Dean Jones
Dean Jones was the star of the show for Australia (File Photo)

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 71 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we take a look at the 1992 World Cup contest between India and Australia at the Gabba that went till the final delivery.

The 1992 World Cup campaign did not start well for either India or Australia. The defending champions Australia lost their first two matches while India lost a close contest to England while their second match against Sri Lanka was abandoned.

Meanwhile, Kapil Dev struck twice after Allan Border chose to bat at The Gabba. Mark Taylor and walked back quickly and the score read a disappointing 31 for two in the 12th over.

David Boon and Dean Jones took their time to settle down. The situation changed slowly. Mohammad Azharuddin turned to Sachin Tendulkar, but to no avail. The boundaries kept coming. While Jones looked bright in patches, Boon looked ominous. Azhar eventually turned to Venkathapaty Raju who struck immediately: Boon holed out to Ravi Shastri at short mid-wicket. As Steve Waugh walked out, Azhar brought on Ajay Jadeja to get a few overs out of the way.

Jones played strokes all around as Waugh kept returning the strike back to him. Both men were extraordinary runners; the run rate, once below three, now raced above four. Having got rid of his helmet, Jones swept Raju for four to reach a well-deserved fifty.

Srinath broke the partnership, cramping Waugh for room and hitting his leg-stump. Border promoted Tom Moody to ensure runs came at both ends, and it worked. Moody took a special liking to Srinath, but tried one slog too many against Prabhakar; the disguised slower delivery hit middle-stump.

Just when it seemed Jones would take the score well beyond the 250-mark, Jones hit one that went straight up in the air; Prabhakar claimed the catch. Jones’ 108-ball 90 included 6 fours and 2 sixes.

The onus was now on Border. He moved outside the stumps off Kapil and had a heave that flew over the vacant mid-off. As young Jadeja, fielding at long-off, ran in, he had two choices: stop well before the ball reached him and cut down the boundary, or go for the catch. He chose the latter and when he realised he would not be able to reach it, he flung himself forward and came up with a spectacular catch.

A few wild swipes followed, and Kapil and Prabhakar claimed a wicket apiece amidst the madness. They returned identical figures of 3 for 41 off 10 overs each as Australia finished on 237 for 9.

Craig McDermott struck early with a yorker: Srikkanth was too slow in bringing the bat down, and when he did, he played the wrong line.. Azhar walked out at this stage and took off with a violent square-cut off Mark Whitney.

Azhar greeted Merv Hughes with a dazzling cover-drive, but Shastri’s inexplicable crawl meant that the Indian run rate never took off. He almost got run out as Azhar edged one to the left of Marsh at point and did not respond to Shastri’s call; fortunately for India, Whitney fumbled with the return and also came between Border and the stumps.

Then it started to rain with the Indian scorecard reading 45/1 after 16.4 overs. When play resumed, 3 overs were deducted from India’s innings — but only 2 runs were deducted as per the existing laws. India needed 191 more from 182 balls when play resumed; they needed 193 from 200 when play had stopped.

Shastri’s 67-ball 25 had almost deterred the Indian chase. Azhar was in regal touch and Tendulkar reciprocated with a pull off Moody, but the huge Western Australian got the little man caught by Waugh at cover.

Azhar promoted Kapil and the ploy worked for a while. As Azhar reached his fifty, Kapil cleared mid-off twice in quick succession.

Waugh foxed Kapil with a slow delivery, trapping him plumb in front of the wickets. India needed 108 from 86 balls at this stage.

Sanjay Manjrekar lofted Whitney over mid-on for four. And runs kept coming.

The asking rate kept mounting. India now needed 67 off 42. Azhar slammed Waugh over extra-cover in the first ball and followed with another. Manjrekar produced a third boundary, and the target suddenly came down to 52 off 36.

Border turned to Hughes. Manjrekar shuffled across — an aberration given his style — and flicked the ball past deep square-leg. He pushed Waugh to mid-wicket and scampered for a single, but the Australian captain was too quick and accurate: the throw found Azhar short of his crease. His 93 had come off 90 balls and had included ten fours.

Jadeja walked out for the first time in his international career but was bowled cheaply. Azhar promoted More above Prabhakar. The match, however, depended entirely on Manjrekar, who simply refused to give up without a fightback. He read Hughes’ slower delivery, stepped out, and dispatched it over long-off for six; the next ball, a full-toss, was leg-glanced elegantly past fine-leg for four more.

There were frantic ones and twos. Then Manjrekar placed one to deep third-man and attempted a risky second; McDermott’s throw was accurate, and Boon, doing a sound job behind the stumps, whisked the bails off with Manjrekar short of the crease. India needed 20 off 12.

Srinath walked out ahead of Prabhakar. There were a few wild slogs; some connected, some did not, and McDermott’s last over went for seven. It was a toss-up between Hughes and Moody. Border opted for the latter.

13 from 6. A low full-toss and More connected perfectly. The ball went to the right of deep square-leg. Jones flung himself in a desperate effort, but in vain.

9 from 5. Border kept faith on Moody, and did not move Jones. This time Moody did not err in line, but More flicked from middle-stump. It was as outrageous a shot that ever was, and Jones did not have a chance. India suddenly saw a flicker of hope.

5 from 4. Yet again Border did not move Jones, perhaps luring More into playing the stroke again. This time Moody bowled a slow, straight, over-pitched delivery; More shuffled across, trying to sweep and the middle-stump was flattened.

5 from 3. Prabhakar finally walked out; he pushed one and ran, and Moody, picking up the ball, turned around and tried to run Prabhakar out. He missed it, and Waugh did an excellent job of preventing the overthrow.

4 from 2. Srinath had an almighty heave, but only found Border at mid-wicket. Prabhakar, having started the run, was left stranded as Border tossed it gently to Moody. Prabhakar was run out.

The Brisbane crowd mobbed the ground to celebrate. For some reason they had the idea that Australia had won. The ground had to be cleared, and amidst all the pandemonium, with Border triple-checking the number of balls left, the small bareheaded frame of Raju emerged from the pavilion.

4 from 1. Moody pitched up, and this time Srinath connected; the ball soared to wide long-on, where Waugh, running frantically, perhaps overdid things a bit, running beyond the trajectory of the ball.

One… two… could they run three to secure a tie? Raju punched the air as he kept on running…

Despite dropping the catch, Waugh did not err in the throw and Raju fell well short. Australia had won by one run.

Brief Scores: Australia 237 for 9 in 50 overs (David Book 43, Dean Jones 90; Kapil Dev 3 for 41, Manoj Prabhakar 3 for 41) beat India 234 in 47 overs (Mohammad Azharuddin 93, Sanjay Manjrekar 47; Tom Moody 3 for 56) by 1 run (revised target)