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Updated on Jan 25, 2003 09:45 PM IST
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PTI | ByManish Verma

Winners: West Indies

Runners-up: Australia

Group A: England, New Zealand, India, East Africa

Group B: West Indies, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka

The first attempt at a World Championship of cricket was in 1912, when a three-way series was arranged between the current Test playing nations, Australia, England and South Africa. Dogged by poor weather, the experiment was not repeated until 1975. Due to immense popularity of a shorter version of game, the inaugural World Cup 1975 finally took place in June at England. There were a few one-sided contests among some tremendous and keenly fought nail-bitters.

The six Test playing nations West Indies, England, Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand were joined by Sri Lanka and East Africa to make up for total of eight competitors.

The teams were split into two groups of four each, with top two from each group progressing into semi-final stages. England topped group A with comfortable wins against India, New Zealand and East Africa. New Zealand secured second place.

West Indies topped Group B with three victories from three games including a stunning win against Pakistan at Edgbaston. In reply to Pakistan’s challenging total of 266/7, West Indies lost wickets at regular intervals and were reduced to 203/9 and Pakistan win looked inevitable. Then Derreck Murray and Andy Roberts put on an unbeaten 64-run stand for the 10th wicket to pull of a sensational one-wicket win with two balls to spare. Australia qualified for the semis with the wins over Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Hosts England were up against Australia at Headingley for the first semi-finals. June 18 turned out to be the Gilmour’s day. Expected to be just a back-up bowler for bowlers like Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, the 24-year-old left-arm seamer from New South Wales ripped through England batting line-up, paving the way for Australia's march into the final.

Bowling ahead of Thomson and Max Walker, Gilmour blasted out the top five batsmen - formidable names like Dennis Amiss, Barry Wood, Keith Fletcher, Tony Greig, Frank Hayes - and then later took care of Alan Knott, no mean batsman himself. He finished with bowling figures of 12-6-14-6.

in the second semis, Clive Lloyd inserted New Zealand into bat at the Oval. New Zealand batsmen find themselves in a tense strugglr against the hostile attack and could only pile 158 on the board. In reply, West Indies reached the target with over 20 overs to spare, thanks to a winning stand of 125 by Gordon Greenidge and Alvin Kallicharran.

The stage was set. Over 25,000 spectators were at the ground on June 21, a record pounds 66,400 in form of gate receipts earned. The public wasn't let down. An exhilarating finish to an action-packed fortnight it indeed was. Australian skipper Ian Chappell won the toss and promptly put West Indies in. His moved seemed to pay rich dividends with opposition struggling at 50/3; Fredericks hooked a bouncer high over fine leg for maximum only to lose his balance and tread on his wicket., Kallicharran caught-behind off Gilmour and Greenidge falling to Thomson.

Then came Lloyd led the Windies challenge with a magnificent 102, made in just 85 deliveries and studded with two sixes and 12 boundaries, to enable the side post 291 for eight in the allotted 60 overs. He reached his 50 off 52 balls and moved to his 100 off 82 deliveries. He was able supported by Rohan Kanhai (55), who played a second fiddle role to picture perfection in the 149-run fourth-wicket stand. At the fag end, Julien and Boyce boosted the West Indian score to 291.

Australian started the run chase in a positive fashion with Alan Turner and Ian Chappell scoring runs at good pace. Aussie progress was decelerated down by some brilliant West Indian fielding with Viv Richards effecting three run-outs that gave Lloyd men the edge. Jeff Thompson and Deniss Lillee added 41 runs for the tenth wicket by throwing their bats before another run-out settled the matters. Aussies finally fell short by 17 runs and Lloyd deservedly won the man of the match award of 200 pounds and received the Cup from the President of the MCC, Prince Phillip.

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