Benson & Hedges Challenge - Final


At Perth, January 7. England won by five wickets. Gatting won an important toss on the pitch on which the West Indian fast bowlers had routed Australia for 91 three days earlier, and except while Javed Miandad and Manzoor Elahi were adding 38 in seven overs for the sixth wicket, Pakistan were never in the game. Dilley bowled with pace and fire, swinging the ball dangerously away from the right-handers. He beat Shoaib Mohammad for speed in his first over, more than once hit batsmen on the gloves, and cracked Qasim Omar on the collar-bone as he was playing forward to a good-length ball. It was a disappointing pitch for a one-day match and turned the final into an anticlimax. None the less, Dilley deserved full credit for exploiting it and was a worthy candidate for the player of the match award, which R. W. Marsh, the former Australian wicket-keeper, gave to Miandad.

Pakistan, forced on to the defensive by Dilley and DeFreitas, were prevented from recovering lost ground by the accuracy of the supporting bowlers, losing wickets every time they tried to accelerate. The game would have been over even sooner had Gatting, at deep cover, been quicker to sight a ballooning drive by Miandad at 36 off Small. With Manzoor going for his strokes, Pakistan had half a chance at that stage. But then four wickets fell for 4 in fifteen balls, including two in two to Small, to make them 131 for nine. Miandad managed the strike adroitly to take all but five balls during his last-wicket stand with Saleem Jaffer, but 35 runs off the last nine overs were nothing like enough to make things difficult for England. In the event, they started uncertainly, Athey, cutting, falling in the third over and umpire French adjudging Broad caught down the leg side off a ball that brushed his hip. Tactically it had to be right for Pakistan to attack, for if England batted 50 overs they were always going to win. But despite the encouragement of these two quick wickets, Imran struck rigidly to conventional one-day patterns. Gower made a frisky 31, Lamb and Gatting added 89 in twenty overs, and Botham on-drove the winning hit with 9.5 overs in hand.

Man of the Match: Javed Miandad. Attendance: 16,600.

© John Wisden & Co