Posted by: nestaquin | March 24, 2008

Adam Gilchrist: Part Five

100 off 72There have been some impressive centuries compiled in World Cup finals since the first was played in front of an overwhelmingly joyous Caribbean crowd at Lords way back in 1975.

In that first final Clive Lloyd played the consumate captain’s innings. Four years later Vivian Richards took the match away from the hosts England with an unbeaten 138 and in 1996 Aravinda de Silva showed he was a master of timing the ball and the chase with a chanceless innings of 107.

Four years ago at the Wanderers Johannesburg, Australian captain Ricky Ponting hit eight sixes in a boisterous knock of 140 not out from 121 balls but even that innings appears pedestrian when compared to his deputy’s 149 at the 2007 tournament.

Gilchrist gave the Sri Lankans not only a lashing but a flagellation. It was without argument the most blistering innings seen in a World Cup final and what was most surprising about it was Gilly’s lack of touch in the lead up and during the tournament.

He had only half centuries against Netherlands and Bangladesh in his ten games previous and his form was as ordinary as at any time in his career.

By the time Gilchrist reached his century halfway through the 20th over Australia were 147/0 and the match effectively over. To try and give some perspective to the stunning brilliance of Gilly’s innings consider that the batsman of the tournament Matthew Hayden, who had dominated and eviscarated attacks regularly, was only 37 at the time of his opening partner’s milestone.

It was an innings of pure genius on the biggest sporting stage the game has to offer and rather than write about Gilly’s grandeur I think it’s best if you watch it yourself. If you are like me and the sound of willow hitting leather is music to your ears you’ll enjoy the clean hitting on offer in this clip.

Adam Gilchrist will unarguably be regarded in the decades that follow as one of the all-time great cricketers. He has revolutionised the game and set the standard for wicketkeepers the world over. Through his skill, determination and often selfless actions his legacy is guaranteed. Cricket is a richer game for his participation.

And we shouldn’t forget that Adam isn’t quite finished yet. I for one will be watching his progress closely, behind and in front of the stumps, when he pulls on the beige and black kit of the Deccan Chargers in the upcoming Indian Premier League. I suggest you do the same. Gilly still has a few blistering knocks left in him.

Tomorrow: Something completely different and far more cerebral from our man in Tooting.

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Responses

  1. Amazing to see those World Cup Final innings listed like that – even better to think that I saw all of them on telly.

    I would contend that Clive Lloyd’s knock in 1975 was an almost perfect innings. He arrives at the crease with the Windies 3-50 with just the tyro Viv Richards, the bowlers and specialist keeper to come. He then makes 102 off 85 balls in a partnership of 149 with old head Rohan Kanhai. This in the days of full boundaries, no fielding restrictions, plank bats and against an Aus attack that wasn’t too shabby. Awesome, just awesome.

    For good measure, he then bowled a full hand of 12 overs (38-1), all the time captaining the side so successfully that he forced five run outs.

    Here’s the card http://uk.cricinfo.com/link_to_database/ARCHIVE/WORLD_CUPS/WC75/WI_AUS_WC75_ODI-FINAL_21JUN1975.html.

    As with so much of what the immortals do, it’s best not to quibble over which innings was the better, but just give thanks that such men moved amongst us and that we could witness it on television.


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