Reverse sweep to disaster

Reverse sweep to disaster

Pages from the past

In the history of the cricket World Cup, many moments have remained etched in the minds of players and fans alike. Some are moments of joy and success while some tell us sad stories.

For former England captain Mike Gatting, his shocking shot selection in the final of the 1987 edition will remain as the moment when the World Cup was lost.

Up against their traditional rivals Australia, who were considered outsiders for the event, England did well to restrict their opponents to 253. Chasing the total, Graham Gooch and Bill Athey put on a 66-run stand to steady things for England after the early loss of opener for Tim Robinson for a duck.

The middle order, anchored by Gatting and Allan Lamb, showed the much needed resistance and composure as England were coasting towards their first World Cup triumph till the surprise moment arrived.

At 135 for two, England got the biggest jolt as Gatting effected a reverse sweep off Allan Border, only to miscue it and get dismissed, starting the slide for his team.

Border, bowling left-arm orthodox spin, had tossed one up around the off stump and Gatting, not generally known for experimenting, attempted the reverse sweep only to hand a simple catch to wicket-keeper Greg Dyer, who almost dropped the ball out of sheer surprise.

The error proved to be disastrous as England lost control  and collapsed under pressure. A well settled Allan Lamb (45) could not take his side across the finish line and Australia clinched the crown by seven runs. Gatting will always be remembered for taking his side so close yet failing to a needless attempt.