Top Performances

Super Cat mauls Australia in the final

Martin Williamson
Elegant brutality was the only way to describe Clive Lloyd's century in the final of the 1975 World Cup

Clive Lloyd
102 v Australia, final, 1975

The first World Cup final was played out in front of a packed Lord's in glorious June sunshine and featured the two best sides in the world. West Indies were the favourites on the back of their emphatic defeat of Australia at The Oval seven days before, but both sides possessed an array of batting talent, and Australia had an awesome pace attack.

Ian Chappell won the toss and stuck West Indies in. The move paid off as they slid to 50 for 3. Then Clive Lloyd loped out to join Rohan Kanhai. What followed was absolutely riveting as Lloyd took the attack to Australia's fast bowlers with elegant brutality.

Lloyd had barely settled when Chappell brought Dennis Lillee back on at the Nursery End. But in his first over he clipped Lillee off his toes through midwicket, and when Lillee responded with a bouncer Lloyd pounced and eased the ball over backward square leg into the top tier of the Tavern Stand. It was as a clear a signal of intent as anyone could have asked for and it sent the large West Indian contingent into raptures.

Lloyd had one let-off. He had made 26 when he looked to swing a short ball from Lillee over the leg side, mistiming it as his top hand slipped off the handle, but Ross Edwards at midwicket failed to grasp the low catch.

It was carnage thereafter. The 50-stand came up off 49 balls with Kanhai's contribution being 6. Max Walker, whose first seven overs had only yielded 22 runs, came back and Lloyd launched a perfectly decent first ball high back over his head for a one-bounce four which clattered the pavilion rails. It brought up his 50 in 59 minutes. Walker's next five overs went for 49, including a sweetly timed and seemingly effortless swish from Lloyd high into the grandstand to bring up the 100 partnership in 89 minutes.

Lloyd's hundred came in typical style with a flashing cover drive to the man on the boundary (a sweeper more than two decades before the position became accepted). His runs came in 100 minutes off 82 balls in a stand of 140 runs with Kanhai.

The end, which followed the same over, was low key, given out caught down the leg side by Rod Marsh after a long deliberation between the umpires. It was a unsatisfactory conclusion - he seemed to have missed the ball by some way - and the boos that rang out were almost in frustration at the cutting off of such a masterclass. As Lloyd headed off they soon gave way to thunderous applause.

"It was wonderful," Lloyd recalled."The ball came off the middle from the first ball and, as sometimes happens, I suspected it was going to be my day."

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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