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Cricinfo - Cricket World Cup - History - 1979

The 1979 World Cup in England

West Indies retain their title

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Almanack report

World Cup No. 2
Teams 8
Minnows Canada, Sri Lanka (not a Test nation until 1982)

Format As 1975

Innovations The minor teams emerged from a qualifying competition - the inaugural ICC Trophy, won by Sri Lanka. Australia handicapped themselves by selecting a largely unknown team (remember Graham Porter or Jeff Moss?) as their best players were still contracted to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket. West Indies and Pakistan, fearing ructions at home if they fared badly, chose all their WSC players. By the following winter, peace had broken out and all the Packer men were back in the fold.

Early running West Indies topped their group with two wins and a no-result against Sri Lanka, who upset India by 47 runs at Old Trafford. New Zealand, with a strong hand of medium-pacers who could bat a bit, qualified with comfortable wins over Sri Lanka and India before running West Indies close (32 runs) at Trent Bridge. England breezed past Australia and bowled out Canada for 45, before pipping Pakistan, the other qualifiers from that group, in a low-scoring match at Headingley. The only century in the group games was Gordon Greenidge's 106* for West Indies v India at Edgbaston.

The semis Mike Brearley (53 in 115 balls) and Graham Gooch (71 from 84) held England's innings together after early wickets against New Zealand at Old Trafford. Chasing 221, John Wright (69 from 137) did a similar job before he was run out. NZ had lots of allrounders - but still fell nine runs short. West Indies ran up 293 for 6 at The Oval, but were sweating as Majid Khan (81) and Zaheer Abbas (93) shared a sparkling stand of 166. But Pakistan subsided to 250; the middle-order destroyer was Viv Richards, with 3 for 52. West Indies were in the final again.

The final It took a lot to upstage a brilliant Richards century, but Collis King managed it. In his finest hour (77 minutes, actually, but no-one was counting) King blasted 86 for 66 balls, clouting ten fours and three sixes. Richards ended the innings by walking across his stumps and flicking Hendrick into the Mound Stand for six: 286 for 9. In reply England's openers put on 129 - but too slowly, using up more than half the available overs. Brearley made 64 from 130 balls and Boycott 57 from 103. With Larkins at No. 7, it was a strong batting side ... but they had too much to do, as Joel Garner (5 for 38) zeroed in on the base of the stumps, and 183 for 2 turned into 194 all out.

Last hurrah Majid Khan's 81 in the semi-final - made under one of his father's old straw hats - was his last World Cup innings. It was farewell World Cup, too, for Asif Iqbal, who captained Pakistan in the first two competitions although he hadn't then skippered them in Tests. For England, Boycott and Brearley, Old and Taylor weren't there next time round. Apart from captain Kim Hughes and a handy-looking leftie (AR Border) the only Australian who resurfaced was fast man Rodney Hogg. Canada weren't seen again for 24 years, either.

First hurrah Croft and Garner joined Holding and Roberts in the champions' awesome attack. Greenidge and Haynes posted 106 together in the first match - the first of their 15 century stands in ODIs. Border (see above) played in the first of his four World Cups, as did Gooch, John Wright, and Kapil Dev.

Not to be forgotten England's unlikely bowling secret weapon was Geoff Boycott, bowling his little medium-pacers round the wicket, with cap reversed. He took 2 for 15 v Australia, and 2 for 14 at the death against Pakistan, when he lured Sikander Bakht into a brainless swipe while Imran Khan was winning the game at the other end. This persuaded England to pick four recognised bowlers for the later games. Boycott even took a wicket in the semi-final, but the plan unravelled in the final itself - the 12 overs England cobbled together from part-timers Boycott, Gooch and Larkins cost 86.

Wisden Cricketers' Almanack report
The second World Cup, officially called The Prudential Cup, proved, like the first in 1975, a great success, and again West Indies carried off the title. Unlike four years earlier, it was not blessed throughout with blissful sunshine during the fortnight it was in progress - June 9 to June 23.

Nevertheless, the three Saturdays provided fine weather and there was only one bad period - June 13, 14, 15 - when not a ball could be bowled in the match between West Indies and Sri Lanka at The Oval. The ground at Old Trafford was also affected, but two days sufficed for England to beat Canada in a low-scoring match.

Again eight countries took part, and from a cricketer's point of view it was a shame that once more South Africa were left in the cold. To fill the two remaining places, a separate tournament was organised among associate members of the International Cricket Conference. From this emerged Sri Lanka, who took part in 1975, and Canada.

The matches were confined to one innings of 60 overs for each side. No bowler was allowed more than twelve overs per innings and the umpires applied strict interpretation in regard to wides and bumpers to prevent negative bowling.

The Prudential Assurance Company put 250,000 in the kitty and the gate receipts from the World Cup came to 359,700, almost double the 188,000 for the first competition. The total attendance last summer was 132,000 compared with 160,000 four years earlier, the drop being almost entirely due to the bad weather. The surplus, distributed to the full and associate members of the International Cricket Conference, came to 350,000.

Prizemoney amounted to 25,900. West Indies, the winners, received the Prudential Cup and 10,000; England, runners-up, 4,000; Pakistan and New Zealand, losing semi-finalists, 2,000 each; and winners of group matches 500 each. There were also Man of the Match awards: 300 to Vivian Richards (West Indies) in the final, 200 each in the semi-finals, and 100 for the nominated player in each group match.

At their meeting which followed the World Cup, the International Cricket Conference agreed to make the competition a four-yearly event with the 1983 tournament again being staged in England. The first World Cup, officially called The Prudential Cup, proved an outstanding success. Blessed by perfect weather, ideal conditions prevailed. Altogether fifteen single innings matches, each confined to 60 overs, were played in England between June 7 and June 21. There were a few one-sided contests among some tremendous and keenly fought struggles. The highlight came in the Final at Lord's where Australia and West Indies were in combat from 11am until 8.45pm when The Duke of Edinburgh presented the Cup to Clive Lloyd, the West Indies captain.

Eight countries took part, but unfortunately not South Africa. The Prudential put 100,000 in the kitty and the overall takings came to more than 200,000 with an aggregate attendance of 158,000. Lord's was packed for the final with 26,000 present and receipts, a record for one day, of 66,000. The winners received 4,000. Australia, runners-up, 2,000 and the losing semi-finalists, England and New Zealand, 1,000 each.

The profits from the competition were distributed: 10 per cent to the United Kingdom and 7 per cent to each of the seven other participants. The balance went to the inaugurators, the International Cricket Conference, to distribute at their discretion to the non-participating associated member countries, the International coaching fund and the reserve account for the promotion of the next International World Cup.

When the I.C.C. met in London towards the end of June member countries were invited to submit ideas for the next World Cup. India had already said that they were keen to act as hosts, but several members thought it was hard to beat England as the venue.

The main view for this reasoning was the longer period of daylight in England in June when 60 overs for each side can be completed the same day.
Wisden Cricketers' Almanack