When West Indies and Australia clash in the knockouts of an ICC event, great entertainment is almost always promised
For more than three decades, West Indies and Australia were the standard-bearers of cricketing excellence. West Indies ruled through its pace quartet and batsmen who combined technical mastery with unrivalled flair. Australia’s era of dominance centred around ruthless attacking batsmanship, hostile accurate pace bowling and the genius of Shane Warne. Here, we look back at some of the great limited-overs matches that they’ve contested down the years.
ICC Cricket World Cup final, Lord’s, 1975
This was cricket’s longest day, watched by 26,000 at Lord’s. It was also the game that put one-day international cricket firmly on the map. When Clive Lloyd walked to the crease, his West Indies team was reeling at 50 for 3. Ian Chappell’s attacking fields and the pace trio of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson and Gary Gilmour had seen to that. Lloyd announced himself with a withering hook for six off Lillee and was at his dazzling best while adding 149 with Rohan Kanhai. His century took just 82 balls and it led West Indies to a huge total of 291 from their 60 overs. Ian Chappell’s doughty half-century was the focal point of the reply, but Australia’s cause wasn’t helped by as many as five run-outs. Viv Richards threw down the stumps twice from square leg, while Alvin Kallicharan took an unbelievable catch to dismiss Rick McCosker. Lillee and Thomson added 41 to get Australia close, but almost predictably, it ended with a run-out. The Wisden Almanack wrote: “From 11am till 8.43pm the cricketers from the Caribbean had been locked in a succession of thrills with the cricketers from the Southern Cross. It might not be termed first-class cricket, but the game has never produced better entertainment in one day.”
ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final, Mohali, 1996
Nearly two decades on, it’s difficult to figure out exactly how West Indies lost this game. With nine overs left, they had eight wickets in hand and just 43 to get. Brian Lara’s stroke-filled 45 had ensured a fine start, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was nearing a century and Richie Richardson seemed poised for a memorable swansong. But once Glenn McGrath got Chanderpaul, it triggered a remarkable collapse. Shane Warne preyed on indecisive footwork with a spell of 3-6 from three overs and when Damien Fleming was nominated to bowl the final over, West Indies needed 10 more for victory. Richardson started with a four, but Curtly Ambrose was then run out. Courtney Walsh’s ambitious swipe connected with thin air, and Australia had eked out a five-run win. That they even managed to set a reasonable target was down to Stuart Law (72) and Michael Bevan (69), who added 138 after Ambrose and Walsh had skittled the top order to leave Australia 15-4. Ian Healy chipped in with a cameo of 31 to take the total past 200. Until West Indies’ middle and lower order lost the plot so spectacularly though, it didn’t look like it would be enough.
ICC Champions Trophy, Mumbai, 2006
When Adam Gilchrist departed after holding the chase together with a solid 92, Australia needed another 53 from 8.2 overs to win its opening match of the tournament. By the time four overs were left, they had whittled it down to 29 needed with five wickets still in hand. Then, after Michael Clarke, who had added 101 with Gilchrist, was deceived by a slower delivery from Dwayne Bravo, Jerome Taylor took over. Michael Hussey was bowled and Brett Lee trapped leg before. With the first ball of the final over, he cleaned up Brad Hogg to complete a hat-trick. West Indies won by ten runs. A total of 234 had looked highly unlikely earlier in the day as West Indies slipped to 63-4. But Brian Lara and the late Runako Morton added 137 to resurrect the innings. On a two-paced surface, Lara was especially adept against spin on his way to 71. Morton, a man of many moods, smashed McGrath for a straight six during the course of his unbeaten 90. Taylor did the rest.
ICC World Twenty20, The Oval, 2009
After an awful start – Taylor got both Shane Watson and Ricky Ponting in the first over – Australia had piggybacked on David Warner’s aggressive 63 to reach a competitive total. The Hussey brothers contributed brisk cameos and a chase of 170 against Australia’s attack was no formality. But Andre Fletcher set the tone with some punishing strokes before letting Chris Gayle do the rest. The final over of the Power Play, from Brett Lee, went for 27. One ball reached the road outside Archbishop Tenison’s school. Another struck the roof of the Bedser Stand. By the time Fletcher was dismissed for a 32-ball 53, West Indies had made 133 in 11.3 overs. Gayle smacked six four and six sixes in his 88 (50 balls) and victory was clinched with all of 25 deliveries to spare. Seldom has Twenty20 cricket seen such a rout.