Mike Hendrick finished as the top wicket-taker in the tournament © Getty Images
Mike Hendrick finished as the top wicket-taker in the tournament © Getty Images

Unlike the 1975 edition, World Cup 1979 was not a high-scoring contest. There was not a single team score in excess of 300 (one must remember these were 60-over contests), and only two hundreds, from Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards, who were the top scorers of the tournament as well.

With Australia sending a Kerry Packer-hit side and India performing abysmally, the groups turned out to be no-contests. West Indies (followed by daylight), New Zealand, England, and Pakistan had no problems reaching the semifinal. The last three teams were the only ones involved in close contests with England beating Pakistan by 14 runs and New Zealand by nine runs.

Let us have a look at who the heroes of the tournament were:

Batting record: Greenidge and Richards led the charts, as mentioned above. Glenn Turner, top-scorer of World Cup 1975 (with two hundreds) made an entry as well in a list dominated by men from the four semifinalist sides.

Most runs                    
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Glenn Turner 4 4 2 333 486 171* 166.50 68.5 2
Dennis Amiss 4 4 243 288 137 60.75 84.4 1 1
Majid Khan 3 3 209 287 84 69.67 72.8 3
Keith Fletcher 4 3 207 299 131 69.00 69.2 1 1
Alan Turner 5 5 201 259 101 40.20 77.6 1

Lloyd joins the fray, making it three out of five men from the Caribbean on the batting averages chart. After an outstanding World Cup 1975, the ubiquitous Turner makes another appearance.

Highest batting averages (100 or more runs)        
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Glenn Turner 4 4 2 333 486 171* 166.50 68.5 2
Sunil Gavaskar 3 3 2 113 274 65* 113.00 41.2 1
Deryck Murray 5 3 2 105 136 61* 105.00 77.2
Majid Khan 3 3 209 287 84 69.67 72.8 3
Keith Fletcher 4 3 207 299 131 69.00 69.2 1 1

Collis King blasted his way to a 66-ball 86 in the final, but even before the innings he had scored 46 in the tournament from 43 balls. His scoring rate (121.1) was significantly more than Lloyd (81.5), the next name on the list; in fact, Zaheer Abbas, fifth on the list, scored at a mere 66.1 per 100 balls.

Highest strike rates (100 or more runs)          
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Clive Lloyd 5 3 158 151 102 52.67 104.6 1 1
Zaheer Abbas 3 3 136 155 97 45.33 87.7 1
Dennis Amiss 4 4 243 288 137 60.75 84.4 1 1
Ross Edwards 5 4 1 166 208 80* 55.33 79.8 2
Alan Turner 5 5 201 259 101 40.20 77.6

As mentioned above, Richards and Greenidge scored the only hundreds of the tournament.

Hundreds      
  Score Against Venue
Glenn Turner 171* East Africa Edgbaston
Dennis Amiss 137 India Lord’s
Keith Fletcher 131 New Zealand Trent Bridge
Glenn Turner 114* India Old Trafford
Clive Lloyd 102 Australia Lord’s
Alan Turner 101 Sri Lanka The Oval

Bowling records: The unheralded (and overlooked) Derbyshire mainstay Mike Hendrick finished as the leading wicket-taker. Though there was no West Indian in the top four, their three stars — Michael Holding, Colin Croft, and Joel Garner — shared 24 wickets between them. Garner, with an average of 21.50, a strike rate of 35.3, and an economy rate of 3.66, was the worst of the three, which says a thing or two about the West Indies attack.

Most wickets                
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Gary Gilmour 144 62 11 6/14 5.64 13.1 2.58 2
Bernard Julien 360 177 10 4/20 17.70 36.0 2.95
Keith Boyce 312 185 10 4/50 18.50 31.2 3.56
Richard Hadlee 276 162 8 3/21 20.25 34.5 3.52
Andy Roberts 340 165 8 3/39 20.63 42.5 2.91
Dennis Lillee 318 223 8 5/34 27.88 39.8 4.21 1

Though Holding led the averages chart, the list was generally dominated by swing bowlers. Once again Hendrick ranked high, and Sikander Bakht and Brian McKechnie featured up the list as well.

Best averages (5 or more wickets)          
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Gary Gilmour 144 62 11 6/14 5.64 13.1 2.58 2
John Snow 216 65 6 4/11 10.83 36.0 1.81
Imran Khan 103 59 5 3/15 11.80 20.6 3.44
Chris Old 195 86 7 3/29 12.29 27.9 2.65
Tony Greig 186 89 6 4/45 14.83 31.0 2.87

Though Alan Hurst led the strike rates chart, let us wait for a moment to ponder at Holding’s numbers (one must remember that he played a match less than Hendrick, since the Sri Lanka match was abandoned): from four matches Hendrick claimed eight wickets at 13.25 and a strike rate of 30.8.

 

Best strike rates (5 or more wickets)        
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Gary Gilmour 144 62 11 6/14 5.64 13.1 2.58 2
Imran Khan 103 59 5 3/15 11.80 20.6 3.44
Chris Old 195 86 7 3/29 12.29 27.9 2.65
Sarfraz Nawaz 144 107 5 4/44 21.40 28.8 4.46
Tony Greig 186 89 6 4/45 14.83 31.0 2.87

Neither Graeme Porter nor Geoff Dymock had long careers after the superstars came back, but between them they conceded 97 from 49 overs in the tournament at under two (one must remember Hurst had a five-for). Had the batsmen lived up to their standards, Australia might not have been eliminated that early.

Best economy rates (100 or more balls)
B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Bishan Bedi 144 34 2 1/6 17.00 72.0 1.42
John Snow 216 65 6 4/11 10.83 36.0 1.81
Derek Underwood 132 41 2 2/30 20.50 66.0 1.86
Geoff Arnold 178 70 3 23.33 59.3 2.36
Peter Lever 216 92 5 18.40 43.2 2.56

Hurst and Garner (in the final) were the only ones with five-fors in the tournament.

Five-wicket hauls    
  Score Against Venue
Gary Gilmour 6/14 England Headingley
Dennis Lillee 5/34 Pakistan Headingley
Gary Gilmour 5/48 West Indies Lord’s

Fielding and wicket-keeping:  The wicketkeepers were led by Deryck Murray and Wasim Bari, both of whom finished with seven dismissals apiece. Bari also effected the only stumping of the tournament, off Majid Khan.

Most dismissals as wicket-keeper
  M C S D D/M
Rodney Marsh 5 9 1 10 2.00
Deryck Murray 5 9 9 1.80
Wasim Bari 3 6 6 2.00
Ken Wadsworth 4 3 1 4 1.00

There were several fielders with three catches, but only three of them had four.

Most catches as fielder  
  M C C/M
Clive Lloyd 5 4 0.80
Tony Opatha 3 3 1.00
Zaheer Abbas 3 3 1.00
Brian Hastings 4 3 0.75
Greg Chappell 5 3 0.60
Rohan Kanhai 5 3 0.60
Alan Turner 5 3 0.60

Record partnerships: Majid Khan and Zaheer Abbas had added 166 (the highest partnership of the tournament) in the semifinal against West Indies at The Oval, but the other nine wickets accounted for a mere 84. However, the most destructive stand on the list has to be the 139-run partnership between Richards and King in the final.

Highest partnerships      
Wicket Runs Batsman 1 Batsman 2 Against Venue
1 182 Rick McCosker Alan Turner Sri Lanka The Oval
2 176 Dennis Amiss Keith Fletcher India Lord’s
3 149 Glenn Turner John Parker East Africa Edgbaston
4 149 Rohan Kanhai Clive Lloyd Australia Lord’s
5 89* Mike Denness Chris Old India Lord’s
6 99 Ross Edwards Rodney Marsh West Indies The Oval
7 55* Doug Walters Gary Gilmour England Headingley
8 48 Brian McKechnie Dayle Hadlee England Trent Bridge
9 60 Abid Ali Srinivas Venkataraghavan New Zealand Old Trafford
10 64* Deryck Murray Andy Roberts Pakistan Edgbaston

Team aggregates: No team in the tournament managed to reach the 300-mark, while only five times did a team go past 240 (a run rate of four): West Indies did it thrice, while Pakistan did it twice.

Highest team scores    
Team Score Against Venue
England 334/4 (60) India Lord’s
Pakistan 330/6 (60) Sri Lanka Trent Bridge
Australia 328/5 (60) Sri Lanka The Oval
New Zealand 309/5 (60) East Africa Edgbaston
West Indies 291/8 (60) Australia Lord’s

Not surprisingly, Canada registered the lowest three scores of the tournament, followed by a solitary entry from each of Australia and Pakistan, both against England.

Highest team scores    
Team Score Against Venue
Sri Lanka 86 (37.2) West Indies Old Trafford
England 93 (36.2) Australia Headingley
East Africa 94 (52.3) England Edgbaston
East Africa 120 (55.3) India Headingley
East Africa 128/8 (60) New Zealand Edgbaston

Biggest margins of victory

By runs: 92

West Indies 286/9 (60) beat England 194 (51)

By wickets: 9

Sri Lanka 189 (56.5) lost to New Zealand 190/1 (47.4)

India 190 (53.1) lost to West Indies 194/1 (51.3)

By balls to spare: 277

Canada 45 (40.3) lost to England 46/2 (13.5)

Smallest margins of victory

By runs: 9

England 221/8 (60) beat New Zealand 212/9 (60)

By wickets:

Australia 159/9 (60) lost to England 160/4 (47.1)

By balls to spare: 18

India 182 (55.5) lost to New Zealand 183/2 (57)

1979 World Cup: A history, matches, numbers, trivia, and key players ob second cricket World Cup