Top performances

The deft and the devastating

ESPNcricinfo staff
Three innings of all-out attack and two of canny manipulation
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Dave Houghton, 142 v New Zealand, Hyderabad
Zimbabwe had caused major teams problems in the 1983 World Cup, defeating Australia and reducing India to 17 for 5 before Kapil Dev rescued them. Here, in Hyderabad, after half-centuries from Martin Crowe and Martin Snedden had taken New Zealand to 242, Houghton waged a lone battle for Zimbabwe, and dominated a 117-run stand for the eighth wicket (then an ODI record) with Iain Butchart, to take his team close to a win. Houghton hit three sixes and 13 fours in his innings. Six were needed off the last over, but Houghton's terrific innings ended with a great catch by Martin Crowe and Zimbabwe fell short by just four runs.

Viv Richards, 181 v Sri Lanka, Karachi
Richards had destroyed plenty of attacks in Tests and one-day matches before this game. Here, though, he was simply brutal. Desmond Haynes' century was made to look terribly slow as Richards ran amok. He hit 16 fours and seven sixes and records tumbled as he rampaged along. His 181 was the highest individual score in World Cups (the record for all ODIs, 189, was also held by him then) and the team total of 360 was the highest ever in ODIs. Ashantha de Mel conceded 97 runs in his 10 overs, at the time the most expensive bowling performance in a one-day international.

Chetan Sharma 3 for 51, Sunil Gavaskar, 103*
v New Zealand, Nagpur

In a remarkable display, Sharma bowled Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield to register the first hat-trick in World Cup matches. Gavaskar then proceeded to play like the antithesis of the man who had crawled to 36 in the opening game of the 1975 World Cup, matching the famously cavalier Kris Srikkanth stroke for stroke and scoring a breakneck unbeaten 103 off 88 balls, which eventually turned out to be his only ODI century. India cantered to the target with 10 overs to spare.

Graham Gooch, 115 v India, semi-final, Bombay
India and Pakistan were expected to run over their opponents in the semi-finals and fans eagerly anticipated an India-Pakistan final at Eden Gardens. Australia had already crushed Pakistani hopes in the first semi-final by the time England took on India in the second. Gooch and Mike Gatting proceeded to share a superb century stand for the third wicket. Gooch in particular used the sweep shot to great effect against India's two left-armers, Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri, going on to make a splendid hundred. Decent support from Gatting and Allan Lamb got England to 254 and they were spun to victory by Eddie Hemmings, who took four wickets.

Mike Veletta, 45 v England, final, Calcutta
In front of a massive audience at Eden Gardens, David Boon's calm 75 set Australia's foundation, but Veletta's unorthodox but effective late-order blitz was instrumental in taking them to 253. Veletta and Allan Border added 73 runs in quick time after Boon's dismissal, Veletta employing sweeps, deflections, quick running and improvisation against the spinners. "The gods were smiling on me," he said later. After that, excellent restrictive bowling and nervous England batting gave Australia a narrow win by seven runs. Veletta's aggressive knock had ultimately proven to be the difference in a tight contest.

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