England’s quest for an ODI World Cup title continues as they take on Arch-rivals Australia on Thursday at Edgbaston. Meanwhile, let’s rewind our clock to see how have England fared in previous semi-final clashes
Benson & Hedges World Cup Final 1992
From the subcontinent, the World Cup moved to Australia and New Zealand in 1992. The tournament had a totally different look to it. For the first time, the Cup was played under flood lights, and the round robin format was introduced with 9 teams playing each other at group stage. Field restrictions and other changes in rules made the tournament different from preceding editions.
Pakistan never looked like reaching the semi-final; rain played a part in their fortuitous progress. They were having a terrible World Cup but one man, Pakistan’s captain Imran Khan, believed that Pakistan could create history. Khan’s inspired performance kept them together.
During the semi-final against Australia, Khan wore a tiger printed t-shirt and told Ian Chappell he wanted Pakistan to play like ‘cornered tigers’. Pakistan defeated Australia, and that was the turning point of the campaign.
Pakistan’s received a huge boost with Wasim Akram’s return to form. He was struggling for rhythm, bowling no balls and wides. However against Australia, Wasim returned to his own, taking 2 wickets. Although they were tail-ender wickets, it gave immense confidence leading to the final.
Pakistan were one step away from history. Khan won an important toss and elected to put runs on board. They didn’t have the ideal start, with Derek Pringle removing both the openers for single digits. Imran Khan, who promoted himself up the order, and Miandad revived the innings with a 139 run stand for the 3rd wicket.
When Imran fell the scoreboard read 197/4. Wasim Akram joined Inzamam ul-Haq at the crease. He played a perfect cameo of 33 from 18 balls, and gave support to Inzamam adding 52 for the fifth wicket. Pakistan ended with a formidable 249/6.
In reply, England were reeling at 69/4. The downfall was started by Akram, who scalped the important wicket of Ian Botham for a duck. After the early collapse, Neil Fairbother and Alan Lamb added 72 for the fifth wicket.
Before the match, Khan said in an interview that Akram shouldn’t worry about no balls and instead concentrate on bowling fast. The young left arm quick did just that, and scalped Lamb and Lewis with booming inswingers off successive deliveries -- and it was all but over for England. The ball that got the wicket of Lamb is considered one of the greatest dismissals in ODI cricket. Failbrother did his best, but ran out of partners, and England lost by 20 runs.
Reliance World Cup Semi-final 1987
For the first time the World Cup moved outside England with India and Pakistan being the joint hosts. The two sides were firm favourites as well, but Australia knocked out Pakistan in the first semi-final and India lost against England in the second.
The iconic Eden Gardens played host to the final between cricket’s traditional rivals. Australia got off to a good start, with David Boon continuing from where he left off against Pakistan. He added 76 for the 1st wicket with Geoff Marsh, and another 71 runs for the second wicket with Dean Jones. It was the perfect anchor role, with Boon playing 125 balls for his 75, which allowed Allan Border and Mike Veletta to give a perfect finish. Veletta’s cameo of 45 from 31 balls helped Australia reach 253/5.
In reply, England suffered an early upset as they lost Tim Robinson for a duck. Graham Gooch and Bill Athey brought the chase on track with a 65 run stand for the second wicket. However, the turning point of the match was Mike Gatting’s wicket. Gatting, who is generally a calm-headed batsmen, was facing Allan. It was the first ball of the over and, 99 times out of 100, a batsman of Gatting’s ability would have played it with respect -- but something cracked; the batsman aimed reverse sweep to an off stump delivery and only managed to lob a catch off the shoulder of the bat.
Allan Lamb at 5 gave a glimmer of hope, scoring 45, but once he was clean bowled by Steve Waugh it as all over England fell short by 7 runs. Australia, tagged as ‘underdogs’ at the start of the tournament, won their maiden World Cup title. And as usual, it was heartbreak for England.
Prudential World Cup Semi-final 1983
England went into this semi-final as overwhelming favourites against underdogs India. Although India were playing their first semi-final, the pressure was on England to deliver in front of a packed Old Trafford.
England won the toss and decided to bat first. They had a slow but sedate start with openers Chris Tavarae and Graeme Fowler adding 69 runs for the 1st wicket before Roger Binny removed both openers in quick succession. Graeme Fowler’s 33 off 59 proved to be the highest score for England in that innings.
Once the two openers went, Kapil Dev and Mohinder Amarnath bowled tight lines, giving the batsman nothing to work with. Alan Lamb’s 31 was the only other contribution of note, as England huffed and puffed to 213.
In reply, India also started cautiously with Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth adding 46 for the opening wicket before Paul Allot removed Gavaskar for 23; Srikkanth followed soon after. But India had enough firepower to score the remaining 163. Yaspal Sharma’s calm and composed 115-ball 61 and a 46 by Amarnath put India in a strong position, with a partnership of 92 for the 4th wicket which created a perfect platform for Sandip Patil.
Patil took on the England bowlers and scored a half century at a brisk pace to take India home with 6 overs to spare, and England were knocked out of the Cup in front of their home fans.
Prudential World Cup Final 1979
vs West Indies
Although the match will be remembered for Viv Richards’s majestic 138, considered as one of the greatest ODI knocks of all time, it was number 6 batsmen Collis King who overshadowed Richards with his blistering 66-ball 86.
West Indies were put in bat by English skipper Mike Brearley and found themselves in early trouble after losing 4 wickets for 99. Then King joined Richards at the crease and stitched together a 139-run partnership inside 21 overs.
King was the last recognized batsmen in that lineup. Everybody expected him to play second fiddle with Richards taking charge; instead, he outscored his partner in an onslaught that included 10 fours and three six with a strike rate of 130.
When King was finally dismissed, West Indies were comfortably placed at 238/5. After King’s wicket, Richards took the onus too keep the score ticking. At the end of 60 overs the Caribbean’s posted 286/9.
In reply, England started very strongly as both the openers Mike Brearley and Geoffrey Boycott reached half-centuries, adding 129 runs for the 1st wicket. Michael Holding broke the promising partnership, removing both openers in quick succession. David Gower and Derek Randall then put on a 48-run stand.
With nearly 100 runs left to get, Clive Lloyd brought on ‘Big Bird’ Joel Garner and boy, did he deliver! Garner decimated the English middle order with toe crushing yorkers. He took 5 wickets out of which four were to full length deliveries at pace. His scalps included David Gower, Graham Gooch, Wayne Larkins and Chris Old. In a matter of a few overs, England collapsed from 183/2 to 194 all out, handing West Indies their second successive World Cup title.
Prudential World Cup Semifinal 1975
Heading into the semi-finals, England were wary of the Aussie threat spearheaded by Jeff Thompson and Dennis Lillie. But it was 23 year old Gary Gilmour who ripped through the English top order, with figures of 6 for 14 in 12 overs out which 6 were maidens.
The conditions in Headingley were ideal for fast bowlers, so when Ian Chappell won the toss he had no hesitation to bowl first. Gilmour, who had played just 3 ODIs before this match, was brought in as replacement for off spinner Ashley Mallett.
Five batsmen fell to inswingers; Tony Greig the lone victim of the outswinger, thanks a great diving catch by Rodney Marsh in the slips. England managed only 93, but took some hope from the fact that there was uneven bounce and lateral movement.
Australia too found the going tough as they were reduced to 39/6 by local lad Chris Old, in tandem with John Snow. The two took out 5 wickets, but Doug Walters and Gilmour played sensibly and steadied the ship.
Gilmour survived a scare when he was dropped by Tony Greig in the slips with the scorecard reading; he shrugged it off, swung his bat to good effect to score a run a ball 28 to seal the chase and cap an all-round show.
Surprisingly, Gilmour just played one more ODI after the World Cup, against the same opposition, before losing his place in the side.