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Billy the Kid in Lahore

Craig McDermott ruins Imran's dream of a home triumph

Dileep Premachandran

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McDermott's pace and accuracy were too much for Pakistan as the pressure mounted © Getty Images
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Craig McDermott
5 for 44 v Pakistan, first semi-final, 1987

Australia had been long shots going into the tournament, but after a morale-boosting one-run win over a formidable Indian side, they had built up some momentum heading into the Lahore semi-final. Until Imran Khan returned to telling effect in the final overs, they had made the most of Allan Border's decision to bat first, with David Boon (65), Dean Jones (38) and Mike Veletta (48) leading the way. Perhaps just as crucial, though, was a final flourish from Steve Waugh (32 not out) that saw 18 come from Saleem Jaffer's final over.

Craig McDermott, who had toiled magnificently in vain on the Ashes tour of 1985, had been a pivotal performer in the group games, and he again came good as Pakistan started their reply poorly. He cleaned up Mansoor Akhtar, and then watched from the outfield as Javed Miandad and Imran set about resurrecting the Pakistani innings. By the time Border recalled his Queensland team-mate, the game was in the balance, with a vociferous home crowd urging their heroes on.

When McDermott knocked over Wasim Akram, there was stunned silence, and after Bruce Reid had landed the potentially decisive blow by bowling Miandad, it was the man they called Billy the Kid who sprinted in to administer the last rites. Saleem Yousuf, Jaffar and Tauseef Ahmed all edged behind to Greg Dyer as Pakistan fell 18 runs short. McDermott had figures of 5 for 44, and though Imran had delivered a virtuoso performance (3 for 36 and 58 runs), his dream of winning the World Cup on the subcontinent lay shattered on the Gaddafi Stadium turf.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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