Steady Richards softens Indians

Blast from the past

 Viv RichardsAnd if the Windies had to get even with Kapil Dev and company, they needed their best batsman Viv Richards to fire from the front. Fire he did, but it wasn’t a typical Richards innings. The audacious stroke-maker, the sixth man to get out, shed his flamboyance and instead adopted a dour approach. The right-hander notched up a measured 119 off 148 balls that contained just seven boundaries -- six fours and a six -- but he was involved in two vital partnerships (101 with Desmond Haynes for the second wicket and 80 in 14 overs with Clive Lloyd for the third wicket) that powered West Indies to a winning total of 282.

Up against a challenging total and an even more daunting attack, the Indians, however, weren’t going to go down without a fight. The openers were gone in a jiffy, reducing India to 21 for two. But Mohinder Amarnath and Dilip Vengsarkar revived hopes with a 68-run association when the latter retired hurt. Sandip Patil raised a few hopes before he perished. Yashpal Sharma, who had struck 89 in India’s previous win over the Windies, was out cheaply delivering India a might blow. Amarnath (80) waged a lone battle but it wasn’t good enough to scale the target as India crashed to a 66-run defeat.

The gum-chewing, free-flowing Richards once again appeared to upset India’s applecart when he blazed to a quickfire 33 in the final, threatening to make short work of India’s modest 183 in the final, but Kapil stopped him from doing an encore by bringing up a jaw-dropping catch off Madan Lal.

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