World Cup Vignette

Crowe knocks out the defending champions

New Zealand's captain brought out his A game against the old enemy in the opening match of the 1992 World Cup

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
The 1992 World Cup was opened by the two hosts on an Eden Park pitch that got slower and lower as the game went along. Martin Crowe opted to bat, and when Allan Border was asked what would be a good total, he said "about 100" and laughed it off.
New Zealand stuttered at the start: John Wright was bowled off the first ball of the tournament, and they were soon 13 for 2 in the fourth over. Then Crowe laid the platform, mainly with Ken Rutherford, compiling 118 runs for the fourth wicket. Eleven times Crowe dispatched the ball to the ropes, and he was particularly fierce on the leg side.
The highlight of his innings was his nimble footwork, against both the spinners and the fast men. "A batsman's footwork needs to be like a boxer's," Crowe says even today - a principle he observed to perfection in this innings. He went on the back foot for the short-of-length deliveries from Tom Moody and Peter Taylor with one eye on the leg side. He employed the pull the most, and even mistimed two of them for catches, but Australia spilled both.
"The Australians started to bowl shorter," he wrote in Crowe on Crowe. "That was the innings that changed the game." Crowe was involved in two run-outs, but that did not deter him from taking a risky single on the second-last ball of the innings for his hundred.
Australia had to chase 249 and Crowe now donned the captain's hat. He had Dipak Patel open the bowling to stifle Australia's openers. David Boon equalled Crowe's score before he was run-out but no other batsman could make over 40. New Zealand won by 37 runs and Crowe's terrific journey in the 1992 World Cup had only taken off.
This article was first published in 2014

Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo