The 1987 World Cup was revolutionary in plenty of ways. For the first time, the tournament was shifted out of England. It was hosted by two countries. India and Pakistan were the co-hosts of the ICC Cricket World Cup and the matches were reduced to 50-overs per side. Prudential, who had hosted the first three editions of the World Cup, was now replaced by Reliance, an Indian firm run by Dhirubhai Ambani at that time. The matches involved plenty of action and there were many memorable moments. In the end, Australia overcame the conditions and the odds to register their first World Cup triumph.
Prior to their World Cup in 1987, Australia was involved in an epic Test series against India in 1986 and the tour was memorable due to the tied Test match at Chennai. The first encounter was once again between these two sides in Chepauk and the match was an absolute classic. Geoff Marsh led the charge with a brilliant century. During Dean Jones innings, the batsman lofted a shot straight down the ground and Ravi Shastri failed to catch it. The ball went over and the umpire declared it a four. However, the Australians did not believe it was a four and after a discussion with the umpires, the decision was changed to a six.
Australia made 270/6 and Navjot Singh Sidhu led the charge with a blazing 73. However, Craig McDermott’s 4/56 and Steve Waugh held their nerve as Australia won the match by one run. Australia survived some close encounters and barring the loss in the first match, India dominated the rest of the games with Sunil Gavaskar scoring his first and only century in the game against New Zealand in Nagpur, a match known for Chetan Sharma’s hat-trick.
West Indies, the two-time champions, failed to replicate their dominance as they lost close games to England and Pakistan. The two teams entered the final, with Pakistan squaring off against Australia and India taking on England. In the semi-final at Lahore, Australia was boosted by an aggressive 65 from David Boon as they reached 267/6. In response, Javed Miandad struck 70 but Craig McDermott’s 5/44 gave Australia a tense 18-run win. In the second semi-final, Graham Gooch’s brilliant 115 helped England break Indian hearts as the hosts lost by 35 runs to crash out of the tournament.
In the final between Australia and England in front of a packed Eden Gardens crowd, Australia chose to bat and a brilliant 75 from Boon combined with an aggressive 31-ball 45 from Mike Veletta helped Australia reach 253/5. Mike Gatting and Allan Lamb put England on course but when Gatting perished to Allan Border in attempting a reverse sweep, England lost their way and they lost by seven runs. Australia had conquered the final frontier in grand style.
Most runs: Graham Gooch of England. Runs: 471. Average: 58.87
Most wickets: Craig McDermott of Australia. Wickets: 18. Average: 18.94
Venue: India and Pakistan