Prudential World Cup 1979, final



West Indies won by 92 runs and so retained the Prudential Cup and the title of world champions which they first won in 1975. On another fine day the ground was completely filled by the all-ticket crowd of 25,000, and many would-be spectators were locked out. For a long time England put up a gallant fight after Brearley had won the toss and sent in the opposition to bat. The absence of Willis, injured in the semi-final, probably made the West Indies' task easier although his replacement, Edmonds, delivered his left-arm slows with much skill and dismissed King and Murray. However, in preferring an extra batsman in Larkins, Brearley had to call on Boycott, Gooch and Larkins as his fifth bowler. Their twelve overs cost 86 runs - and brought no wickets.

On a morning when Botham, Hendrick and Old all acquired movement, England began well enough against a side splendidly endowed with capable hitters. Moreover, England produced their highest standard of fielding and soon Randall ran out Greenidge with a deadly underarm return to the bowler's end as he dashed in from mid-wicket. Hendrick dismissed Haynes with a low-taken catch at slip off Old, and he followed this by bowling the left-handed Kallicharran round his legs, just grazing the leg stump. A superb left-handed catch by Old when Lloyd drove the ball back low meant that England had taken the first four wickets for 99 and at this stage clearly held the initiative.

Then came the partnership that turned the scales. Richards, the hero of the day and rightly named Man of the Match, was already installed and he found the right ally in King, who virtually took charge from the moment he arrived and made 86 out of 139 put on the fifth wicket in only seventy-seven minutes. Many of these runs came from England's three fill-in bowlers as King struck three 6s and ten 4s in an amazing display. He drove, hooked and pulled with astonishing power and accuracy, so confirming the impressive form he showed when he toured England with the West Indies team of 1976, but failed to reproduce for Glamorgan the following year.

Richards, at first, was subdued by Edmonds, but he completed his hundred in the over (the 52nd) following King's dismissal, the result of a well-taken catch by Randall at deep square leg. Pressing for runs, West Indies lost their next four wickets for 48 runs. Richards remained unbeaten, having hit his 138 in just under three and a half hours. It contained three 6s and eleven 4s.

England had the better batting conditions in brilliant sunshine and Brearley and Boycott gave them a sound start by staying together for two hours ten minutes, although they never managed to take the West Indies' pace bowlers apart. Boycott occupied seventeen overs to reach double figures, and when Brearley went England wanted 158 from the last 22 overs. This looked to be out of the question, and so it proved. Randall and Gooch made a brief assault, but between them Garner and Croft swept through the remainder of the innings. The 6ft 8in Garner took five wickets for four runs in eleven balls and was twice on a hat-trick as the West Indian supporters made the evening a Caribbean carnival. N.P

© John Wisden & Co