SK Flashback: Thrills galore in a truncated game between Trans-Tasman rivals in the 1987 World Cup 1987

Chunky little opener David Boon set up the rain-curtailed match for Australia with a brilliant knock.
Chunky little opener David Boon set up the rain-curtailed match for Australia with a brilliant knock.
Indra Vikram Singh

There is a saying, obviously apocryphal, which goes: “If you want rain, arrange a cricket match”. That may have been someone’s frivolous observation, but it was certainly true in the case of Indore. It had not rained in this Central Indian city in the month of October for 35 years. But come the World Cup match on 18 October, and the rain gods decided to intervene. There was little option but to re-schedule the game for the next day. Even so, the soggy conditions forced a delay, and the match was curtailed to 30-overs-a-side.

Geoff Marsh departed early, but David Boon and Dean Jones set about the bowling in a manner justified under the circumstances. They thrashed the ball to all corners of the field as they raised 117 runs for the second wicket off 98 deliveries. Jones fell for 52, made in his usual bustling way off only 48 balls with 3 sixes and a boundary.

Skipper Allan Border joined the carnival as Boon continued to blaze away. The chunky little opener was eventually caught for 87 off 96 deliveries. There was time enough for Steve Waugh to complete 1,000 runs in One-day Internationals as Australia finished one short of the 200 runs mark off the allotted 30 overs.

To score at 6.67 runs for the entire duration of 30 overs was a tall order. Ken Rutherford and John Wright, however, gave a fine start as they put on 83 for the first wicket. As often happens, both fell in quick succession to Simon O’Donnell. Then Andrew Jones helped Martin Crowe push the score along.

But the urgency of the situation caused wickets to fall steadily, with Martin Crowe alone holding firm. He scored a brilliant half-century and seemed to be guiding his side to an exciting win. At the end of the penultimate over, New Zealand were already scoring at the required rate.

Steve Waugh was fast developing a reputation for being a cool customer during the nerve-wracking closing stages. But even he would be required to display extraordinary calm as the Kiwis needed seven off the last over with four wickets in hand, and the majestic Crowe in command.

Cricket has always been a strange game in which outstanding players can sometimes act in the manner of novices. With victory well within grasp, the classy Crowe played an injudicious shot to be caught by Marsh. More pandemonium was to follow. Ian Smith was bowled off the next ball, and a run later Waugh ran out Martin Snedden. Suddenly it was 194 for nine. The six runs now required proved too many for the last pair; they managed only two. 'Ice Man' Steve Waugh had held his nerve once again. Even a doughty character like Allan Border was full of admiration: "The rest of us had legs of jelly but he seems to just go ahead and do it."

Australia had scrambled home by just three runs. Luck was clearly with them in this tournament as they registered their second narrow victory in three matches. That fortune was finally beginning to come their way became more apparent in the days ahead.

Australia: 199 for 4 wickets (30 overs), New Zealand: 196 for 9 wickets (30 overs) (CWC 1987)

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Edited by Satvik Pandey


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