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World Cup flashback Part 1- 1975-1979! When invincible West Indies were the ultimate nightmare for all opponents

Vikas Singh Derek | Updated on: Monday, June 03, 2019, 07:51 PM IST

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West Indies, by far and large, was the most powerful team in the first two editions of World Cup in 1975 and 1979. The dominance of West Indies in these two World Cup tournaments can be understood from the fact that the team did not lose even a single match on their way to clinch the trophy. In 1975, West Indies defeated Australia in the final by 17 runs. In 1979, the Caribbean side again bagged the trophy by defeating England in the final by 92 runs.

The difference in matches  

The first two editions of World Cup were quite different from the one played now. For example, the ODI matches consisted of 60 overs instead of 50. The teams used to adorn the white dress while playing with the red balls, the way Test matches are played now. The West Indies team, which is not a powerful team at present in ODIs, was the nightmare during that time for opponents.

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The dominant squad of West Indies

West Indies consisted of a squad which was almost unbeatable during that time. Along with skipper Clive Lloyd in the lead in 1975 WC, the West Indies squad consisted of 12 players, all of whom had the ability to bowl. The other 11 players were Keith Boyce, Roy Fredericks, Lance Gibbs, Gordon Greenidge, Vanburn Holder, Bernard Julien, Alvin Kallicharran, Rohan Kanhai, Deryck Murray (wk), Viv Richards, Andy Roberts.  Lloyd, Fredricks and Kallicharra were the only left-handed batsmen in the team while all the others were right handed.

1975 World Cup – The first champions West Indies

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England were the hosts of the first-ever World Cup which started on June 7 in 1975 and ended on June 21. England, New Zealand, India and East Africa were the group A teams while West Indies, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were the group B teams.

In group A, England and New Zealand topped the points table. England won all of its three matches while New Zealand lost only to England. India managed a win against East Africa by 10 wickets, but their defeats against England and New Zealand sent them out of the tournament.

In group B, West Indies were the dominant force like that of England, and won all of their matches against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The match against Pakistan was a close one with West Indians winning by only 1 wicket in the end while chasing 266.

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In the first semi-final, Australia defeat England by 4 wickets in a match which was both thrilling and low-scoring one. England could only score 93 batting first and Australia, after facing a batting fallout at 38-6, managed to win the match with Gary Gilmour crucial 28* score. Gilmour also took 6 wickets for 14 runs while bowling and was declared man of the match for his stellar all-round show.

The final was played Lord’s at London, and West Indies put up a mammoth 291/8 while batting first. Clive Lloyd scored 102 off 85 balls, justifying his responsibility as a captain. Gilmour took 5 wickets, repeating his blowing magic in the final as well.

While chasing 292, captain Ian Chappell (60) played a great knock but was not well supported by any other batsmen. Opener Alan Turner (40) and Doug Walters (35) made some contributions with the bat but it was not enough to take Australia on the par.  Australia could only score 274 with losing their all batsmen. West Indies, with the 100 per cent win record, remained unbeaten in the tournament and lifted the World Cup trophy for the first time.

1979 World Cup: Dominators defend the trophy   

In 1979 World Cup, the West Indian squad consisted of Clive Lloyd (c), Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Alvin Kallicharran, Collis King, Deryck Murray (wk), Viv Richards, Andy Roberts, Larry Gomes, Faoud Bacchus and Malcolm Marshall.

The World Cup was again conducted in England from 9 to 23 June 1979. England, India, Australia, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Canada were among the eight teams which participated in the tournament.  Among these, England, Pakistan, Australia and Canada were in group A while the rest of the teams, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India were in the group B.

In group A, England and Pakistan moved to the next round after England won all of its matches against others, and Pakistan managed a win against Australia and Canada, making its way to the semi-finals.

In group B, West Indies won both the matches against India and New Zealand, while its one match against Sri Lanka was washed out due to rain. India team could not manage a single win and lost all of their matches, ending at the bottom of group points table.

In the semi-finals, England faced New Zealand on one side while West Indies faced Pakistan on the other. The match between England and New Zealand was a close one with the former winning the match by 9 runs. The Kiwis side could not make14 off the final over.

The semi-final between West Indies and Pakistan was also a close till one moment, but West Indians drifted the way on their side later. Openers Greenidge and Haynes did most of the work for team by scoring 73 and 65 respectively. Richards, Llyod and King also contributed with the bat making 42, 37 and 34 respectively. At the end of 60 overs, West Indies put 293/6 on the scoreboard. Pakistan’s Asif Iqbal managed to take 4 wickets.

Chasing 294, something which can be called a tough chase during 70’s, Pakistan lost quick wickets in the form of opener Sadiq Mohammad. But later, 166 run-stand between Majid Khan (81) and Zaheer Abbas (93) was something which rose Pak’s hope of bagging the trophy. However, after Zaheer Abbas’ dismissal, a batting fallout for Pakistan turned the match in the favour of West Indies. Roberts took 2 wickets while Richards, Croft took 3 wickets each to halt Pakistan at 250 all out.

In the final against England, Vivian Richards did something which inscribed his name in the history of cricket. With 138 from 157 balls, Richards made the match one-sided affair as West Indies reached 286/9 in 60 overs.

In response, England started well with 129 opening stand, but great bowling by J Garner (5) and Croft (3) wickets restricted England to mere 194 runs. With the victory, West Indies clinched two back-to-back World Cup titles signalling to the World that they are invincible in game of cricket.

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Published on: Monday, May 27, 2019, 10:15 AM IST