The final of the World Cup is the biggest stage for any cricketer to leave his mark on the game. And as the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup is all set to get underway, we look back at star performers in World Cup finals over the years. In his article, we look at the Prudential World Cup final in 1979 in which West Indies beat England by 92 runs.
Vivian Richards: Richards was a newcomer in 1975, and he did not do much with the bat in that year's final. But, he had a hand in the team's win effecting three of the five run-outs. In the 1979, the real Vivian Richards stood up. His batting in the final was stupendous to say the least. West Indies batted first, and were off an extremely poor start. They lost both their openers cheaply, and even as he was scoring runs from one end Kallicharran and the captain Clive Lloyd were dismissed. West Indies were poorly placed at 99 for 4, but Richards continued taking on the England bowlers. The result was what remains one of the greatest World Cup final knocks ever. Richards blasted 138 from 157 balls with 11 fours and 3 sixes remaining unbearable at the end. His plundering of the English bowling enabled West Indies to finish on 286 for 9.
Collis King: The 1979 World Cup final is best remember for Richards' smashing innings. However, the contribution of King cannot be underestimated in any way. At 99 for 4, it was King who joined Richards at the crease, and blasted 86 from 66 balls with 10 fours and as many as three sixes. While Richards was holding one end up steadily, King saw to it that the runs kept coming from the other end. West Indies had progressed to 238 for 5 by the time he was dismissed, and had half a hand on the trophy.
Joel Garner: Although England openers put on 129 for the opening wicket, they were so slow that the partnership actual cost them the match. And, if they had any faint hopes of a miracle, Garner destroyed it. He claimed the big scalps of Gooch, Gower, and added Wayne Larkins, Bob Taylor and Chris Old towards the end to finish with great figures of 5 for 38. England had little clue as to how to deal with his pace and aggression.
The supporting acts: Although Mike Brearley and Geoff Boycott both made half-centuries, their contribution wasn't significant enough to have an impact on the match. Brearley made 64 from 130 and Boycott managed 57 from 105 balls. In the wake of the score they were chasing, it was too slow. For West Indies, Colin Croft claimed three wickets to support Garner's match-winning spell. Michael Holding picked up two wickets. Although England conceded a lot of runs, four of their bowlers claimed two wickets each -- Ian Botham, Mike Hendrick, Chris Old and Phil Edmonds.
--By A Cricket Analyst