Great Moments

A fitting final act

A manufactured stroke that added the perfect finishing touch for West Indies

Martin Williamson

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Viv Richards on his way to 138* in the World Cup final, England v West Indies, Lord's, June 23, 1979
After Collis King set the tone, Viv Richards was in imperious mood © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Mike Hendrick | Sir Viv Richards
Series/Tournaments: Prudential World Cup

In the 1979 final, West Indies, who had been stuck in by England, had recovered from 99 for 4, thanks to a brilliant fifth-wicket stand of 139 in 77 minutes between Collis King and Viv Richards. King had been dismissed for 86, at which point Richards laid into a tiring England attack. The last over of the innings was bowled by Mike Hendrick, whose 11 previous ones had cost 36. Richards was on strike and on 124.

Moment
Richards, with the No. 11, Colin Croft, at the other end, kept strike through the over, taking eight runs from the first five balls. There were no fielding restrictions back then and Mike Brearley, England's captain, had almost everyone back on the ropes as Hendrick ran in to bowl the final delivery. "I had sussed with his long-off and long-on back that it would be fullish to allow me one or two," Richards recalled. "It was the correct ball, much fuller but slightly off the line and I stepped to the off side and flicked it." My recollection, from the Nursey End, is of Richards shimmying outside his off stump and effortlessly swishing a perfectly decent delivery way over square leg's head far into the Mound Stand. "I left the field thinking, 'That shot is my invention'," Richards said.

Boundary view
The newspapers waxed lyrical, with Richards' innings overshadowing that of King, and his last-ball swat attracting particular comment. Tony Cozier referred to his "dismissal of the England attack as if they were net bowlers", while Clive Lloyd enthused at the "dramatic way he finished his innings".

What happened next
The stand between Richards and King had enabled West Indies to post 286 for 9, and despite an opening partnership of 129 between Brearley and Geoff Boycott, England ran out of puff and lost by 92 runs. Richards, very much the fifth bowler and someone England needed to milk if they were to win, bowled 10 tidy overs for 35 runs.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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