4

The deadly arm of Viv Richards

Martin Williamson
Ian Chappell and two of his team-mates took on Viv Richards the fielder in the 1975 World Cup final, and lost

Play 03:06

The inaugural World Cup final was played out in brilliant sunshine, in front of a packed crowd at Lord's. The contrast between the stuffy formality of the members' areas and the joyous colour and noise of the rest of the ground, taken over for the day by West Indies' supporters, could not have been more marked. West Indies, sent in, had overcome an early wobble to post 291 for 8, thanks to Clive Lloyd's hundred. In reply, Australia were in a good position on 162 for 3 with 21 overs remaining.

Two of Australia's wickets had been run-outs, both direct hits from Viv Richards. Ian Chappell pushed the ball to the left of midwicket and started off for a run, but realising it was Richards lurking, hesitated. Richards fumbled, and Chappell started again, this time committed. Even though the ball went no more than three or four yards, Richards, lithe and powerful, swooped, turned and fired in an exocet three feet above the stumps, which Lloyd, the bowler, took. Chappell, well short, carried on heading towards the pavilion. Richards, arms outstretched and with a massive grin, turned to the crowd for acclaim as his colleagues ran to him.

Richie Benaud provided this bit of advice of commentary on the BBC - "The old rule of never run on a misfield still holds good." In the Times, John Woodcock reflected that Australia's strong position "showed what might have been had it not been for three fatal hesitations and the deadly arm of Vivian Richards". As for Richards, he recalled that the Australian running had been targeted before the match. "We decided we might pick up a few of them that way."

Doug Walters fell soon after Chappell, and Australia looked beaten. But the tail wagged, and when the last pair of Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee came together, they needed 58 off seven overs. The next 40 minutes were pulsating cricket as the runs required slowly ticked down. After Lillee was caught off a no-ball, Thomson was robbed of most of his kit in the ensuing pitch invasion. In the end the ask was just too much, and with 19 needed from nine balls, Thomson was run out. It was lucky that the game took place on June 21, the longest day, as it didn't finish until well after 8pm.