World Cup 1979: The second edition of the world cup (Formerly known as the Prudential Cup’79) was held in 1979, where England played hosts yet another time. The tournament began on June 9th and went on till 23 June. The format remained the same as that of the inaugural one. 8 countries had taken part, divided into 2 groups of 4 teams each. Among the countries featured in this edition, Sri Lanka and Canada were the only 2 teams who had not attained a Test-team status yet.
LEAGUE STAGE (WORLD CUP 1979)
Back in the day, the matches were 60-overs long where all the teams sported a white jersey and the matches were only played in day-light. The opening day of the league stage had 4 matches, being played at different venues. This also meant that all the participating teams locked horns on the opening day. At the end of the day, 4 teams were able to open their winning account. England, Pakistan, West Indies & New Zealand registered their victories against Australia, Canada, India & Sri Lanka respectively. The four teams then went on to qualify for the semis.
SEMIFINALS (WORLD CUP 1979)
New Zealand vs England: The semi-finals were as thrilling as they could get. The first semi-final between England and New Zealand was an absolute cracker of a match. The Kiwis won the toss and chose to field first. England had a disappointing start to their innings by losing two wickets at 38 runs. However, it was Mike Brearley (53) and Graham Gooch’s (71) valiant efforts that brought them back to the game. At the end of the innings, England managed to score 221/8. New Zealand got off to a brilliant start with John Wright scoring 69 from 137 balls. However, the mid-order faltered and the team couldn’t recover. The Kiwis lost by a margin of 14 runs.
West Indies vs Pakistan: The second semi-final saw West Indies and Pakistan clashing against each other. The defending champions got off to a blistering start with Gordon Greenidge scoring 73 from 107 balls, and Desmond Haynes with 65 runs from 115 balls. They managed to put up an opening partnership of 132 runs. Following that, a cameo from Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd helped Windies set up a target of 294 for the Men in Green. While Windies set a strong opening partnership, Pakistan replied back by putting up a 166-run stand for the second wicket partnership.
Majid Khan and Zaheer Abbas took the onus upon themselves by scoring 81 & 93 respectively. However, after they departed, none of the other Pakistani batsmen could stand the lethal bowling attack of the Caribbeans. West Indies bowled out Pakistan for 250 and cleared the route for themselves to enter the finals of the tournament consecutively.
VIV RICHARDS DISPLAYED HIS CLASS
the big day finally arrived on 23 June 1979, where the two finalists, England and West Indies were set to take guard one last time in a bid to win the title. It was a battle between the hosts and the defending champions. It was a game of equals as both the teams have defeated strong teams and had reached the finals.
England won the toss and decided to field first. A strong Windies line-up looked defiant and ready, to take on the English bowlers. However, contrary to the expectations, Windies got off to a disappointing start, losing their top-order to a meagre score. They were 99/4 after losing Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Alvin Kallicharran, and even captain Clive Lloyd. But then, it was the heroics of Vivian Richards & Collis King that resurrected the team.
Richards and King put up a brilliant 139 run-stand, becoming a misery for the English bowlers. Their partnership came to an end as King departed after scoring a magnificent 86 from 66 balls. Vivian Richards took the battle till the end and helped the team set a target of 287 to the hosts. He ended his innings with an unbeaten knock of 138 from 157 balls.
England, in response, had a confident yet slow start to their innings. The openers were able to score runs for the team, but it was rather coming at a slow pace with Mike Brearley scoring 64 from 130 balls and Geoff Boycott with 57 from 105 balls. They put together an opening wicket partnership of 129 runs in 38 overs. In a match, where the asking rate was close to 6 even before the start of the innings, this slow run-stand did more harm than good for England.
By this time, the required run-rate had gone up to 13.1 runs-per-over. Graham Gooch slogged in his knock of 32, in a bid to resurrect the team, but his efforts went in vain as the team collapsed at 194. England lost 8 wickets for a mere 11 runs, which is dubbed as the worst ever collapse in the history of ODI cricket.
WORLD TITLE NO.2 FOR THE WEST INDIES
It was the defending champions West Indies again, who lifted the trophy 2 time in a row. It seemed as if they were unstoppable at this stage and had established global domination in the world of cricket. Little did they know that it would be the unfancied India, who would act as an obstacle in their run to win Hat-trick of world cups, later in 1983.
FACTS FROM WORLD CUP 1979
West Indies scored the highest total of the tournament in the semi-finals of the tournament against Pakistan. They scored 293/6 in 60 overs. They scored 286/9 against the home team in the finals, eventually beating them by 92 runs. Sir Viv Richards remained unbeaten on 138.
Only 2 centuries were scored in World Cup 1979. Gordon Greenidge(106*) & Viv Richards(138*).
10 wickets were taken by Mike Hendrick of England. The highest in the tournament.
India played 3 matches in the tournament & lost all three.
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