This was a Battle Royale as the former champions West Indies took on the home team and hot favourites, Pakistan. The Windies had already lost one of their two encounters, so a victory in this game was crucial. Pakistan on the other hand had won both their matches, and were looking to maintain their winning streak.
The West Indian openers Desmond Haynes and Phil Simmons seemed aware of their responsibility, as they put on 91 runs. But both were dismissed in quick succession, with Simmons registering a free-scoring half-century in his first outing.
Left-armer Salim Jaffer got among the wickets as Richie Richardson and Gus Logie too fell soon. Skipper Vivian Richards stemmed the rot in the company of Carl Hooper in a fifth-wicket stand of 47, before Hooper was trapped leg-before by Wasim Akram - who also accounted for Jeff Dujon in a similar vein.
Richards was dismissed by his opposite number, Imran Khan. Bowling a fine spell, Imran did not let the lower-order prosper. The West Indies were bowled out for 216, annd Imran finished with four for 37.
Pakistan made heavy weather of the run chase though. They lost Mansoor Akhtar and Salim Malik cheaply before Rameez Raja and Javed Miandad steadied the ship. Then three wickets fell in a heap, with the Pakistan score looking a sorry 110 for five off 35 overs.
It seemed an impossible task for the lower half to get the remaining 107 runs at more than seven per over. But then wicketkeeper Salim Yousuf took matters in his hands and went after the bowling with gusto.
The proverbial luck of the brave favoured him and he was dropped thrice. His belligerent 56 off 49 balls with 7 boundaries gave a ray of hope to the hosts.
But wickets soon began tumbling again. At the end of 49 overs the Pakistanis were 203 for nine. 14 runs were required off the last six deliveries with Abdul Qadir and Salim Jaffer at the crease, as Courtney Walsh came up to bowl.
Walsh had performed splendidly until that point. In nine overs he had captured four important wickets for 26 runs. All he had to do now was be on target.
Qadir took a single off the first ball. Jaffer did likewise off the second. The batsmen scrambled two off the third ball.
10 runs were now required off the last three deliveries. Ones and twos would not do.
Incredibly, Qadir swiped a straight six off the fourth delivery. That made the equation four off two balls. Qadir again ran two. Two were now required off the last ball, and the tension was unbearable.
Walsh ran up to bowl, and Jaffer in his excitement backed up too far. Walsh did not deliver and nodded a warning to Jaffer. The truant non-striker returned sheepishly to his crease.
Walsh came in again, and Qadir swung. The batsmen ran for their lives and completed the two runs needed. Pakistan had won by one wicket, off the very last ball.
Amid scenes of wild jubilation, Qadir was the hero of the moment - in perhaps the most dramatic finish ever in one-day cricket.
But the game had also seen another hero, Courtney Walsh, for his tremendous show of sportsmanship, particularly when the match was poised on a razor’s edge. It is acts such as these that make cricket the great game that it is.
West Indies: 216 all out (49.3 overs), Pakistan: 217 for 9 wickets (50 overs) (CWC 1987)Published 08 May 2019, 00:51 IST