SK Flashback: Winston Davis' astonishing spell destroys Australia in the 1983 World Cup

Enter captionEnter caption It was time for Winston Davis, the odd man out in a top-class pace attack, to scythe through Australia in the World Cup 1983.
Enter captionEnter caption It was time for Winston Davis, the odd man out in a top-class pace attack, to scythe through Australia in the World Cup 1983.

Winston Davis' misfortune was that he was a West Indian fast bowler in an era which boasted the likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Wayne Daniel, and Sylvester Clarke, among others. Consequently, he was more out of the playing eleven than in, and when he did get the chance to take the field it was mostly as the fourth paceman.

Rarely did Davis get the opportunity to corner the limelight as invariably one or the other of his illustrious colleagues came up with a sterling performance. To Davis' credit, it must be stated that he did himself proud on a number of occasions. He was not one to carry around an inferiority complex.

This was an instance when Davis dazzled brightly. He bowled a devastating spell, the like of which had never been seen in a One-day International. He completely destroyed the Australian innings and his analysis remained till 2003 the best in the World Cup.

Both the teams came into this match shell-shocked. The reigning champions had been upset by India in the first match the previous day. And a day before that, Zimbabwe caused a stunning reversal to Australia's aspirations, beating them by 13 runs. The rain did nothing to calm frayed nerves, with play starting only at 3.30 p.m.

The wicket had uneven bounce and the ball seamed about. The early West Indies batsmen found themselves in trouble, and four of the stars were back in the pavilion with 78 runs on the board. The lesser pair of Larry Gomes and Faoud Bacchus almost doubled the score, and the latter fell just before bad light stopped play for the day.

Gomes and the tailenders did well to add another 92 in the remaining 18 overs the next day which was bright and sunny. The West Indies pace quartet made the ball rise menacingly. Graeme Wood was hit on the jaw by Holding, and Roberts knocked out Kepler Wessels' off-stump.

Skipper Kim Hughes then went on the attack and smashed Daniel for two sixes over square-leg. Left-handed David Hookes settled down to play a fine knock and Graham Yallop too looked in good nick. Davis was walloped for 37 runs in his first five overs, with only Hughes' wicket to show for his efforts.

At 114 for two, Australia seemed well on course. Then the lean and tall Davis struck. He removed both Yallop and Hookes in his sixth over. The floodgates had been opened wide. Davis bowled with a vengeance. In a mere 33 deliveries, he demolished the Aussies. In that spell, he took 6 wickets for 14 runs and, as Holding claimed Rodney Marsh, Australia were all out for 151 in 30.3 overs.

Davis finished with 7 for 51, the first seven-wicket haul in the World Cup. It was an extremely good performance that was surpassed only twenty years later by Glenn McGrath and Andy Bichel.

West Indies 252 for 9 wickets (60 overs), Australia 151 all out (30.3 overs) (CWC 1983)

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Edited by Satvik Pandey
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