At Nagpur, October 31. India won by nine wickets. Toss: New Zealand. India won this group through batting of breathtaking brilliance. To edge ahead of Australia, they had to score at a rate of 5.25 an over; with New Zealand having chosen to bat first, and been restricted to 221, this meant scoring the runs in 42.2 overs. In Srikkanth they had the ideal opener; the surprise was Gavaskar, who had been said to be unwell prior to the match. He matched Srikkanth stroke for stroke in the bravura of his batting. They took 18 off the first two overs, 21 came off Chatfield's third over as Gavaskar hit the first four balls for successive sixes and then successive fours, and the 50 was posted in the eighth over. The next 50 took just six overs. Srikkanth had three sixes and nine fours in his 75 (58 balls); Gavaskar, finishing with three sixes and ten fours, went on to record his first century, off 85 balls, in 106 one-day internationals. India met their target ten overs ahead of schedule. Earlier, Chetan Sharma had provided the excitement by bowling Rutherford, Smith and Chatfield with the last three balls of the 42nd over - the first hat-trick in a World Cup match. Only a partnership of 39 between Snedden and Watson at the end retrieved another unconvincing display by New Zealand.
Man of the Match: S. M. Gavaskar and Chetan Sharma (shared).
© John Wisden & Co