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The Murray-Roberts heist

A 64-run last-wicket stand was a fitting finish to the first-ever bonafide World Cup thriller

Nagraj Gollapudi

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Andy Roberts batting
Andy Roberts made a habit of being involved in lower-order World Cup partnerships © Getty Images
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Deryck Murray and Andy Roberts
64 for the tenth wicket v Pakistan, 1975

Seven games into the tournament, the inaugural World Cup produced its first thriller. West Indies and Pakistan, the unpredictables of cricket, faced each other for the first time under the warm Edgbaston sun. Pakistan suffered a loss even before the game started, when Asif Iqbal, their captain and allrounder, had to opt out due to illness. Majid Khan took over as captain and elected to bat on winning the toss. Most of the Pakistan batsmen were plying their trade on the county circuit, and that came handy when they faced up against the likes of Andy Roberts, Keith Boyce, Bernard Julien and Vanburn Holder.

Mushtaq Mohammad was watchful, coming up with a half-century. Wasim Raja made a fifty too, and Majid himself top-scored with 60. But was a target of 260 enough against the versatility of Clive Lloyd's men? Mohammad was not so sure. "Anything in the region of 260 was a very good winning target. But against West Indies, we were apprehensive as they had a mighty batting order."

His fears were allayed when the livewire Sarfraz Nawaz charged in and snapped up three quick wickets - those of Gordon Greenidge, Roy Fredericks and Alvin Kallicharran. Soon, 36 for 3 became 99 for 5. Clive Lloyd was still there when Deryck Murray joined him. But once again, just as hope started to float, Pakistan struck again. Javed Miandad was known as an upcoming young bat, but little did the men from the Caribbean know that he could also give the ball a tweak. Lloyd departed in dubious circumstances, given out to a googly.

Even if there were plenty of overs left, Murray was running out of partners. At 203 for 9, Mohammad bet his last dime: "No way were they going to win." But two pesky customers were at the crease: Murray was known to keep his cool in tight situations and Andy Roberts, that unsmiling assasin, was no rabbit. There were still 16 overs left and Murray's only concern was to ensure that Roberts batted through the rest of the overs.

It was Majid who blinked first, perhaps fatally. He bowled his main man Sarfraz out in the hope that he could get him the one vital wicket. It backfired. Ultimately, five were required off the last over. Majid had to pick from the remaining options and he chose Wasim Raja.

Roberts was on strike and "knew five singles could do it". He tried to pull the first one and missed it completely, but the ball hit his pads and they ran two. They then stole another two to midwicket, playing on the fact that the fielders had not been brought in, to tie the scores. Was there a further twist in store? It wasn't to be, as the batsmen had decided to run no matter where the ball went.

West Indies won, but the Man of the Match award went to Sarfraz Nawaz, after Tom Graveney, the adjudicator, missed the last bit of West Indies' innings.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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