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World Cup flashbacks: When Bishan Bedi’s six runs off 12 overs floored East Africa

Bengaluru, April 23: India were yet to understand what one-day cricket is at that point of time. That the format doesn't have a draw like in the longer format was learnt at a cost of utter humiliation in their first-ever World Cup game played against England in 1975.

Sunil Gavaskar chose to sleep away his time at the wicket as India were set a target of 335 by the hosts and the Asians lost it by 202 runs despite having seven wickets intact!

The next game that India had was against East Africa, then an associate member of the ICC that saw an assembly of players from a number of countries like Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.

In that game at Headingley, Leeds, on June 11, India had to register a win to remain in the fray. East Africa too had a drubbing in their first game against New Zealand and elected to bat first against India after their captain Harilal Shah won the toss.

India had only three players with solid experience of playing in English domestic cricket and they were Bishan Singh Bedi (Nottinghamshire) and Farokh Engineer (Lancashire) apart from captain Srinivasan Venkataraghavan (Derbyshire). Of the trio, Bedi missed out from the England game as India preferred more seam bowlers.

East Africa somehow batted on till 55.3 overs

The wicket at Leeds was flat but East Africa never looked comfortable to challenge India. The opening bowlers Abid Ali (2 for 22 in 12 overs) and Madan Lal (3 for 15 in 9.3 overs) were magnificent on the day but it was Bedi, aged 29 then, who was the top of the lot.

In a performance that choked the East Africans, Bedi returned with the figures of six runs from 12 overs with eight maidens and he took the wicket of Yunus Badat. Captain Venkataraghavan was as precise, conceding 29 runs in 12 overs while Mohinder Amarnath gave 39 runs in 10 overs and claimed two scalps.

Out of 55.3 overs that India bowled, 19 went as maidens and East Africa could accumulate 120 losing all their wickets. Jawahir Shah was the top scorer for East Africa with 37 but he took 84 balls to do that.

Bedi came out with such a flawless bowling performance that the East Africans had no clue whatsoever. The Indians were as agile on the field to back their bowlers and especially, wicket-keeper Engineer was at the top of his game on that day.

India never were to have any problem chasing that target and they did it with ease, losing no wicket. It took less than half the overs for the Indian opening duo - Sunil Gavaskar (65 not out) and Farokh Engineer (54 not out) to complete the formalities. It was India's first-ever win in a ODI and they notched a 10-wicket win, also the first-ever in the history of the format.

Engineer was adjudged the man of the match on a day when only 720 people witnessed the game.

 
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Story first published: Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 15:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 23, 2019
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