of the tournament. Late Martin Crowe produced a stunning catch to get rid of dangerous looking David Houghton.

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The group stages also witnessed a fine sporting display by West Indian Courtney Walsh who instead of running Pakistan number 11 batter Salim Jaffer out (as he was well short of his crease while Walsh was about to bowl his delivery) cautioned Jaffer and sacrificed the match and the championship in the process as that loss against Pakistan ousted the three time finalists. The first hat-trick of the world cup was recorded when Chetan Sharma of India castled Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield of New Zealand. That match also witnessed the first and only ODI century of Sunil Gavaskar.

Now off to the semi-finals when Pakistan played Australia at Lahore and India took on England at Bombay (now Mumbai). It was expected the two favourites and hosts India will be playing Pakistan in the Grand Finale at Eden Gardens, Calcutta. But that was not to be as both were stunned in their semi final clashes resulting in Australia playing England in the finals. Chasing 268 and 255 respectively to win and make it to the finals both Pakistan and Indian batting collapsed in front of their home crowds.

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So it was Australia vs England in the Grand Finale in Calcutta. Opting to bat Australia piled up 5/253 in their allotted 50 overs with a fine knock of 75(125) by David Boon, 31(31) by skipper Allan Border and 45 not out (31) by Michael Valletta. Chasing 254, England off to a worst start with opener Tim Robinson dismissed for a first ball duck of Craig McDermott. Graham Gooch 35(57), Charles Athey 58(103) and skipper Mike Gatting 41(45) steadied the innings before a reverse sweep cost Gatting his wicket. Late onslaught by Allan Lamb 45(45) brought England close to the target and they fell short by 7 runs . Australia thus were crowned World Champions and this blew the bugle for their domination into the world cricket.