Bengaluru, April 15: The World Cup of 1987 was unique from the perspective of fair play.
It was in this World Cup that West Indian great Courtney Walsh had won accolades for not running Pakistan’s No.11 batsman Salim Jaffar out after he went out of the crease before the former released the delivery. The Windies went on to lose the crucial league game in Lahore by 1 wicket and that cost them a place in the semi-final, for the first time in the tournament.
However, there was also another incident in the same WC where a cricketer earned praise for a similar gesture and he too ended up in the second-best team in the game. The player was none other than Kapil Dev, India’s captain who was defending his team’s title won four years ago, at home.
It was India’s first match of the tournament and they were up against Australia who still were still some weeks away from lifting the first of their five World Cup trophies. The venue was MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai (then Madras), where Kapil won the toss and sent Allan Border’s side to bat. The Kangaroos were off to a great start with one of their openers Geoff Marsh hitting 110 and they posted a total of 270 for 6 in 50 overs. Manoj Prabhakar was the best of the Indian bowlers with 2 wickets for 47 runs.
The defending champions came up with a strong reply with opener Krishnamachari Srikkanth hitting 70 and one down Navjot Singh Sidhu top scoring for his team with 73. But the middle-order onwards witnessed a slump and India lost their last 7 wickets for 40 runs to lose the game by a solitary run by getting bowled out for 269 in the second last ball of the game.
However, apart from the fact that it was an epic thriller, the India-Australia match remained significant for one incident. Dean Jones hit spinner Maninder Singh to long on where Ravi Shastri tried to take the catch but missed. The ball went past the boundary and as per Shastri’s feedback, the umpire signalled it to be a boundary. India wicket-keeper Kiran More too agreed that it was not a six although Jones was convinced that he had hit the maximum.
During the break, the Australian camp expressed its discontent with the incident and had a word with the umpires – Dickie Bird and David Archer -- who then approached Kapil. The Indian captain did not want a controversy on the matter and allowed to concede a six to the Australians which meant their score was changed to 270 from 268. In the end, those two runs proved to be vital as the hosts fell short of the Aussie total by one run to squander two points.