We have witnessed a lot of great innings from different batsmen, some legends, some were from one match-wonders. A lot from orthodox players and a lot from the pinch hitters but not many matches could stay in our hearts forever.
Before Saeed Anwar could produce carnage innings of 194 against India, it was the gum-chewing master blaster from West Indies who went on to produce an absolute gem of an innings to defeat the David Gower’s men at the Old Trafford.
Perhaps the West Indian thought that he wanted to top the tree as he had three top ODI scores but his score wasn’t the highest. He found the right day and the right opponent for the same.
The West Indies batsmen found themselves in a deep danger as Ian Botham, Bob Willis and off-spinner Geoff Miller all got amongst the wickets to send the batters back to the dressing room early than they would have wanted to, as West Indies fell apart at 102 for 7 in 26 overs.
Meanwhile, on the other end, it was Richards who was witnessing all the destruction while furiously chewing his gum in what you call the anger. Batting at 62, the master took the attack all by himself and he was smashing whatever that came his way. He found help from Eldine Baptiste who contributed 26 in a 59-run stand for the eighth wicket, however when Botham dismissed him, and then Joel Garner fell shortly, Richards’ only company was No.11 Michael Holding whose job most was nothing else than watching the ball sail to the boundary 21 times it kissed the boundary line while six times it went over.
Richards loved hitting Botham, Pringle and Foster more than anyone else. A tracer bullet over the mid-wicket followed by the long off and backward point all resulted in the same, six.
He was playing too casual that it was like a routine for the ball to run away to the boundary when it clicked the bat. It was all that you call the destruction through a pure power hitting.
In total, the pair added a record unbeaten 106 for the final wicket of which Holding made 12.
From 166-9, West Indies went on to make 272-9. A total which Richards thought a defendable one but ultimately it proved beyond defendable. As except for Lamb who made 75, couldn’t provide Richards kind of innings as the entire team made only 168 giving West Indies the first of the victories who later went on to conquer Australia 5-0 in the Test series.
This was a special knock from a special man who inarguably was the greatest cricketer of not only his time but like forever. Yes, we did witness a lot of cricketers who went on to break his records and knocks, but he was the inspiration behind all those cricketers.
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