11 Man of the Match performances in 11 World Cup Finals
- MS Dhoni played an unbeaten inning of 91 runs in 2011 World Cup final.
Representing the country in a World Cup brings the best out of a team. Teams specifically plan their combinations and work out strategies to compete against the best.
The tournament is eagerly awaited with stadiums being renovated, administrators working out the logistics and broadcasters running advertisement campaigns. The excitement around a World Cup tournament is palpable, and once the fixtures are released, it makes it more interesting.
Players are not left too far behind. They train hard, manage their diet and keep themselves in good shape. They do enough mental conditioning to handle the pressure of expectations. They tune their minds akin to the roles they have been assigned to.
Players realize that if they are successful in churning up performances at the world stage, they can carve a legacy for themselves. After all, just a handful of players have World Cup winners' medal and even greats like Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Brian Lara could never achieve it in their near-perfect careers.
Let us look into 11 man of the match winning performances in World Cup finals over the decades.
#1 Clive Lloyd - 102 and 1/38 versus Australia - 1975 World Cup Final
West Indies in the 1970's were a force to reckon with. In terms of team combination, they had the perfect set of 11 players who were led by the tall and burly Clive Lloyd. When Lloyd won the toss, he wanted to bat first against a very strong Australian unit led by the fiery and outspoken Ian Chappel.
Australia had fearsome quicks with Dennis Lillie and Jeff Thompson leading the pack. They removed openers Roy Fredericks and Gordon Greenidge in quick succession and reduced West Indies to a precarious 50 for 3.
In walked Clive Lloyd- the captain. The southpaw took the attack to the opposition. He partnered with the ever consistent Rohan Kanhai and the duo added 149 runs for the fourth wicket.
Lloyd bludgeoned the Aussie bowling with powerful pulls and fierce square cuts. This changed the momentum and Australia started to leak runs. Lloyd scored 102 runs from 85 balls; the first ever century in a World Cup final. The inning was studded with 12 fours and 2 sixes. After his dismissal, Australia pulled back things but West Indies still managed a final score of 291.
Although 291 was a massive target in those days, Australia put up a brave fight and fell short by 17 runs. For his all-round performance, Lloyd was awarded the first ever Man of the Match award in a World Cup final.