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'Win against India in the first game was like winning the World Cup'
1987, part two: Craig McDermott talks about the win against India in the first game of the tournament, and Australia's journey to the final (00:00)
February 14, 2011
Related Links » Video & Audio: Part one: 'We were called the worst team to have left Australian shores' | Part three: 'Gatting was a sinner for the Poms but a good bloke for us' | Part four: 'It was a period of resurgence for Australian cricket' Players/Officials: Craig McDermott Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup | Reliance World Cup Teams: Australia Other links: World Cup Timeline: 1987
'Win against India in the first game was like winning the World Cup'February 14, 2011
Dean Jones' shot [in the first game against India] had been called for a four originally, and at the end of the innings, our manager at that time, Alan Crompton, thought that it was a six. He went to the television coverage and when they slowed it down, it actually just went over the rope. So they changed the score by two runs and we got home by a run.
The guys batted pretty well. We were defending our total and we just got home. But the celebration, winning that game, was like we had already won the World Cup. It was just a massive win to beat India in Madras. To beat them, in their home country, the first game of the World Cup. That put them on the back foot as well.
The conditions, the crowds, back then we used to get big crowds for Test matches, not three people and a dog, it was a fantastic win. We celebrated pretty hard that night.
Steve and I bowled very well together at the end of one-day games. I really enjoyed bowling with him. He was always a pretty cool customer, had a good mixture of pace too. He had a couple of good slower balls and was pretty cunning so he bowled well. I think Swampy [Geoff Marsh] got a hundred and it was a good all-round effort from us.
I think it [the win] really hammered home that we could win the tournament. I mean, beating India in the first game, even though we changed the score by two runs because it was a legitimate reason to do so. But just to be able to beat them in their hometown under such pressure in a game like that really stood us in good stead and made us believe that we could quite possibly pull this off.
We, as a team, preferred to bowl last because we thought we were good defenders with the ball. So a lot of teams in those days liked to bowl first and chase. We preferred to bat first, put a total on the board and defend that with our bowling. We were very confident to do that, and on top of that we had a great fielding side. We had guys with fantastic arms and good ground fielding. We took some great catches during that World Cup and that got us home.
I think the loss against India in Delhi was probably a good thing, I think it gives you a wake-up call. How many teams go through a tournament undefeated and get done in the final? So it's almost like you need a compulsory loss just to sharpen you up again. I remember the game: there was massive crowd, very loud, and we got beaten on the day by a team that played better cricket than us. They got more runs, and we just couldn't get them. I am not sure whether we batted first or second, I really don't know. There is a fair chance that we could be chasing those runs. I am positive that most games in those days, whenever we bowled second, we won.
Leading into the semi-finals against Pakistan, we had a our compulsory loss against India in Delhi, we played some pretty good cricket even though we were playing against some nations who weren't up to our standards, Zimbabwe mainly. We beat New Zealand pretty comfortably in both games. Even though one was rain-shortened, we played good cricket, we bowled them out. Boonie [David Boon] was getting those runs consistently, like 50s, 60s and 80s, that sort of stuff. Our top order was performing well, if somebody missed out, if Boonie missed out then Swampy got runs, and vice-versa most of the times. So we got off to good starts, particularly our openers got off to good start, which in one-day cricket was pretty important back in those days.
Boon started to really sort of come of age in that World Cup, with walking at the bowlers and whacking them back over their head. He started to bring that into our cricket in Australia and he certainly played well and batted well in that game.
[And for Steve Waugh] to belt 18 off the last over, in those days, it was hell of a lot. If you are the bowler then you would just be hanging yourself in the dressing room. So when came in, we were so pumped in the dressing room, we had scored so many runs off the last over against Pakistan in a game in Lahore. The crowd was very quiet at lunch time after Steve had given them a bit of a pasting with the stick. So for us to get out and start to bowl, to defend our total, we were pretty pumped.
I really don't remember the details, to be honest, but I bowled pretty well in that game and certainly, as I said, early the ball started to reverse a little bit in my second spell, and I got three to nick, and we won the game. And the run-out [of Rameez Raja] was pretty crucial too, I remember. We fielded well on top of some good batting, so we deserved to win that game and at the end of the game we were just flying. The first game was almost like winning the World Cup and certainly beating Pakistan in Lahore, in front of a full house, was just unbelievable.
We were a very young side, a pretty inexperienced team. We had been to India a year before, and we were prepared for it, but we loved the challenge and I think that came out with the hard practice that we had done. Simmo had some new fielding drills for us at the start of the World Cup, and by the time we got to the final against England in Calcutta, and as we went around, all the other teams were starting to copy our drills. When you start getting copied you know that you are going right. So at practice before the World Cup final in Calcutta, England were trying to copy some of our fielding drills but they certainly didn't field as well as us.
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