World Cup (cricket): 1987

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No longer called Prudential, the 1987 Cricket World Cup was co-hosted by India and Pakistan.

It was now the Reliance World Cup

Number of overs: 50

Participating teams: 8 (Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan , Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe)

Winners: Australia, who defeated England.

Reliance, not World

Reliance Cup: Corporate extravaganza

July 15, 1987/ India Today Anil Ambani, executive director, Reliance Textiles, hasn't heard of the World Cup. "What's that?" he asks. But isn't his company sponsoring what it bills as the cricketing event of the century? "Oh, that's the Reliance Cup," he says with a straight face.

1987 WC FINAL || England v Australia || EDEN GARDENS

Henry Blofeld recalls (The Times of India):

I remember the final in Calcutta. Oh dear Mike Gatting and that reverse sweep of Allan Border. It was a shot that didn't quite come off. I believe the ball hit him on the shoulder and flew behind the stumps to Greg Dyer. He was so surprised he almost dropped the ball. I am sure England would have won without that incident. Of course they haven't won a World Cup since.It was the finishing match no one wanted as India and Pakistan had both gone out in the semi-finals. There were thousands of people but the crowd was clinical rather than passionate as it watched a neutral final.

Graham Gooch

Ayaz Memon India Today February 5, 2015 | World Cup highlights: When the greats got going

115 runs

136 balls.


Sixes- 0

Ask Kapil Dev about why India flopped in the 1987 World Cup semi-final and he will say candidly, adding a touch of rustic flavour, "Sab Gooch ki jhadoo ka kamal tha". It was the perfection with which he played the sweep shot at the Wankhede Stadium that put favourites India out of the final.

Gooch repeatedly went down on one knee to sweep Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri in the arc between mid-wicket and fine leg. By the time he was dismissed for 115, England had reached 203. The target for India was 255. Almost everybody from the middle-order got a start, but could not last long enough to change the outcome of the match.

Fascinating facts about World Cups

Author: MS Ramakrishnan, Bangalore, Thu, Jan 22 2015 CricBuzz 1 <>CricBuzz 2 <>CricBuzz 3 <>CricBuzz 4 <>CricBuzz 5

1987: A captain agreed to change a four to six and his team lost by 1 run When Dean Jones lofted Maninder Singh over mid-off during a 1987 World Cup match in Madras, the umpire, who was unsure if the ball had crossed the boundary, took Ravi Shastri's word and signalled four. However, Jones walked up to umpire Dickie Bird and suggested that it was a six. Dickie then said that the issue would be discussed after Australia's innings. During the innings break, Australian team manager Alan Crompton spoke to the umpires, who then approached India's captain, Kapil Dev. A generous Kapil agreed to change that four to six, which meant India's new target would be 271. Interestingly, India went on to lose the match by 1 run.

1987: From 'Dark Horses' to World Champions Prior to the tournament, Australia skipper Allan Border said, "India and Pakistan are favourites. We are the dark horses." However, the dark horses went on to lift the 1987 World Cup. Australia then became the first team to accomplish a hat-trick, winning the 1999, 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

1987: The first ever hat-trick in the history of World Cups Chetan Sharma dismissed Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Chatfield off successive deliveries in 1987, thus recording the first ever hat-trick in the history of World Cups. It was also the first hat-trick by an Indian in ODIs.

1987: When Courtney Walsh became Courteous Walsh Pakistan needed 2 runs to win off the last ball in a 1987 World Cup group match at Lahore. Despite the non-striker backing up too much, Courtney Walsh, who was in charge of the last over, liberally refused to effect a run-out. Eventually, Abdul Qadir hit the winning runs and Pakistan won the match by 1 wicket.

When England beat favourites India in the semi final

Gaurav Gupta, Nov 14, 2023: The Times of India

NOV 5, 1987: England opener Tim Robinson takes off for a run as Indian fielders Azharuddin (left), Sunil Gavaskar and wicketkeeper Kiran More look on during the 1987 World Cup semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium. The banner in the background reads: ‘We’ll miss Pak at Cal.’ Pak had been beaten by Australia in the Lahore semifinal, ruling out a dream India-Pak final in Calcutta. India were sure of winning in Bombay, but non-striker Graham Gooch’s ton broke Indian hearts that day
From: Gaurav Gupta, Nov 14, 2023: The Times of India

Mumbai : As a rampaging India take on New Zealand in the first semifinal at the Wankhede Stadium, few would bet against the in-form hosts. However, the last time India played an ODI World Cup semifinal at this iconic venue, it left a nation heartbroken.

India’s 35-run defeat to England in the 1987 World Cup semifinal, you could say, started the jinx of India losing in the semifinal stage of big tournaments — especially at the Wankhede. Two years later, India lost to the West Indies in the Nehru Cup semifinal at the same venue, to the Caribbeans again in the 2016 World T20 semifinals. Then, they lost three more times in the ODI World Cup semifinal — 1996, 2015 and 2019.

Thirty six years ago, India, the defending champions were in fine form and headed into the semifnal riding on great confidence. However, on November 5, everything that could go wrong went wrong.

On the eve of the tie, vice-captain and the world’s No. 1-ranked batter, Dilip Vengsarkar suffered food poisoning which ruled him out of the game. Recalls Vengsarkar, “At 2.30 am, I suffered a bad bout of food poisoning after I ate pork ribs for dinner. I was vomiting badly and felt really sick. Naturally, I was ruled out, which was heart-breaking, since I was in great form and we were doing very well as a team.” He was replaced by Chandrakant Pandit. 
Choosing to field first, India looked to be on track when they dismissed Tim Robinson (13) and Bill Athey (4) early on. However, a magnificent 115 off 136 balls by Graham Gooch and his 117-run third wicket stand with skipper Mike Gatting (56 off 62 balls) saw England post a daunting 254 for six in 50 overs.

Both Gooch and Gatting would nullify India’s biggest strength at home — spin bowling — doing so by relentlessly using the sweep shot.

Despite a fighting 64 by Mohammed Azharuddin, India’s chase never really took off, and they collapsed badly in the end, losing their last five wickets for 15 runs to be bowled out for 219 in the 46th over itself. In contrast to India’s spinners, England’s tweakers would fare much better. Off-spinners Eddie Hemmings (four wickets for 52 runs) and John Embury (1/35 in 10 overs) proving the crucial difference at the crunch.

The loss would also be the last time the legendary Sunil Gavaskar would grace the Indian dressing room, a spectacular Phil DeFreitas delivery shattering his off-stumps at only four runs forcing an unsavoury farewell match. 
“It was a disappointing performance by us,” remembers Vengsarkar, “Both Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri, our left-arm spinners, were bowling very well till that point. England’s batsmen practiced the sweep short for a couple of hours against the local left-arm spinners, and their preparation paid off. I don’t think that the dressing room mood was great after the game.”

“We didn’t have a counter-strategy to deal with their sweep,” former India wicketkeeper Kiran More summed it up, “You must also remember that those were pre-DRS days, so you could sweep the spinners comfortably, without being worried about being dismissed leg-before.”

“Srikkanth dropping Gooch off Shastri proved costly. When we were chasing, the wicket started drying up, the ball started turning a bit more. Also, it wasn’t easy to hit the big shots those days off the red ball as compared to the white ball now. With two white balls in use now, it’s much easier to slog the ball,” More said.

“Pakistan were out the previous day and made us believe the trophy was India’s,” recalls SB Kulkarni, who was in the stands that day, having survived a near-stampede to get into the stadium. He and the rest would leave dejected. 
“After Hemmings got Kapil, it was a procession. We were famished but would not eat anything. Fans were crying in the stands,” he says.

See also

World Cup (cricket): history <>World Cup (cricket): 1975 <>World Cup (cricket): 1979 <>World Cup (cricket): 1983 <>World Cup (cricket): 1987 <>World Cup (cricket): 1992 <>World Cup (cricket): 1996 <>World Cup (cricket): 1999 <>World Cup (cricket): 2003 <>World Cup (cricket): 2007 <>World Cup (cricket): 2011 <>World Cup (cricket): 2015 <>World Cup (cricket): 2019 <>World Cup (cricket): 2023

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