Players from the champion sides relive their World Cup journeys

'Gatting was a sinner for the Poms but a good bloke for us'

1987, part three: Craig McDermott looks back at the World Cup final, Mike Gatting's unforgettable reverse sweep, and bowling the last over of the match (00:00)

February 14, 2011


'Gatting was a sinner for the Poms but a good bloke for us'

February 14, 2011

CM: I remember trying to get out of Pakistan, and trying to have a beer at the same time. It was pretty hard but we managed, and have a good night of celebration and so forth. It was a quick trip to Calcutta, and we had real good preparation in Calcutta, and the facilities there were fantastic, practice wickets were very good, and the outfield was just exceptional, and a massive crowd, about 100,000, was just unbelievable. They were loud, and they were all going for us.

England had done well in Australia a year before, and the final almost seemed like an Ashes game.

CM: It was pretty tough for us, but we really thought that we could beat them and we worked so hard during those seven weeks, as did all the other teams, I guess. We had beaten the two best teams, one in the first game, and then we beat Pakistan in the semi-final at home. Having said that, England beat India in India in Bombay. So they were flying pretty high too, by the time they got to Calcutta. So both teams were fairly confident, but I think we were just a bit more match-hardened than they were.

McDermott woke up feeling sick on the morning of the final, and there was some doubt whether he was going to play.

CM: Yes, I was pretty crook. It was flu and that sort of stuff, perhaps a stomach virus. But it was a World Cup final and I wasn't going to miss that. So I probably had a few tablets from the physio and whatever else. It was no big deal, I suppose, and I honestly can't remember how crook I was.

Australia batted first, and McDermott was promoted to No. 4 - which had happened earlier in the tournament as well.

CM: I had done that previously, couple of times against New Zealand in Australia. It came off a couple of times and it failed a couple of times. I think AB just wanted to make the Poms think about what was going to happen if I really came off. I think I got 12 or 14 off about six or eight balls. But certainly when I walked through the gate, the Poms had about three or four captains all at once, because they didn't know what was going to happen. I hit a couple of fours and there was panic in their ranks. Finally Gooch got me out and it was all over. So it was left to other guys.

Mike Veletta then came in, and hit 45 runs off 30 balls.

CM: The guys batted well. When somebody failed, somebody else stood up, and that was a really good thing. Before that series, if we had two or three guys who failed then the rest of the team slumped a bit. But on that trip, as I said, if Boonie failed, then Swampy got runs, or Deano stood up or AB got runs, and also Michael Veletta got some important 40s and 50s, and he really opened the innings up. Because he got them really quickly - he didn't get 50 runs off 75 balls, it was 50 off 30. He played really well and he was a very good runner between the wickets.

With 253 runs on the board, and with a bowling attack that had done well, Australia were confident that they could defend the total.

CM: If you lost scoring 250 back in those days, then you slit your throat I think. We used to win games at the MCG and SCG scoring 210. If we got 210-215 and we were bowling to defend that, we knew we had to win.

Australia started well. McDermott got a wicket off the third ball. But then the game kept swinging - England would get ahead and then Australia would come back.

CM: I got [Tim] Robinson out in the first over, and then it ebbed and flowed from there until Gatting committed suicide, trying to reverse sweep. After that we were 10 feet tall. And I think their team was in shock, more than anything, and I don't think it was a good psychological thing for him to do [laughs].

Mike Gatting came to be seen as the world's biggest sinner for his fatal reverse sweep.

CM: Pretty much - he was a sinner for the Poms but a good bloke for us.

Border under-bowled himself but he was quite a useful bowler.

CM: Yes, he was a bit of scary bowler back in those days. He wasn't turning the ball a lot, but he was hard to get away on those wickets. He was a good fielder off his own bowling, and he always chipped in with a wicket or two. He and Bruce Reid did the job that day.

McDermott bowled the last over of the match. England needed 17 runs off it.

CM: I remember bowling the last over. I think they needed 17, and they needed six or seven of the last ball. I was at the end of my mark and Geoff Marsh ran in from cover, and I can't say what he said on TV, but he said, "For Christ's sake, don't bowl a no-ball." I said to him, "Shut up, just go back to where you came from." So it was a high-pressure last over, even though they needed a lot of runs, 17 runs… in India 17 runs was gettable. And we ended up winning. It was fantastic, just an unbelievable feeling. The biggest scurry was trying to grab the stumps - everyone was going for the stumps, but I managed to grab one. It was a fantastic feeling, having 100,000 people just going off and cheering for us because we had beaten the Poms.

One of the memorable scenes of the final was McDermott and Dean Jones lifting Border onto their shoulders.

CM: Yes, he had guided us through pretty rough times, and in a lot of the Test matches up until that World Cup, he was the only guy getting runs consistently. It was almost like if AB didn't get any runs then Australia never got any. And he had done a great job, and been through some really tough times himself - whether he wanted to be the captain or not, and all those things. So I think it was a good reward for AB back then.

Border had led from the front and guided the inexperienced Australian team through rough times to glory.

CM: Yes, I think everybody respected AB. He wasn't the biggest communicator, compared to someone like Mark Taylor, who was a really good communicator. He was a good captain, he was different, and he led from the front, he led by example. He worked very hard on his own game. He was a very tough competitor, and if you wanted somebody to bat for your life then you could easily pick AB. He would never let you down.

By the time the team got back to the hotel, they were too tired for a major celebration.

CM: Pretty much. We were absolutely buggered. That night we had a couple of beers in the dressing room and whatever else. There was a pub, sort of nightclub, in the hotel. I think there were probably only about three or four of us who got there. We were knackered. We had a couple of beers and we crashed. We were so tired. We did all our celebrating when we beat India in the first game.

The final was not shown on TV back in Australia. A movie was broadcast instead.

CM: I think there was a bit of flak flying around for that. But I have got the footage of the whole game. I've got footage of the World Cup final, semi-final against Pakistan. I have all that. But there was a little bit of a hoo-haa flying around that it wasn't live on television and that sort of things. But now you get two kindergarten teams playing in India on FoxTel - it's amazing. But I suppose that was the era we lived in and everybody had to accept that. And we got back home and played Shield cricket.

The people and the press were excited, and it was a good homecoming for the team.

CM: Definitely there was a lot of press around us winning the World Cup. When we got home, myself and AB, we were the only two Queenslanders in that team. We brought the World Cup home with us. In the plane they gave us a seat to put the World Cup on. We put the seat belt around it and came home. It was a good homecoming. And I think it was just a week and we were back to playing Shield cricket.

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