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88 days to go: The Prince announces his arrival at the MCG

In his maiden World Cup game, Brian Lara was the star of West Indies' 10-wicket win over Pakistan.

Published: 03rd March 2019 01:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:30 PM   |  A+A-

Brian Lara

That was the first of many memorable moments scripted by the Prince of Port of Spain | AFP

Online Desk

Well begun is half done and so it proved to be at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on February 23, 1992.

The stage was set for the birth of one of the modern day legends in the World Cup clash between West Indies and Pakistan.

Until then, it wasn't an ODI career that made you stand up and take notice. An average of 23.75 from 16 ODIs with a couple of fifties isn't a legendary start, now is it? But playing in his maiden World Cup encounter, he showed his complete repertoire of skills that would make him his country's all-time leading run-getter and the fourth-most prolific batsman in World Cup history.

After a rather bizarre innings from Pakistan that included a century from opener Rameez Raja, a fifty from captain Javed Miandad but saw them finish with just 220/2 in their 50 overs, West Indies needed 221 to win.

Against a bowling attack that included Wasim Akram and Aaqib Javed, the target wasn't a cake walk but it was barely competitive.

Enter Brian Charles Lara.

The one who would go onto be The Prince showcased his genius at the biggest stage of them all.

What about his 88* was special, you ask? What wasn't? Regal flicks through mid-wicket that would become a Lara trademark, CHECK. The nonchalant cover drive that had bowlers questioning whether to bowl full, CHECK. The high back-lift that would go onto define an era of elegance, CHECK.

Cut shots, pull shots, the waltz down the track before caressing the ball to the fence, CHECK, CHECK and CHECK.

Pakistan tried just about everything to get rid of Lara but as hard as they tried, they simply had no answer. The leg-trap didn't work as Lara just kept pulling the ball to the fence. Bowl too full and Lara simply dismissed that with utter disdain.

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In the end, an Akram yorker crashed into Lara's right boot. While it was given not out, it was the end of his 101-ball 88 as he was injured and had to go. But the damage was already done as the Windies were just 46 runs away from victory with more than 13 overs to go.

Richie Richardson and Desmond Haynes saw their side over the line with 3.1 overs to spare after Lara had registered what was at the time, his highest score in ODIs.

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After that game, while Lara's career went in one direction, West Indies' fortunes in the tournament went in the other. Despite being the first team to win by 10 wickets twice in the history of the World Cup, West Indies didn't even make it to the semi-finals in 1992 whereas Pakistan went on to claim their maiden World Cup under the leadership of Imran Khan.



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