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SK Flashback: Greatbatch and Crowe sparkle against the once-mighty West Indies at the 1992 World Cup

ANALYST
Feature
187   //    09 May 2019, 12:08 IST

Martin Crowe
Martin Crowe

In many ways, Martin Crowe and Mark Greatbatch stole the show at the 1992 World Cup. Pitted against the once-mighty West Indies, who were now showing signs of decline, the two combined once again to take their side to a very popular victory.

It was truly an awesome display of batting and it showed just how much the balance of power had shifted in world cricket.

Crowe won the toss and put the West Indies in. Once again off-spinner Dipak Patel opened the bowling and put the brakes on immediately, as the bemused West Indians found him impossible to get away.

The young colt Brian Lara batted with a flourish but the former champions could muster no more than 203 for seven in 50 overs.

Considering the fine form of the home team, it was a modest target. The New Zealanders had won all their four matches up to that point, including the stunning defeat of the reigning champions Australia in the opening match at this very venue. 

Irrespective of the fact that the opposing attack was manned by a certain Curtly Ambrose and Malcolm Marshall, the burly, left-handed Greatbatch set about taking on the bowling in his now-familiar belligerent manner. His partner Rod Latham was often a mere bystander in an opening partnership of 67, and so was Andrew Jones, as Greatbatch lashed out at the hapless West Indians.

He blasted his way to a half-century which included 6 fours and 3 sixes - 42 runs off boundaries alone. The regularity with which he belted boundaries was simply amazing. In fact, his first 22 runs came off only boundaries: 4 fours and a six.

Greatbatch was eventually dismissed for 63 off just 77 deliveries, studded with 7 fours and 3 sixes. By then he had inflicted considerable damage.

The flurry of Greatbatch's boundaries reminded you of Sir Garfield Sobers' famous comment: "Lord Constantine said you should hit the ball in the air, because there are no fielders there to catch it, but you have to be sure to hit it over the boundary line. Everton Weekes said if you keep the ball on the ground, then nobody can catch you."

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Greatbatch took the advice of both. New Zealand were nearly half-way home by then.

Greatbatch's departure was a signal for Martin Crowe to slip into the driver's seat. And he was again in commanding form. Timing the ball to perfection, Crowe took the game away from the West Indies completely.

If Greatbatch was the blaster, Crowe was the master as he repeatedly caressed the ball to the boundary. He did most of the scoring in the second half of the innings, and neatly carved out 12 fours.

Crowe guided his team to victory with nine balls to spare, and his unbeaten 81 came off as many deliveries. It was a tremendous performance by the two New Zealand batsmen. They played a major hand in turning their side into surprise front-runners in this tournament as they notched up their fifth successive win.

In one-day cricket, you should always be prepared to expect the unexpected, but even by those standards the 1992 World Cup did not cease to amaze. The unfancied New Zealand team notched up a bewildering run of successes even as some of the giants fell by the wayside.

This was a day nobody will ever forget for the sheer dominance of Greatbatch and Crowe - and against formidable opposition. It also explained the golden run of the Kiwis.

West Indies 203 for 7 wickets (50 overs), New Zealand 206 for 5 wickets (48.3 overs) (CWC 1992)

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