KING AND RICHARDS LAUNCH FEROCIOUS ASSAULT FOR THE CROWN
Lord's, London • 23 June 1979
For over a-decade-and-a-half, Vivian Richards was king. On this mid-summer day Collis King put him in the shade. The two were associated in an exhilarating partnership, and Richards went on to get a super hundred. But King was simply brilliant in this game, and the king would be the first to admit that such was the case.
The West Indies began the final in exactly the same manner as they had done the previous one, four years earlier. They lost early wickets, and three had gone around the fifty mark. In 1975 Clive Lloyd had taken over at that stage. In this match the skipper too fell at 99 in the 30th over as Chris Old held a brilliant return catch. The champions were a worried lot when allrounder Collis King joined Richards.
They need not have been so apprehensive because King was in awesome form. The pair first repaired the damage, and at lunch the West Indies were 125 for four off 34 overs. Richards was on 55, and King 19. Mike Brearley has been hailed by many as an outstanding captain, though others feel that he was over-rated because the opposition was often feeble. In this final his calculations went awry.
After lunch Brearley put on his non-regular bowlers. This was just the opportunity Richards and King were looking for. They pounced on it with glee. Geoff Boycott was smashed for 38 runs off his six overs, with 11 coming off the 4th, and 15 off the 6th. Graham Gooch was carted for 27 in 4 overs. Brearley then tried Wayne Larkins with disastrous results. He was thrashed for 21 in two overs, with 16 coming off the second. And so 86 runs were logged in those 12 overs.
Perhaps Brearley could have pressed on in attacking mode. Maybe he could have bowled the occasional trundlers in tandem with the accomplished ones. Even these tactics might not have worked. One will never know. The score now stood at 210 for four at the end of 46 overs. The partnership continued as King and Richards piled on the runs.
Finally, King fell in the 51st over. His blazing 86 came off a mere 66 balls with 10 fours and 3 sixes. The pulsating 139-run partnership spanned only 21 overs. King was simply breathtaking. Farokh Engineer wrote: "It looked as if the spirit of Learie Constantine lived again in his body." All this while Vivian Richards managed only 46 runs. Amazingly, he was overshadowed - for once.
Perhaps Richards' pride had been hurt. He went on a rampage thereafter and hit 43 of the last 48 runs in 9 overs. He lofted the last ball of the innings in his nonchalant manner for a huge six. The West Indies finished at 286 for nine as Richards remained unbeaten with 138 off 157 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes. The crowd was satiated.
The score was too big for England. Brearley and Boycott did put on 129 runs for the first wicket but they laboured for 38 overs to get them. They had already batted their side out of the match, and when Joel Garner claimed 5 wickets in 11 deliveries he only hurried the inevitable. Needless to say, the match will be remembered for the scintillating batting of Collis King and Vivian Richards as the West Indies lifted the gleaming Prudential World Cup for the second time.
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email email@example.com).
The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
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