The 1970s was an interesting time for cricket. In 1971, the first ODI was played between Australia and England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and it gave birth to a popular format. A further 18 games were played before the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided to host the first World Cup in 1975. Prudential was the sponsors and thus it was called the Prudential World Cup with the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, England, India and Pakistan being the full members. East Africa and Sri Lanka were the associates and they were invited to make this an eight-team tournament.
West Indies and England dominated the league stages while for India, it was a poor tournament. In their game against England, Sunil Gavaskar’s 174-ball 36 resulted in massive disapproval. They only registered a win against East Africa but they failed to reach the knock-out stages. Australia’s pace battery ensured they reached the semi-finals but they were equally matched by the allround brilliance of the West Indies. The four teams reaching the semi-final were Australia, England, New Zealand and West Indies.
In the first semi-final, Australia bowled out England for 93 with Gary Gilmour taking 6/14. However, Australia collapsed to 39/6 and it took Gilmour’s brilliant, unbeaten 28 to help them reach the final with a three-wicket win. West Indies joined Australia in the final with a convincing five-wicket win over New Zealand. In the summit clash at Lord’s, Clive Lloyd led from the front with a blazing 102 as West Indies reached 291/5. Gilmour was the star again for Australia with 5/48. Ian Chappell kept Australia in the hunt with 62 but West Indies struck at regular intervals with five Australian batsmen getting run-out.
West Indies won by 17 runs and laid a base for a decade of dominance, punctuated by aggressive batsmen and intimidating fast bowlers.
Most runs: Glenn Turner of New Zealand. Runs 333. Average: 166.5
Most wickets: Gary Gilmour of Australia. Wickets 11. Average: 5.63