Prudential World Cup 1979, first semi-final

Fight to the final

At Manchester, June 20. England won by 9 runs. A wonderful match played in glorious sunshine before an almost capacity crowd of 22,000 ended with New Zealand covering themselves with glory but just failing to get to Lord's for the final. All day long they fought nobly but the fortunes of the game continually fluctuated after Burgess had sent in England to bat after winning the toss once more.

The capable New Zealand attack, spearheaded by the fiery Hadlee, tied down most of the England batsmen. Boycott, who survived a difficult chance to the wicketkeeper off the second ball he received, from Troup, fell to a smart catch at third slip in Hadlee's fifth over. Larkins, preferred to Edmonds, tried to force the pace, only to be taken at extra cover. Brearley, content to defend, was making slow progress, but Gooch, in his most confident mood, set about establishing the innings. There were further shocks for England when Brearley, having made 53 out of 96, cut Coney to Lees behind the stumps and Gower, going for a second run, was beaten by Cairns' splendid long return to the bowler. There followed a bold stand between Gooch and Botham who put on 47 in ten overs. Gooch, stepping forward, drove McKechnie high over the sightscreen for 6. A low ball dismissed Botham as he attempted a mighty hook and Gooch's fine display ended when he deflected a widish ball against his stumps. Gooch was named Man of the Match. Fortunately for England, Brearley had put in Randall at number seven and he played neatly, seldom attempting anything ambitious. Taylor calmly put Cairns over long on for 6 and England snatched 25 runs from the last three overs.

Two left-handers, Wright and Edgar, began New Zealand's task of scoring 222 to win in masterly fashion, putting on 47 in sixteen overs before Old had Edgar leg-before. Then Boycott, round the wicket, removed Howarth leg-before with a full toss that the batsman aimed to sweep towards square leg. Wright kept New Zealand moving the right way until he succumbed to some brilliant fielding by Randall from deep square leg. Burgess, too, was run out, but New Zealand were not finished yet. Lees lifted Hendrick over mid-on for 6 and Cairns hoisted Botham even further before Hendrick removed them both. With Willis lame, and Botham and Hendrick also limping, it was touch and go, but with 14 wanted from the last over, sent down by Botham, New Zealand went out of the World Cup with their flag flying.

© John Wisden & Co