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World Cup flashbacks: When Geoff Boycott's grand opening cost England 1979 final

Geoff Boycott

Bengaluru, May 22: Those were the days when chasing a target in a One-day International was still an art not fully mastered.

1979 World Cup final

After England won the toss and sent the West Indies to bat first, they let themselves off the hook. The defending champions went on to score 286 for nine in 50 overs, thanks to Viv Richards's 138 not out and Collis King's 86.

Boycott consumed too many balls

The English openers gave their team a solid start. They saw off the four giant pacers in Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner, but did not target the off-spinners of Richards and remained content taking singles off his balls. The opening wicket of captain Mike Brearely and Geoff Boycott took England to 129 but by then, they had gobbled up a lot of overs.

After tea, the snail in Boycott decided to break free somewhat and came down the wicket against Richards only to mistime. The catch was a simple one for skipper Clive Lloyd at wide mid-on but he spilled it. England were 79 for no loss at that time but had consumed 25 overs.

The asking rate kept on increasing and the West Indian team was not too unhappy with the dropped catch of Boycott. While the bowler Richards conceded it later, Lloyd also said jokingly that many had thought he had dropped the catch purposefully to keep Boycott on strike. Boycott eventually departed in the 39th over scoring 57 off 105 balls and it was a laborious knock. Brearley scored 64 but off 130 balls.

The first wicket had put England in such a tight corner that from 183 for two, in search of quick runs, the hosts lost their final eight wickets for just 11 runs to lose the match by 92 runs.

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Story first published: Wednesday, May 22, 2019, 12:40 [IST]
Other articles published on May 22, 2019
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