1987 World Cup
The major sporting events have a four year cycle and Cricket World Cup is no exception and generally are a benchmark to gauge our own progression in life and I was now in my 11th grade. Cricket was a late entrant to the World Cup in contrast to football which started off in the 1930s no wonder it’s the second largest sport.
The 1983 World Cup enthused the indian middle class and the indian middle class welcomed the live cricket one day broadcasts into their living rooms and cricket was becoming a national pass time short of a national obsession.
Indian team followed their world cup win in 83 with championship victories in Asia cup in sharjah and Benson and Hedges cup in Australia and was always in the limelight New stars Azharuddin and Ravi shastri were the talk of the town.
1987 World Cup had many firsts to its credit it was the first World Cup to be held outside England and the first World Cup to be played in the 50 over format and the first one not to be called Prudential World Cup. The still nascent Reliance industries realizing the reach of the World Cup threw in the hat and grabbed the opportunity to sponsor the tournament and duly the World Cup was rechristened as Reliance World Cup.
As the World Cup approached there was a media frenzy with India and Pakistan hailed as the possible world champions. The organizers were smart enough to separate India and Pakistan into two different groups in the anticipation of a India Pakistan dream final but sure destiny had other plans.
India and Pakistan won their groups easily leaving the second place to the more traditional rivals Australia and England from a cricketing point of view there were some stellar performances Gavaskar’s redemption act where he blasted New Zealand for a century exorcing the ghosts of his infamous innings in the first World Cup India loosing to Australia by one run Courtney Walsh’s sporting gesture against Pakistan, Sri Lanka’s spirited performance and a brilliant individual histrionics of David Houghton from Zimbabwe however all this paled in comparison to the sheer drama witnessed in the semis.
The entire subcontinent was awaiting a mouth watering India Pakistan clash but no one paid attention to the challanges the teams from the subcontinent faced from the kangaroos and the pommies as both India and Pakistan combusted against their more organized english and antipodean opponents almost driving the entire sub continent into a state of denial and mock funeral.
As much the World Cup was planned for a India Pakistan summit clash the audience in Eden Gardens got to see the Ashes rivals fighting it out for the ultimate prize and Australia ended up the champions relegating their favorite opponents for a second runner up title. Allan Border lifted the World Cup signaling the resurgence of the Aussies and the death knell of the all conquering West Indies