Sunday, July 14, 2019

England vs Pakistan: The cricket world cup 40 years ago

Ten years ago I wrote about my memories of watching England's Headingley victory over Pakistan in the 1979 cricket world cup:
It was a typically seam-friendly Headingley wicket and England, batting first, made only 165 - the highest scorer was Graham Gooch with 33. I remember Sikander Bakht bowling very well for Pakistan. 
What followed was a display of the tactical genius of the England captain Mike Brearley. He had four frontline seamers and he bowled them out to take wickets. Mike Hendrick's figures were particularly good: 12-6-15-4. 
The game ended with Phil Edmonds and Geoff Boycott bowling at the Pakistani tale and England squeaked home, bowling them out for 151. 
A lesser captain - indeed almost any other captain - would have fitted Edmonds' overs in somewhere in the middle of the innings, taken the pressure off the Pakistani batsmen and lost the game.
I have found the highlights of that day on YouTube. It shows a different style of cricket to the one we shall see at Lord's later today: one much closer to the test game. But that may be in part a function of the superiority of ball over bat that day.

The video does show that my memories were more or less correct. Geoff Boycott did bowl at the death while wearing his cap.

Sadly though, my suggestion that he had it "turned back to front like Benny Hill's Fred Scuttle" turns out not to be correct.

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