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Crowe's opening day special

How Martin Crowe undid Australia in the first game of the fifth World Cup

Peter English

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Martin Crowe strokes one to the fence, New Zealand v Australia, February 1992
Crowe's superb batsmanship and captaincy won the trans-Tasman contest © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Martin Crowe
Series/Tournaments: Benson & Hedges World Cup

Martin Crowe
100 not out v Australia, 1992

The joint hosts opened the tournament in what was supposed to be Australia's first step in the defence of the 1987 prize. By the end of the game Martin Crowe had a nagging knee injury and Australia had picked up a limp that would hobble them throughout the event.

On an Eden Park pitch that would get slower and lower, Crowe won the toss, batted and was determined to "show some guts". Extra motivation came when New Zealand dropped to 13 for 2, and there appeared to be little use for the boundary signs given to the hopeful local crowd.

After stabilising the innings with Rod Latham, Crowe felt the game swing when he reached his 40s and was compiling a 118-run stand with Ken Rutherford. "The Australians started to bowl shorter," he wrote in Crowe on Crowe. "That was the innings that changed the game." Crowe gave the supporters 11 opportunities to shake their cardboard flyers and timed his finish perfectly, bringing up his century from the second-last ball. The knee had become a problem but there was no doubt about the strength of his stomach.

Despite having deflated Australia during his 134-ball stay, Crowe was not finished and his captaincy touches matched his superb batting. The offspinner Dipak Patel took the new ball, frustrating Australia's pace-savvy openers, and Chris Cairns bowled only four expensive overs before the military-medium brigade was called into action. New Zealand won by 37 runs and Crowe was a national hero.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of ESPNcricinfo

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