© Getty Images
Craig McDermott claimed 18 wickets in the tournament © Getty Images

With the tournament being hosted by the subcontinent teams, one probably expected the spinners to rule proceedings. There were excellent performances from Maninder Singh, Abdul Qadir, and Eddie Hemmings, but generally they were restricted to a supporting role: Tauseef Ahmed, Roger Harper, John Emburey, and John Traicos were perfect examples.

Batsmen with solid techniques thrived under the conditions. Australia thrived on the opening partnership of Geoff Marsh and David Boon; with the single almost always on, and Dean Jones, Mike Veletta, and Steve Waugh providing the fireworks at the bottom, Australia invariably piled on decent scores. Craig McDermott spearheaded the bowling attack, and eventually went past a rampant Imran Khan; the others did not run through sides, though Bruce Reid, Waugh, Simon O’Donnell, and even Allan Border chipped in.

Batting records: The list was dominated by three openers; Graham Gooch led the way, followed by Marsh and Boon. Richards became the first batsman to score three hundreds in the tournament (one in each edition of 1979, 1983, and 1987); this time it was a humongous 181 — the highest score in the history of the tournament till then. He went past Kapil Dev’s 175 not out.

Most runs                    
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Graham Gooch 8 8 471 670 115 58.88 70.3 1 3
David Boon 8 8 447 583 93 55.88 76.7 5
Geoff Marsh 8 8 428 627 126* 53.50 68.3 2 1
Viv Richards 6 6 391 364 181 65.17 107.4 1 3
Mike Gatting 8 8 1 354 369 60 50.57 95.9 3

Despite Sri Lanka losing all their matches (at least four of them comfortably), Arjuna Ranatunga maintained his characteristic unflappable poise at the crease. He scored 252 runs being dismissed thrice, leading the averages chart.

Highest batting averages (150 or more runs)        
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Arjuna Ranatunga 5 5 2 252 355 86* 84.00 71.0 3
Viv Richards 6 6 391 364 181 65.17 107.4 1 3
Mohammad Azharuddin 7 5 2 190 241 64 63.33 78.8 2
Geoff Marsh 8 8 428 627 126* 53.50 68.3 2 1
Allan Lamb 8 7 2 299 315 76 59.80 94.9 2

Kapil did not score a lot of runs in the tournament (he managed a solitary fifty), but when he did, he made them quickly. A strike rate of 127 in 1987 was a remarkable feat. Even more astounding, however, was Richards’ 364 runs at 65 and a strike rate of 107. Gus Logie scored over a run a ball as well.

Highest strike rates (150 or more runs)            
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Kapil Dev 7 5 2 152 120 72* 50.67 126.7 1
Viv Richards 6 6 391 364 181 65.17 107.4 1 3
Gus Logie 6 6 2 181 174 65* 45.25 104.0 1
Steve Waugh 8 8 5 167 171 45 55.67 97.7
Mike Gatting 8 8 1 354 369 60 50.57 95.9 3

Richards’ record-breaking hundred was followed by what was probably the innings of the tournament: with Zimbabwe down at 104 for seven chasing 243, Dave Houghton scored a 137-ball 142 to take Zimbabwe within touching distance of the target; they eventually lost by three runs. In other news, Marsh emulated Glenn Turner (in 1975) by becoming only the second batsman to score two hundreds in a single edition of the World Cup.

Hundreds      
  Score Against Venue
Viv Richards 181 Sri Lanka Karachi
Dave Houghton 142 New Zealand Hyderabad (India)
Geoff Marsh 126* New Zealand Chandigarh
Graham Gooch 115 India Wankhede
Rameez Raja 113 England Karachi
Geoff Marsh 110 India Chepauk
Richie Richardson 110 Pakistan Karachi
Desmond Haynes 105 Sri Lanka Karachi
Sunil Gavaskar 103* New Zealand Nagpur
Javed Miandad 103 Sri Lanka Hyderabad (Pakistan)
Saleem Malik 100 Sri Lanka Faislabad

Bowling records: Though Imran, intent on a Pakistan win, had outstanding numbers, McDermott topped the charts. Patrick Patterson also had excellent numbers, but for the first time the spinners had a crucial impact. Unfortunately, the effect was more on the economy rate than on strike rates, which meant that the wickets chart was dominated by speedsters.

Most wickets                
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Craig McDermott 438 341 18 5/44 18.94 24.3 4.67 1
Imran Khan 299 222 17 4/37 13.06 17.6 4.45
Patrick Patterson 336 253 14 3/31 18.07 24.0 4.52
Maninder Singh 420 280 14 3/21 20.00 30.0 4.00
Eddie Hemmings 357 274 13 4/52 21.08 27.5 4.61

Imran finished a wicket short of McDermott’s tally, but his 17 wickets came at an astounding 13.06 — five clear of Patterson, his nearest competitor. The near-lost art of leg-spin was somewhat revived by Qadir: 12 wickets at 20 was no mean feat.

Best averages (10 or more wickets)        
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Imran Khan 299 222 17 4/37 13.06 17.6 4.45
Patrick Patterson 336 253 14 3/31 18.07 24.0 4.52
Craig McDermott 438 341 18 5/44 18.94 24.3 4.67 1
Maninder Singh 420 280 14 3/21 20.00 30.0 4.00
Abdul Qadir 408 242 12 4/31 20.17 34.0 3.56

Once again, Imran finished way clear of others (nobody came within six points of his strike rate of 17.6). The top five wicket-takers were also the top five in terms of strike rates, which probably tells a thing or two.

Best strike rates (10 or more wickets)      
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Imran Khan 299 222 17 4/37 13.06 17.6 4.45
Patrick Patterson 336 253 14 3/31 18.07 24.0 4.52
Craig McDermott 438 341 18 5/44 18.94 24.3 4.67 1
Eddie Hemmings 357 274 13 4/52 21.08 27.5 4.61
Maninder Singh 420 280 14 3/21 20.00 30.0 4.00

The top five names in the economy rates chart all belonged to spinners. Four of these went to off-spinners, which is an indication of the role they were restricted to. The era of Muttiah Muralitharan and Saqlain Mushtaq were still a few years away.

Best economy rates (100 or more balls)      
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Roger Harper 360 206 4 1/28 51.50 90.0 3.43
Abdul Qadir 408 242 12 4/31 20.17 34.0 3.56
John Emburey 474 295 6 2/26 49.17 79.0 3.73
John Traicos 348 218 6 2/27 36.33 58.0 3.76
Tauseef Ahmed 360 230 5 1/35 46.00 72.0 3.83

Nine times in the tournament did a bowler take four wickets in an innings, but in only once (McDermott in the semifinal against Pakistan) did someone claim a five-wicket haul.

Five-wicket hauls      
  Figures Against Venue
Craig McDermott 5/44 Pakistan Lahore

It took four World Cups to witness the first hat-trick — by Chetan Sharma against New Zealand at Nagpur. He clean bowled Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith, and Ewen Chatfield (it was the only time Chatfield batted as high as No. 9).

Hat-tricks        
  Against Venue Batsmen How out
Chetan Sharma New Zealand Nagpur Ken Rutherford bowled
Ian Smith bowled
Ewen Chatfield bowled

Fielding and wicket-keeping: Kiran More and Greg Dyer finished with 11 dismissals apiece, but the stark difference lay in the break-up: while More had six catches and five stumpings, Dyer’s tally read nine catches and two stumpings. After all, Border was Australia’s most successful spinner.

Most dismissals as wicket-keeper
  M C S D D/M
Kiran More 6 6 5 11 1.83
Greg Dyer 8 9 2 11 1.38
Saleem Yousuf 7 9 9 1.29
Paul Downton 8 8 1 9 1.13
Dave Houghton 6 3 2 5 0.83

For once, the top fielders were not dominated by the men at slip. There were a few spectacular catches in the outfield, with Kapil leading the way.

Most catches as fielder
  M C C/M
Kapil Dev 7 5 0.71
Bill Athey 6 4 0.67
Martin Crowe 6 4 0.67
Carl Hooper 6 4 0.67
Simon O’Donnell 7 4 0.57
Dean Jones 8 4 0.50
Bruce Reid 8 4 0.50

Record partnerships: When Richards massacred Sri Lanka at Karachi with 181, Desmond Haynes scored an unnoticed 105 at the other end. It was the first time two men scored hundreds in the same innings. They also registered the highest partnership (182) of the tournament for any wicket. After Haynes got out, Gus Logie walked out and helped Richards put on another 116 — the best fourth-wicket stand. The most iconic partnership of all was perhaps 117 between Houghton and Iain Butchart during their valiant chase against New Zealand.

Highest partnerships      
Wicket Runs Batsman 1 Batsman 2 Against Venue
1 136 Krishnamachari Srikkanth Sunil Gavaskar New Zealand Nagpur
2 167 Rameez Raja Saleem Malik England Karachi
3 182 Desmond Haynes Viv Richards Sri Lanka Karachi
4 116 Viv Richards Gus Logie Sri Lanka Karachi
5 83 Jeff Dujon Gus Logie England Gujranwala
6 73 Imran Khan Saleem Yousuf West Indies Lahore
7 46* Jeff Crowe Ian Smith Zimbabwe Eden Gardens
8 117 Dave Houghton Iain Butchart New Zealand Hyderabad (India)
9 39 Martin Snedden Willie Watson India Nagpur
10 36 Andy Pycroft Malcolm Jarvis India Wankhede

Team aggregates: The top three scores of the tournament all came against Sri Lanka. While West Indies broke all records by piling up 360 for four (it must be remembered that it was a 50-over match), India and Australia piled up one big score against each other.

Highest team scores    
Team Score Against Venue
West Indies 360/4 (50) Sri Lanka Karachi
Pakistan 297/7 (50) Sri Lanka Faisalabad
England 296/4 (50) Sri Lanka Peshawar
India 289/6 (50) Australia Kotla
Australia 270/6 (50) India Chepauk

Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka shared the lowest five scores between them. Zimbabwe scored 135 and 139, but they managed to go past 129 — the lowest score of 1983. For the second consecutive time no side was bowled out for a two-digit score.

Lowest team scores (excludes rain-reduced matches)
Team Score Against Venue
Zimbabwe 135 (44.2) India Wankhede
Zimbabwe 139 (42.4) Australia Chepauk
Sri Lanka 169/4 (50) West Indies Karachi
Sri Lanka 184/8 (50) Pakistan Faisalabad
Zimbabwe 191/7 (50) India Motera

Biggest margins of victory

By runs: 191

West Indies 360/4 (50) beat Sri Lanka 169/4 (50)

By wickets: 9

New Zealand 221/9 (50) lost to India 224/1 (32.1)

By balls to spare: 133

Zimbabwe 135 (44.2) lost to India 136/2 (27.5)

Smallest margins of victory

By runs: 1

Australia 270/6 (50) beat India 269 (49.5)

By wickets: 1

West Indies 216 (49.3) lost to Pakistan 217/9 (50)

By balls to spare: 0

West Indies 216 (49.3) lost to Pakistan 217/9 (50)

Reliance World Cup Cricket 1987: A history, matches, numbers, trivia, and key players