World Cup 1987: After India’s triumph at the 1983 world cup, it was time for them to defend the title, 5 years later. It was the year 1987 which hosted the 4th edition of the world cup, known as the Reliance Cup 1987. The event was held slightly later than usual, as it commenced from October 8th and went on till November 8th. This was also the first time that the tournament had shifted to a different venue, as India & Pakistan jointly hosted the event.
The rules were almost similar to the existing ones, except for the reduction in the number of overs from 60 to 50. Just like the previous events, 8 teams were divided into 2 groups and the top two teams qualified for the semi-finals. By then, ICC made it official that all 7 test-playing nations would get a direct entry into the world cup and one place would be awarded to the team which had won the 1986 ICC Trophy. With this, Zimbabwe became the 8th team to feature in the 4th edition of the world cup.
GROUPS FOR WORLD CUP 1987
The league stage kicked off on 8th October, with the opening game between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Pakistan won this game by 15 runs. The next match saw India taking on Australia in a nail-biting match, with the Aussies winning the game by 1 run, with just 1 ball to spare. At the end of the league stage, 4 teams had qualified for the semis which included the hosts, India & Pakistan along with England and Australia. West Indies were ousted from the tournament in the league stages itself. This was a big blow to their fans, who were hoping to see them victorious again.
Semi-Final 1: Australia vs Pakistan
The first semi-final was played between Australia and Pakistan, in Lahore. Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. The Aussies got off to a good start after a brilliant knock from David Boon scoring 65 off 91 balls. He along with DM Jones put up a strong 82-run second wicket partnership. Australia looked solid at that point and were hoping to cross the 300-run mark. But Imran Khan put a dent to their hopes, with an outstanding spell of 3/17.
At the end of the innings, Australia scored 267/6. Pakistan failed to give a good start to their team, losing 3 early wickets for 38 runs. It was again Imran Khan who came to the rescue by scoring 58 runs along with Javed Miandad who scored 70 from 103 balls. However, as Javed Miandad walked back to the pavilion, the asking rate was touching over 7.87 and the lower-order batsmen couldn’t deliver it for the team. Pakistan were bowled out for 249 and Australia became the first team to qualify for this edition of the world cup.
Semi-Final 2: India vs England
India and England faced each other in the second semi-final, held in Bombay (Now known as Mumbai). While India a sense of confidence prevailed in the Indian dressing room, it was time for vengeance for England, for their loss in the 1983 World cup semis. India won the toss and chose to bowl first. Though India picked up early wickets, Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting revived the team with brilliant knocks of 115 and 56 respectively.
England end their innings with 254 runs on the board. In response, India had a disappointing start with 3/73, until Mohd Azharuddin brought them back to the game with his knock of 64 runs. After losing Azharuddin, India were searching for runs, as the middle order failed miserably by losing 5 wickets to just 15 runs. The defending champions, India were eventually bowled out for 219 runs, and England confirmed their berth in the finals of the World cup.
FINALS OF THE WORLD CUP 1987
Australia vs England
It was the big final of the 1987 world cup and the arch-rivals Australia and England were all set to face each other for the first time in a world cup final. Australia won the toss and chose to bat first. The Aussies started off on a good note, with David Boon performing yet again for them with 75 runs off 125 balls. The middle-order batsmen equally added their contributions to take their team total to 253 at the end of the innings. In response, the English had one of the most disappointing starts ever.
Opener Tim Robinson was out on the very first ball. However, the team did pick up from there with contributions coming in from Bill Athey (58 off 103 balls) and Mike Gatting (41 off 45 balls). Though the batsmen were trying their best to score, the asking rate kept increasing and the pressure kept mounting on England. At the end, England had a daunting target of scoring 17 runs off 6 balls. Australia held their nerve and bowled in the right areas, with hardly any margin for error. England failing to score off the last over, paving way for the Aussies to lift their first ever World Cup title.
This was certainly the beginning of an undisputed legacy which the Aussies were scripting to. It was just a decade later in 1996 that Australia had reclaimed the glory and went on to win Over the next 3 decades, they had still maintained their world dominance by winning the trophy 4 times, making their tally to five. This is also the highest world cup final wins for any team till date and they still continue to be one of the toughest teams to ever play with.
FACTS FROM THE WORLD CUP 1987
Graham Gooch(471), David Boon(447) & Geoff Marsh(428) were the highest run-getters in World Cup 1987. The runners-up of the 1975 & 1979 World Cup played the 1987 finals.
Viv Richards scored 181 against Sri Lanka in Karachi. The highest, then in World Cup cricket.
Craig McDermott was the pick of the bowlers. The pacer picked 18 wickets which also featured the best bowling figures in an innings – 5/44. Imran Khan was the next best with 17 wickets. The tournament featured nine 4-wicket hauls.
Chetan Sharma bagged the 1st hattrick ever at the World Cup. Against New Zealand at Nagpur.
The top three team totals came against Sri Lanka in the World Cup 1987. West Indies scoring the highest – 360/4 in 50 overs.
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