SK Flashback: Kiwis snatch dramatic win over England off the penultimate delivery in the 1983 World Cup
With hosts England on a winning spree, it appeared that there would be a tussle between New Zealand and Pakistan for a place in the semi-finals. The Kiwis had already done themselves a good turn by beating Pakistan in their first meeting a few days earlier. England were looking forward to extending their unbeaten run.
Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavare got England off to a comfortable start. Thereafter the innings started to fall away as the New Zealanders were on target on an unpredictable wicket. Only David Gower, continuing his good form in the tournament, stood firm among the ruins. Grace and fluidity, ever the hallmarks of his batting, were in full evidence as he stroked his way to a brilliant unbeaten 92 off just 96 balls with 4 sixes and 6 fours.
Richard Hadlee and Ewan Chatfield returned for their final spells and demolished the tail with 4.4 overs still remaining. England slumped from 203 for six to 234 all out.
It was not a very difficult target for New Zealand but the English captain Bob Willis had different ideas. He removed both the openers Glenn Turner and Bruce Edgar with a mere three runs on the board. Skipper Geoff Howarth repaired some of the damage in the company of the Crowe brothers, Jeff and Martin. But at 75 for four, New Zealand were still struggling.
Howarth was then joined by the reliable Jeremy Coney. They infused some urgency in the run-chase and added 71 runs in 15 overs. Just when it seemed as though New Zealand were wresting the initiative, a lightning return from Graham Dilley ran out the Kiwi captain. Soon Ian Smith was bowled by Ian Botham and the pendulum swung again with New Zealand hanging on precariously at 151 for six.
Richard Hadlee, however, put in a fine display with the bat as well. He helped Coney realise 70 runs for the seventh wicket. With the match slipping away, Willis came on for his last burst. He knocked back Hadlee’s stumps, and soon after trapped Lance Cairns leg-before. It was 231 for eight at the end of the 59th over. As Paul Allott came up to bowl the final over, New Zealand needed four runs for a win.
Coney, displaying great faith in his partner John Bracewell, took a single off the first ball. Wicketkeeper Ian Gould then let the ball through his gloves, and the batsmen scampered two byes. The scores were still level with two deliveries remaining. Amid mounting tension, Bracewell cracked the penultimate ball to the boundary.
New Zealand had scraped through to a thrilling win. It was a triumph of a team effort over brilliant individual performances, another fine show from the Kiwis in the premier event.
England: 234 all out (55.2 overs), New Zealand: 238 for 8 wickets (59.5 overs) (CWC 1983)