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1975 & 1979 World Cup: West Indies Dominated Everything

1960. This is the year that made West Indies cricket prominent in the world map of cricket. Enter 1970. West Indies became unstoppable. The decade saw the triumph of West Indies against every team and over every sector of cricket.

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Last updated: 26.05.2019
1975 and 1979 world cup flashback | Sports Social Blog

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1960. This is the year that made West Indies cricket prominent in the world map of cricket. That was the first time when a non-white cricketer, Frank Worrell was given the task to lead the West Indies, cricket team. Cricket became popular in West Indies when it became the fourth test playing nation in 1928. Since then white cricketers only had the opportunities to lead the team until Worrell was given the chance. The already loved game in the Caribbean Islands gained more followers due to the sense of familiarity.

Enter 1970. West Indies became unstoppable. The decade saw the triumph of West Indies against every team and over every sector of cricket. The world cricket saw the rise of the captain Clive Lloyd and players like Vivian Richards, Malcolm Marshall and Gordon Greenidge.

The Journey Began

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The 1975 World Cup was called the Prudential Cup. The limited format of the game was still new to the existing cricket playing nations. Till then the teams played only 18 One Day Internationals. England was the host for the tournament and got auto qualified as the host. The other teams included five test teams- India, Pakistan, West Indies, Australia and New Zealand. Sri Lanka and East Africa qualified after getting the top spots in ICC Trophy. The players from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia were invited to compete and created the East Africa Cricket Team whereas South Africa was banned.

Lord’s, The Oval, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, Old Trafford and Headingly were the venues for the first World Cup matches. The teams were divided into two groups and the 60-over matches were played in the basic round-robin format..

In Group A, there were England, New Zealand, India and East Africa. England won all the matches and East Africa lost all three. The last game of the group was a decider of semi finalist and New Zealand won the match against India convincingly and qualified as one of the semi finalists along with England from the Group A.

For Group B, it was certain that Australia and West Indies would qualify for the semi-final. But the clash of titans in the group stage gave an idea of the first World Cup winner. The Aussies couldn’t even bat for 60 overs in front of West Indies bowling attack and were out for 192 in 53.4 overs. West Indies comfortably chased down the same in 46 overs. Even in their first group match against Sri Lanka, West Indies sent the Lankans at the pavilion for only 86 runs in 37.2 overs. They reached the target in 20 overs for the loss of only one wicket.

England did show their dominance in the Group A, but what West Indies did against both the minnows and the best team was sheer brilliance.

Headingly was the host for the first semi-final of the 1975 world cup. Australia once again showed their class and England were out for just 93 runs. Gary Gilmour playing his first match of the tournament took 6/14 in one of the most memorable spells to seal the final place for Australia.

In the second semi final New Zealand started off well and they were at 98/1 at the initial point of the game. But West Indies came back strong and scalped the nine remaining Kiwi wickets for just 60 runs. It took just 40.1 overs for the Windies to reach their target, losing just five wickets.

On the 21st June 1975, Ian Chappell and Clve Llyod met for the first World Cup final at the Lord’s. Chappell won the toss and chose to bowl first. Gilmour continued his form in the final and scalped five wickets. On the other hand, West Indies looked unstable initially during batting. Lloyd joined when WI were at 50/3. He hit a brilliant 102 off 85 balls and partnered with Rohan Kanhai who was playing his final international. At one stage Kanhai did not score for 11 overs but eventually he scored 55 which was a vital contribution. They finally put up 291/8. In reply Australia started losing wickets at regular interval. Even the skipper’s 62 couldn’t save the Aussies and they fell short of 17 runs to win the first World Cup.

The dominance of WI bowlers throughout the tournament was outstanding. The list of top five wicket takers of the tournament had three WI cricketers, Bernard Julien, Kieth Boyce and Andy Roberts.

And It Continued

 

The journey continued in 1979 world cup. It saw the growth of Clive Lloyd, the captain, the team and most importantly the fast bowling attack. 1976 test series against India helped Llyod to understand the importance of fast bowling and he would never look back to spin again after India chased down 406 in the 4th innings at Port of Spain. In the next test in Jamaica, Captain Lloyd applied his four fast bowler strategy with Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel, Bernard Julien and Vanburn Holder and Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi had to end their second innings at 98/5 as rest of the batsmen were injured by the intimidated bowling by the West Indians.


In 1979 World Cup England was the venue again and the format remained unchanged. All of the teams from the inaugural tournament participated in the second one too except for the East Africa. Canada replaced East Africa this time after qualifying through ICC Trophy.


Group A had England, Australia, Pakistan and Canada. The hosts were the undisputed winners whereas Australia, the last time runners up couldn’t make it to the semi finals and were out from the group stage with Canada. The other group was dominated by the defending champions, West Indies. Windies shared the group with New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka. India turned out to be the biggest casualty of the group and were out of the tournament with its neighboring country Sri Lanka.


Two semi finals were played on the same day at The Oval and The Old Trafford. In Manchester, England and New Zealand contested in the first semi final. , Graham Gooch (71) and Mike Brearley (53) powered and set the score of 221/8 in 60 overs for England. In reply, John Wright (69) tried to give a fright from the Kiwi camp but finally the NZ fell short of nine runs.


On the other hand at The Oval, West Indies posted a massive score of 293/6 in 60 overs. It saw Gordon Greenidge (73) and Desmond Haynes (65) adding 132 runs for the first wicket. Chasing that huge target was almost out of equation for Pakistan but Zaheer Abbas (93) and Majid Khan (81) kept the hunt on. Eventually Pakistan lost the match by 44 runs.


The final encounter saw the absolute domination of the Windies. England, winning the toss asked West Indies to bat first. At a point Clive Lloyd's men were struggling at 99/4. But Viv Richards and Collis King played the innings of their lives and West Indies came back to the match with a bang. Richards (138*) and King (66-ball 86) added a crucial partnership of 139 runs and West Indies were 286/9 at the end of 60 overs.


West Indies already started to play with English players’ mind with that comeback. Although Mike Brearly (64) and Geoff Boycott (57) gave a solid opening stand, the hosts were all out for 194 runs. Joel Garner ended with five wickets and West Indies clinched their second consecutive World Cup title.


West Indies were the biggest heroes with absolute authority from the first two editions of the world cup. They had some outstanding players who could deliver in the biggest of stages. Their style of aggressive cricket also helped to populate the limited over version of the game and got fans from various quarters. The image of Clive Lloyd holding the Prudential Cup proudly in the Lords Balcony is the defining moment from those two world cups.

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