Cricket World Cup 1975 – Great West Indies Side Triumph in an Unrecognisable Era
The cricket world cup of 1975 was the first ever cricket world cup and looking back on it is quite a bizarre experience. Prior to 1975, only 18 one day internationals had ever been played. The idea of ODI cricket was in its infancy reflected in cricket whites, a red ball and 60 over format closer resembling Test cricket. Held in England the cricket world cup went from June 7 to June 21 over a fortnight period.
The spirit in which the game was played was a lot more docile than what we have come to expect from the modern era of one day internationals. Many sides chose to treat the new format as a shortened Test match.
In a bizarre episode, Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar made history with surely the craziest runs chase of all time versus England in the group stages. Chasing a challenging score of 335 Gavaskar decided to bat through the innings amounting a sluggish, brick wall, Boycottesque 36 not out from 174 balls displaying a contemptuous attitude in the process. His lack of desire to even attempt to pursue the target would be lamented these days. I hate to think what Herschelle Gibbs and Graeme Smith would make of it, having chased down 435 in the greatest ODI international that ever was.
Teams Present at Cricket World Cup 1975:
- East Africa (cricketers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia)
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka (pre test match status)
- West Indies
Despite the first cricket world cup of 1975 facing difficulties in clawing itself away from the traditional form of Test Cricket the tournament was a marked success that started the rapid evolution of cricket over the last 30 years. The English weather for once held off and an enthralling fortnight of cricket took place culminating in the final taking place between the West Indies and Australia who beat New Zealand and England in their respective semis.
Eventual World Cup Winners: West Indies
And what a final it was! On June 21 1975, 26,000 brimming faces at Lords witnessed the first ever cricket world cup ripsnorter of a final. Clive Lloyd, the West Indies skipper and arguable man-of-the-match, executed a scintillating display of hard hitting (102 from 85 balls, 12 fours, 2 sixes) that would send shivers down the spines of the likes of Yuvraj and Afridi nowadays. His single handed efforts set up an impressive total and laid the groundwork for a West Indies world cup triumph.
Having set the Aussies a target of 292 to win Viv Richards proceeded to show the new importance of fielding in the one day game by running out three of their top order. Whilst the top order collapsed an unlikely final dramatic twist almost occurred with a valiant final wicket stand from the great fast bowlers Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee. The partnership of 41 threatened to snatch an astonishing victory until wicket-keeper Deryck Murray’s steely mentality, coolness under pressure and precision of throw, to underarm the wicket to dismiss Thomson formalised the result as Lord’s was immediately engulfed by thousands of excited fans.
The West Indies triumphed as Australia fell 17 runs short of the total. A truly staggering final to set the tone of one day cricket and remains a benchmark with which all cricket world cup finals will be compared to. The cricket world cup final of 1975 is still the greatest ever final in many people’s eyes.
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