Clive Lloyd © Getty Images
Clive Lloyd © Getty Images

 

 

By CricketCountry Staff

 

Australia vs West Indies, Prudential World Cup, June 21, 1975

 

West Indies won by 17 runs

 

Clive Lloyd epitomised a near-perfect example of leading from the front in the inaugural World Cup final against Australia. His brilliantly-crafted century in crisis, worthy of a mega final, is an innings that is still etched in the memories of those who were privileged to witness it – either at the ground or on television.

 

Things didn’t start as Lloyd would have desired; he lost the toss and his team was asked to take first strike. He then walked in to bat in a far-from-ideal situation at 50 for the loss of Roy Fredericks (disturbing the stumps on his follow through, after hitting Dennis Lillee for a six), Alvin Kallicharan and Gordon Greenidge. With just one specialist batsman to follow, it was indeed a difficult situation for the captain.

 

When he took guard, nobody could have imagined what was in store. Australian captain Ian Chappell could not have been faulted if he thought that his side had assumed control of the proceedings, but little did he know that his rival captain was going to play party spoiler.

 

The early slide refused to bog down Lloyd who launched a counter attack from the word go. A neat flick to the mid-wicket boundary off Lillee set up an intriguing contest between the batsman and the bowler. A fired-up Lillee attempted a bouncer which the Lloyd swatted it over the square-leg fence and into the top tier of the Tavern Stand.

 

Lloyd brought out his entire range to the fore – the delectable flicks, the fierce off-drives, the punchy down-the-ground strokes, the robust hooks, the sizzling pulls, the potent cuts. His brutal hitting reduced his partner Rohan Kanhai to being a mere spectator. At one stage, Kanhai was scoreless for 11 overs as the mayhem continued from the other end.

 

Thanks largely to Lloyd’s pyrotechnics, his partnership with crossed the hundred mark in 89 minutes. Then came the moment all at Lord’s were waiting for – Lloyd hundred. He reached the milestone with a flashing off-side drive off Gary Gilmour, to the delight of the capacity crowd.

 

Lloyd’s 102 off 82 balls, punctuated with 12 fours and 2 sixes, saw the West India set an imposing target of 292 for Australia. The skipper’s innings turned out to be a match-winning effort as Australia fell short by 17 runs.

 

The West Indies captain has fond memories of that knock. “It was wonderful. The ball came off the middle from the first ball and, as it sometimes happens. I suspected it was going to be my day,” said the “Supercat”, who was deservedly named Man-of-the-Match.