1975: The Cup is born

first_imgIt was an altogether different world in which One-day cricket took its first baby steps. Not many teams took the format too seriously.West Indies captain Clive Lloyd holds the trophy after his team won the final in the 1975 Prudential World Cup as the then MCC president Prince Philip looks on.White clothing, red ball and prize money (4,000 for the winners), which was a tiny fraction of that at stake these days, bear testament to the fact that ODIs had not evolved fully as a separate format in itself. In fact, there were just 18 ODIs played worldwide before the first World Cup in 1975.Sixty overs an innings meant that most sides went with Test match field placements and innovative stroke-play, such an integral part of the game today, was rare.England, where limited overs cricket was an integral part of the domestic season, were supposed to cash in on the home advantage. Other powerhouses such as the West Indies, Australia and Pakistan were also fancied due to their all-star lineups, many of whom played on the county circuit.The men from the Caribbean, led by Clive Lloyd, who beat the Aussies by 17 runs in the inaugural final at Lord’s on June 21, the longest day of the year, stamped their superiority on the nascent format.The summit clash, till this day regarded as one of the most exciting ODIs ever played, made sure that One-day cricket and the World Cup was here to stay.There were altogether eight teams in the fray, with the six Test- playing nations joined by East Africa and Sri Lanka. They were divided into two groups with the top two advancing to the semi- finals. There were only 15 games in total, a far cry from these days when the tournament seems to go on and on.advertisementEngland and New Zealand advanced from Group A while Australia and West Indies made it from the other group. Both semi- finals were played on the same day – something which would be inconceivable now.There were few close games in the 1975 World Cup, but ironically, eventual champions West Indies needed a 64- run 10th wicket stand between Deryck Murray and Andy Roberts to seal a one- wicket win over Pakistan.Once there, the team from the Caribbean made short work of the Kiwis with a five- wicket win at The Oval to seal their place in the final.The other semi- final pitted traditional rivals England and Australia and Gary Gilmour did the star turn for Ian Chappell’s side on a seaming Headingley track to take six wickets for 14 as the hosts were bundled for 93.Even that seemed enough at one stage when the Aussies were reduced to 39 for six. It was left to Gilmour himself and Doug Walters to do the repair job and take the team home.The final will be remembered as much for Lloyd’s 102 off 85 balls after the West Indies had lost three quick wickets, as for Viv Richards effecting three of the five runouts, including those of the Chappell brothers.Chasing 292 for victory, Australia were reduced to 233 for nine before Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee gave them hope with a 41- run stand. The game ended when Thomson was run- out while taking a bye to wicketkeeper Murray in the penultimate over. As far as individual performances went, New Zealand’s Glenn Turner was the highest run- getter with 333 runs in four matches, including two hundreds. Gilmour was the most successful bowler with 11 wickets from just two games.The Indian angleThe abiding memory for India from the 1975 World Cup would be Sunil Gavaskar batting 60 overs to score 36 not out against England in the inaugural match.Chasing 335 for victory, Gavaskar took 174 balls himself which shows that at that point in his career, he did not pay too much regard to the upstart format.After a 202- run defeat, India coasted to a 10- wicket win over minnows East Africa. They needed to beat New Zealand to seal a semi- final spot, but Turner came up with a hundred as the Kiwis chased down 231.Highlights of 1975 CupEngland and New Zealand advanced from Group A while Australia and West Indies made it from the other group. Both semifinals were played on the same day.Named the Prudential Cricket World Cup, there was no Man of the Tournament for the event.The abiding memory for India would be Sunil Gavaskar batting 60 overs to score 36 not out against England in the inaugural match.Australia were chasing 292 runs in the final against the West Indies and fell short by 17 runs.advertisementlast_img

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