Batting at no. 5 in such a strong line-up rarely gave Clive Lloyd the opportunity to display his explosive power in One-day cricket. In the unlikely event of the top order failing, the fielding side was never enthused at the sight of the phlegmatic, bespectacled, ruthless hitter striding in. On several such occasions, Lloyd gave scintillating displays.
This was one such day as the reigning champions took on New Zealand. Gordon Greenidge played a fine inning, and Alvin Kallicharran stayed on to add 35 runs with Lloyd for the fourth wicket. None of his other partners stayed long, and after 55 overs the score stood at 204 for seven. Lloyd had picked up runs steadily but that did not seem enough. It was a lackluster performance by the champions.
That was only a signal for Lloyd to open the floodgates. The man at the other end was the giant Joel Garner, one with few pretensions with the willow. That did not matter much to Clive Lloyd. He thrashed the Kiwi bowlers to all parts of the ground. Garner was essentially a bystander as the skipper pressed hard on the accelerator.
The two added 40 priceless runs in the last five overs with Garner contributing all of 9 runs. This helped boost the total to 244 at the end of 60 overs and the West Indies could breathe easier. Lloyd's unbeaten 73 came off 80 deliveries with 4 fours.
New Zealand made a game bid to make a match of it against the top class pace attack. They were always in the hunt but lost crucial wickets just when they seemed to be gaining the upper hand. Eventually, they fell short by 32 runs as the overs ran out. If it had not been for Lloyd's superb innings, New Zealand may well have caused an upset. They have always performed with grit in the World Cup and put the best teams under pressure. But Lloyd settled down even as his team lost momentum, and then launched a ferocious attack as only he could. With his enormous stride, he could easily reach the pitch of the ball for the drive or go right back to cut, hook or pull.
The bludgeon of a bat with a multitude of grips, one of the heaviest in the game, coupled with his huge backlift put so much power in his shots that a fielder caught in the path always rued sticking out his hand. And if the field was even slightly bumpy, fielding to Lloyd was a traumatic experience.
Here, this left-handed powerhouse electrified the crowd with an exhibition of controlled hitting they would remember for a long time. When Clive Lloyd was in top gear he did not need much support from others. That was what he showed in this match.
West Indies 244 for 7 wickets (60 overs), New Zealand 212 for 9 wickets (60 overs) (CWC 1979)