Sri Lanka vs West Indies, National Stadium, Karachi, October 13, 1987
West Indies won by 191 runs
The West Indian pride was hurt big-time after their nail-biting opening game defeat at the hands of England. Understandably, Vivian Richard’s men were keyed up to redeem themselves when they took on Sri Lanka at Karachi.
The National Stadium was bathed in glorious sunshine as Richards walked out to face Ravi Ratnayeke - on a hat-trick having dismissed Carlisle Best and Richie Richardson - with West Indies at a shaky 45 for two. Richards denied Ratnayeke the hat-trick and soon despatched him through the covers which set the pace for a period of sizzling strokeplay.
One could only admire the ease at which Richards picked off the Sri Lankan bowlers - the flowing cover drives, the wristy flicks, the lofted hits over long-on and long-off ensured every spectator in the stadium got his money’s worth.
The West Indies innings was set on a firm footing as Richards slowly but surely got on top of the Sri Lankan bowlers. His fifty was brought up with a single off left-arm spinner Don Anurasiri. In Desmond Haynes he found an ideal foil as the pair drove the Sri Lankan bowlers to despair with a fabulous partnership.
Sri Lankan captain Duleep Mendis tried everything, including part-timers Aravinda de Silva and Asanka Gurusinha to break the Richards-Haynes partnership that was now assuming alarming proportions. But every effort proved futile.
The belligerence of Richards, who was beginning to see the cricket ball like a football, almost made it look as if Haynes was scoring at a slow pace even though his ninth ODI century came at a strike rate of over eighty.
He drove seamer Vinothen John to the point region for a brace to bring up his 10th ODI century and shifter gear thereafter. He singled out Ratnayeke for harsh treatment, bludgeoning him for two sixes over extra cover.
A mild consolation came when Gurusinha broke the 182-run third-wicket stand, bowling Haynes. But there was no respite in sight for Sri Lanka as Richards was blazing away from the other end. Save for John and Anurasiri, who were shown some amount of respect, the rest of the Lankan bowlers were suffered big time in the face of Richards’ savagery.
Asantha de Mel was taken for 97 off his 10 overs and it was of him that Richards brought up his 150 with a scooped six over deep-square-leg. It needed a brilliant catch by Roshan Mahanama at backward point to bring an end to Richards’ swashbuckling innings at his score on 181, coming off 125 balls, studded with 16 fours and seven sixes though it served as little consolation for de Mel for the kind of punishment he took.
Richards’ innings powered West Indies to a score of 360 for four off the allotted 50 overs – the highest World Cup score then. “I remember standing at long-on and Don Anurasiri was at long-off and we just saw the ball sailing over our heads on a regular basis. That was some hitting. You can’t compare anyone today with Viv or anyone I have seen for that matter,” Aravinda de Silva, who played in that game, once recalled that blazing innings.
Sri Lankans were brutalized by Richards’ onslaught and never looked like coming anywhere close to the West Indies’ score. The outcome looked a foregone conclusion as the likes of Gurusinha, Arjuna Ranatunga and Mendis opted to have some good batting practice as Sri Lanka finished at 169 for four in 50 overs to give West Indies a whopping 191-run victory.
No prizes for guessing who the man of the match was!
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