Kevin Curran dead

Kevin Curran dead

Kevin Curran’s 11 ODI-long career might be a mere footnote in international cricket. But on June 18, 1983, the Zimbabwean all-rounder, who died on Wednesday aged 53 at Mutare, nearly spoiled India’s World Cup campaign at the Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells.

On that day, a match that has now found its permanent place in the cricketing folklore, began on a wrong note for India. Two little-known Zimbabwe pacers, Curran and Peter Rawson, rattled India’s top-order, winkling out five batsmen for just 17 runs, and Curran accounted for Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Sandeep Patil.

It required an all-time great innings (175 n.o. off 138 balls) from Kapil Dev to take India to a competitive 266. But the Indians ran into Curran for a second time in the match when Zimbabwe began their chase. Regular strikes by Indian pacers never allowed the African side to settle down, and an Indian victory seemed a forgone conclusion until Curran walked in.

The right-hander smashed a 73 which at one stage threatened to make things tough for India, but Madan Lal dismissed Curran to ensure that India would emerge unscathed from that must-win encounter. But then the start of Curran’s international career too saw an upset of gigantic proportions. On June 9, Zimbabwe defeated Australia by 13 runs -- a shock treatment to one of cricket’s traditional powerhouses.

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