Great Moments

The gracious Mr Walsh

When West Indies' strike bowler would rather lose a match than run a batsman out for backing up too far

Walsh: a gentleman to the last  •  Rian Botes/ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Walsh: a gentleman to the last  •  Rian Botes/ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Andy Roberts and Deryck Murray had combined to win a thriller against Pakistan by one wicket in the 1975 World Cup. In Lahore in the 1987 tournament, the teams produced a match nearly as good. Twice world champions, West Indies were off the boil somewhat, though still formidable enough. Pakistan were early favourites to take their home World Cup and had won both their games up until then.
Four wickets from Imran Khan kept West Indies down to a sub-par 216 in the first innings, and Pakistan were comfortable enough in pursuit at 92 for 3 and then 183 for 5. Then Walsh got rid of Saleem Yousuf, who had shepherded the chase with a fifty, and Patrick Patterson's last over brought two runs and two wickets. Pakistan had lost four wickets for 20 runs. The boot was on the other foot.
By the time it came to the last over, to be bowled by Courtney Walsh, West Indies looked to have it in the bag. Pakistan needed 14 runs off the six.
Abdul Qadir took a single off the first ball and Saleem Jaffar another off the second, leaving 12 to get off four. Qadir, who had done nothing of significance with the ball then turned it on, hitting a two and then launching a straight six that drew the crowd roaring to its feet. They ran another two off the next ball, leaving two to get off the last.
Walsh ran in to bowl the last ball and pulled up without delivering: Jaffar, at the non-striker's end, was well out of his crease, heading up the wicket. Walsh could have run him out comfortably but chose not to do so and headed back to bowl the delivery again.
What happened next
Qadir repaid the magnanimity by taking the necessary runs off the last ball. Pakistan were through and West Indies' chances of a semi-final place were in jeopardy. Walsh was deservedly feted for his sportsmanship (he even received a hand-woven carpet from a local fan). It was an act that has perhaps since become more famous than the match itself.