Wills World Cup, Group A


At Jaipur, March 4. West Indies won by four wickets. Toss: Australia.

Four days after their humiliation by Kenya, West Indies fought back to inflict the first proper defeat of the tournament on the strongly fancied Australians. The revival was embodied by their captain, Richardson, who had 93 at the finish. He had repaired the damage to his dignity and, most importantly, salvaged the World Cup campaign. Nevertheless, he announced next day that he would retire from international cricket - saying he had made his mind up after the 1995 tour of England - and manager Wes Hall and coach Andy Roberts subsequently departed. Back in India, a lengthy meeting had focused the West Indians on their mission and they imposed themselves from the start. After Taylor chose to bat on an uneven pitch, Ambrose and Walsh bowled six maidens and conceded just eight between them in the first nine overs. But they did not convert their dominance into wickets and Australia were able to accelerate - their last 20 overs brought 135. Ponting surged to 102 in 112 balls, surviving a run-out appeal on 96. West Indies' pursuit of 230 started badly, with Campbell edging to Healy in the second over. They were 26 for two when Richardson joined Lara, whom, it had emerged, he would have preferred not to bring to the World Cup. But the pair combined effectively to add 87 and Lara scored 60 in 70 balls, his first fifty of the tournament. Then Richardson took charge, hitting ten fours and a six, which Ponting carried over the boundary. He might have reached his century, but Adams scored successive fours for victory, and Richardson did not seem to notice as he accepted the emotional embraces of his team-mates.

Man of the Match: R. B. Richardson.

© John Wisden & Co