79 days to go: When a dropped catch by Clive Lloyd helped Windies defend World Cup

Once Graham Gooch was cleaned up by Joel Garner, England suffered one of the worst collapses in World Cup history

Published: 12th March 2019 06:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:32 PM   |  A+A-

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When Liverpool were dominating the European football circuit, Clive Lloyd's boys were acing it on the cricket pitch. Liverpool won six league titles, three league cups and three European cups between 1975-1983, a feat never seen before in English soccer earlier. At the same time, the West Indies reigned supreme on the cricket field. 

Winning the World Cup once was a great achievement, but defending it successfully speaks
volumes for their dominance. In 1979, the champions started their campaign by destroying India by nine wickets. Clive Lloyd won the toss and put India in to bat, unleashing his pace attack led by Michael Holding who grabbed four wickets as India were bowled out for 190. 

Gundappa Vishwanath was the only significant contributor for India with a knock of 75. In reply,
Gordon Greenidge slammed a century and finished off the game with Viv Richards to complete a perfect start to their title defence.

The game against minnows Sri Lanka at the Oval was washed out. Next up were the Kiwis who had stars like Richard Hadlee, John Wright and Glenn Turner. New Zealand won the toss and elected to field first, giving Greenidge another opportunity to go after the bowling. And the Windies opener did not disappoint as he scored 65 after Desmond Haynes and Viv Richards fell cheaply. 

Then came a captain's knock from Clive Lloyd who scored an 80-ball 73 to guide West Indies to a decent 244/7. In reply, New Zealand could manage only 212/9 with the Windies attack not allowing easy runs. Andy Roberts starred with a three-wicket haul while Holding had an economy rate of 2.41 from his 12 overs.


The victory helped the Windies top Group B and face Asif Iqbal-led Pakistan in the semi-finals. West Indies were put into bat by the only side from the sub-continent which reached the last four and Greenidge was at it again. He scored 73 off 107 as Windies dominated from the start with the openers forging a 132-run partnership. Viv Richards and the middle order contributed well as the Windies piled up 293/6. Iqbal picked up four wickets for Pakistan.

The chase started badly for Pakistan as they lost opener Sadiq Mohammad to Holding for two. But then came a big partnership between Majid Khan and Zaheer Abbas who put on 166 for the second wicket, with the duo scoring 81 and 93 respectively. It gave Pakistan some hopes of doing the impossible.

However, once Colin Croft got the breakthrough with the wicket of Zaheer Abbas, Pakistan lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for 250. Croft and Viv Richards were the chief destroyers with the ball for the Windies, picking up three wickets apiece.


And just like that, West Indies were in the World Cup finals again at Lord's, this time against the hosts. England skipper Mike Brearley won the toss and asked the Caribbeans to bat first.

West Indies were in trouble at 99/4 having lost Greenidge, Haynes, Alvin Kallicharan and Lloyd cheaply. Collis King then joined Viv Richards in the middle and built a partnership that changed the course of the game.

ALSO READ: 86 days to go: King wins the crown for West Indies in 1979

Against the advice of Richards, King went about attacking the English bowlers, which included the likes of Ian Botham and Mike Hendrick, slamming 86 off 66 balls including 10 boundaries and three sixes. Viv, on the other hand, was patient in his unbeaten knock of 138 as West Indies managed to score 286/9. The Windies tail was not able to handle the English attack, with the last four men all falling for ducks.

Chasing a target of 287 from 60 overs, the Englishmen looked to have started well as Brearley and Boycott put on 129 for the first wicket. But en route, they had consumed 38 overs with England needing 158 off 22 overs which is a difficult target to chase even today in one-dayers. Graham Gooch scored a quickfire 32 as England reached 183/2.

But once he was cleaned up by Joel Garner, England suffered one of the worst collapses in World Cup history. They were bowled out for 194, handing the Windies a 92-run victory.

Like their Windies counterparts, England's tail also struggled, with five batsmen failing to score. Many believe that Lloyd dropping Boycott early on in the innings helped the Windies as the English opener took 130 deliveries for his 64-run innings.

West Indies were champions of the world again and Viv Richards took home the Man of the Match award ahead of King and Garner who grabbed five wickets. They were odds-on favourites to complete a hat-trick four years later but Kapil's Devils played spoilsport


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