Bishan Bedi’s stranglehold turned out to be too much for the hapless East Africans © Getty Images
Bishan Bedi’s stranglehold turned out to be too much for the hapless East Africans © Getty Images

In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, CricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the Cricket World Cup – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 100 days to go, we begin our World Cup countdown looking back at the maestro Bishan Singh Bedi’s superlative spell of 12-8-6-1 against East Africa at Leeds on June 11, 1975.

Headingley looked almost empty that day, and expectedly so. A mere 720 paid for admission (though there were Yorkshire members around). Harilal Shah batted on the flattest of tracks, but the East African progress was clogged by some tight bowling from Abid Ali and Madan Lal. Abid took two quick wickets, and brought back into the side, Bedi clean bowled a clueless Yunus Badat. The score read a mere 37 for three in the 23rd over.

With his impeccable accuracy, Venkatraghavan was almost impossible to score off, but Bedi was on another planet. The best Praful Mehta and Jawahir Shah could do was to occupy the crease. Scoring runs, however, was another matter. Runs came in a dreary crawl. Mehta’s run out eventually broke the stalemate, and Mohinder Amarnath had Harilal caught-behind soon afterwards. The score read a sorry 56 for 5 in the 39th over.

Ramesh Sethi joined Jawahir, and the partnership (a “bright and cheery one”, to quote Wisden) resulted in some runs. They added 42, thanks to some fabulous cover-drives from Jawahir and “robust swinging shots to leg” from Sethi. They seemed to be on their way to bat out the full 60 overs, but a spell from  Lal put an end to their hopes. They lost their last 4 wickets for 4 runs and were bowled out for 120.

Lal finished with 3 for 15, while Abid Ali’s 12 overs resulted in 2 for 22. Despite that it was Bedi who stole the show with unreal figures of 12-8-6-1: he was simply too good for the East Africans, who had never encountered bowling of such high quality. The Indian fielding was excellent, and Engineer did an outstanding job behind the stumps: he would be rewarded later for his exuberant performance.

An easy chase

The target was never going to challenge the Indians. Sunil Gavaskar and Farokh Engineer set about their jobs after a few tight overs from Frasat Ali. A debutant Don Pringle (father of Derek), then 43, had 3 overs before Harilal turned to his spinners. With the batting loaded up to No. 9, the batsmen played their strokes with abundance.

India reached their target in the 30th over with a boundary off Prabhu Nana’s left-arm spin. Gavaskar finished on 65 and Engineer on 54, but the latter was named Man of the Match — more because of his excellent wicketkeeping. It was the first ten-wicket victory in the history of ODIs, and also India’s first ODI win.

Brief scores: India 123/0 (Sunil Gavaskar 65*, Farokh Engineer 54*; Donald Pringle 0/14) beat East Africa 120 all out (Jawahir Shah 37, Ramsh Sethi 23; Madan Lal 3/15) by 10 wickets.

Article first published here: (India win their first ODI thanks to Bishan Bedi’s 12-8-6-1)