17 days to World Cup: When Viv won it for Windies in 1975

It was supposed to be the battle between West Indies' star-studded batting line-up and Australia's brilliant bowling attack.

Published: 13th May 2019 07:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2019 07:32 PM   |  A+A-

Australia’s Alan Turner is run out by Viv Richards | Twitter

Online Desk

It was the final of the inaugural World Cup in England. While it might have initially been a mere afterthought, the quality of cricket remained unaffected throughout the tournament.

Sunil Gavaskar's inexplicable slow crawl might have kickstarted the tournament but it was an exhilarating affair that saw New Zealand's Glenn Turner score two centuries in four matches to finish with the most runs while Gary Gilmour finished as the leading wicket-taker despite only playing in the semi-final and the final.

After some tight contests and some one-sided ones, it all came down to West Indies and Australia at Lord's on the longest day of the year - June 21, 1975.

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It was supposed to be the battle between West Indies' star-studded batting line-up and Australia's brilliant bowling attack.

It was supposed to be the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Alvin Kallicharan, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards against the terrific trio of Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, and Gary Gilmour.

For a while, that was the case. Australia's pace trio got a wicket apiece to reduce West Indies to 50/3 before a 149-run partnership for the fourth wicket between captain Lloyd and Kanhai set things up nicely.

Just when it looked as though the game was going away from Australia, Gilmour got rid of both batsmen and dismissed Viv as well to leave them at 209/6. Some lower-order cameos helped Lloyd's side post 291/8.

It wasn't going to be easy but Australia's bowlers had done their bit for the most part. It was time for the Chappell brothers, Alan Turner, Doug Walters, and Rod Marsh to step up.

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After losing an early wicket, Australia's batsmen settled down. And it was in their hands but that was before Viv decided to take matters into his own hands and complete three run-outs to change the complexion of the game.

First was to break the dangerous second-wicket partnership and get rid of Turner. Then it was Greg followed by Ian Chappell. And just like that the game was wide open.

That was when Keith Boyce stepped up to produce his finest spell of the tournament as he finished with figures of 4/50. And despite the best efforts of Lillee and Thomson, Australia could only reduce the quantum of loss.

17 runs. That was the difference between the two sides. The difference between West Indies kickstarting a revolution in cricket. 

That remained the smallest margin of victory in a World Cup final until 1987 where another tight game sowed the seeds for another revolution in the game.

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