Twice-champions West Indies had never lost a match in the World Cup. That added up to nine wins in ten matches, with one being washed out. India had won only one of their six matches – against non-descript East Africa eight years earlier – and had finished last in their group in the previous World Cup. The other known parameter was the wet Manchester weather and, true to form, early morning rain delayed the start.
Predictably, the West Indies had India in trouble. Sandeep Patil played some typically belligerent strokes but he perished to the gentle off-spin of Larry Gomes, as did Kapil Dev. At 141 for five it seemed like a familiar story. The gritty Yashpal Sharma batted with tremendous application, and in the company of Roger Binny put on 73 priceless runs for the sixth wicket. His 89 off 120 deliveries inclusive of 9 fours was perhaps the innings of his life. At 262 for eight in their 60 overs, India had a total good enough to stretch the champions.
A customary rousing start was but a mirage on this occasion. Both Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes fell on either side of the half-century mark. At stumps the score read 67 for two, with 22 overs already bowled.
When play resumed next morning, the asking-rate was well above five-an-over. With a keen tussle on, India were jubilant as the mighty Vivian Richards was taken behind by Syed Kirmani off Binny in the second over of the day. The West Indies were already on the back foot and their cause was not helped as wickets tumbled regularly in the run-chase. At 157 for nine, the West Indies found themselves in dire straits with 106 runs still required.
Andy Roberts and Joel Garner dug in and, as the score mounted, there were murmurs all around about the hair-raising last-wicket stand between Roberts and Deryck Murray eight years earlier, almost to the day, which clinched victory against Pakistan. Roberts and Garner raised 71 runs but the Indians kept their heads. Ravi Shastri enticed Garner out of the crease and Kirmani removed the bails. The West Indies fell short by 34 runs with almost six overs remaining.
India: 262 for 8 wickets (60 overs)
West Indies: 228 all out (54.1 overs)
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Follow his blogs https://singhiv.wordpress.com/ https://indravikramsingh.blogspot.com/
The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
Published in India by Sporting Links