The Prudential World Cup 1975, first Group B match


At Leeds, June 7. Australia won by 73 runs. For the first time since 1966 gates were closed and for the 22,000 crowd there was an excellent day of cricket. At one time it seemed that Pakistan, chasing a score of 278 for seven wickets, might win. At the end of their 40th over they had scored 172 for four wickets whereas Australia at this stage had scored 148 for four wickets. But the methods were entirely different. The Australian batsmen scored without taking risks. Turner and McCosker opened the innings with a partnership of 63 scored at four runs an over. Ian Chappell, with some firm hitting to the on-side, scored 28 and his brother Greg with a controlled display of driving made 45. They kept the ball on the ground. And so did Edwards, who came to the crease when the state of the game encouraged the bigger hits. He played the innings of the day with a superb display of controlled hitting, placing the ball accurately through the gaps in the field placing, and with such power at times that there was no need for fieldsmen to chase the ball.

Australia's was quite obviously a winning score and it seemed doubly so when in quick succession Sadiq, Zaheer and Mushtaq failed. But it was soon obvious that the Pakistan batsmen intended to fight. With the occasional edged shot, the mistimed drive which sent the ball safely over the infield, or going like a bullet down to third man, and with many good shots, Majid and his captain Asif both made half centuries. Banner waving Pakistan supporters danced in delight. The luck could not last for ever and when it changed it did so completely. The fifth Pakistan wicket fell at 181, the tenth at 205. Lillee, showing all the speed he produced in England in 1971 before his back injury, had the excellent figures of five wickets for 34 runs.

His partner Thomson, however, disappointed. He was in trouble with his run-up and delivery stride. His first over contained five no-balls (one of which was also signalled as a wide) and after this he bowled at a reduced speed. Even so, he had 12 no-balls in his eight overs and his loss of rhythm gave cause for concern. Lillee was Man of the Match.

© John Wisden & Co