Bengaluru, May 16: There are players in history who chose the ICC Cricket World Cups as the stage of their best performances.
Since the inaugural edition in 1975, there have been several instances when cricketers excelled at the business end to carve a niche for themselves in the quadrennial extravaganza.
From the late Gary Gilmour of Australia to Grant Elliott of New Zealand as the recent-most example, the list is endless.
Here we look at certain individuals who came up with magical performances in both the semifinals and finals of a World Cup in its 44-year history.
Gary Gilmour (Australia), 1975
The left-arm pacer with golden hair played just two games in the World Cup and they were the semifinal and final of the 1975 edition held in England.
Gilmour destroyed hosts England with 6 for 14 in the semifinal (he also chipped in with the bat when Australia faced trouble chasing just 94) and then in the final, he took 5 for 48 against the West Indies although Australia finished second-best on that occasion. Gilmour was the man of the match in the semifinal.
Viv Richards (West Indies), 1979
The Caribbean king had batted England out in the 1979 World Cup final by slamming 138 off 157 balls – a record which was bettered years later by Ricky Ponting in 2003.
The knock saw the West Indies winning their second final by 92 runs. However, Richards also had a significant contribution for his side’s win in the semifinal against Pakistan who the WI beat by 43 runs.
In that game, Richards first scored 42 and then chipped in with 3 for 52 to be one of the architects of a grand Pakistani collapse. Richards was the man of the match in the final.
Mohinder Amarnath (India), 1983
A vital cog in Kapil’s ‘Dev’ils’ in the historic 1983 edition was Mohinder Amarnath. In the semifinal against England, the military medium pacer took 2 for 27, dismissing David Gower and Mike Gatting, and then scored a crucial 46 to give the Indian innings a stability.
In the final, Amarnath matched Madan Lal to pick three wickets after scoring 26 to deny the West Indies what looked an easy win. Amarnath won the man of the man awards in both games.
David Boon (Australia), 1987
Australian opener David Boon was a key architect of his team’s wins in the semifinal and final in 1987.
While he scored 65 off 91 against Pakistan in the semifinal in Lahore, he top scored for his side in the final too against England in Kolkata (then Calcutta) with a 75 in 125 balls. Boon, who is currently an ICC match referee, was adjudged the man of the match in the final.
Mike Veletta (Australia), 1987
Veletta, the Western Australian batsman, was never a big name in international cricket, but he had made a mark for Australia in the semifinal and final of the 1987 edition, just like Boon.
In the semifinal Veletta’s 50-ball 48 at No.5 gave the Australian innings the much-needed momentum in the middle overs they eventually won by 18 runs.
In the final, Veletta made a crucial 45 not out in 30 balls that again helped Australia to prevail over the opponents, by just seven runs. His contributions though were overshadowed by Craig McDermott in the semifinal and Boon in the final.
Imran Khan (Pakistan), 1992
The two games that Pakistan played out of their skin in the 1992 World Cup were the semifinal and final.
In the semifinal, favourites New Zealand scored 262 for seven and Pakistan gave it a chase with all their might. Skipper Imran came out at No.3 to score 44 which laid the foundation for the win.
In the final, Pakistan batted first and Imran led from the front to score 72.
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pakistan), 1992
A young Inzamam scored scored a brisk 60 off 37 balls at No.6 to give the finishing touches in the semifinal (an effort which won him the man-of-the-match award) to signal his arrival on the international stage.
In the final, while Imran led from the front Inzamam hit 42 off 35 balls to take his team to a winning total.
Aravinda de Silva (Sri Lanka), 1996
De Silva, one of the best batsmen Sri Lanka have produced in history, played a pivotal role in the 1996 World Cup to ensure his team’s maiden world title.
In the semifinal in Calcutta, his counter-attacking 66 off 47 balls against India after Lanka lost two of their explosive openers played a big part in the win.
In the final, De Silva scored 107 off 124 balls against Australia to become the third batsman to score a hundred in World Cup final after Lloyd and Richards. Sri Lanka won the final by seven wickets and De Silva was adjudged the man of the match on both occasions.
Shane Warne (Australia), 1999
The spin wizard became the third player after Amarnath and De Silva and the first non-Asian to win the man of the match awards in both the semifinal and final of World Cup and it happened in the 1999 edition in England.
In the historic semifinal against South Africa at Edgbaston, Warne scored 18 runs and then took 4 for 29 to derail the Proteas’ chase of a modest total of 214.
In the final at Lord’s, he wrecked Pakistan with 4 for 33 to give Australia their second world title in 12 years.
Grant Elliott (New Zealand), 2015
There were no consistent performances by any player in the semifinal and final in the next 16 years till New Zealand’s South Africa-born batsman Grant Ellott did it in 2015.
In the semifinal in Auckland, his 84 not out in 73 balls packed the Proteas off from a World Cup semifinal yet again
In the final against Australia in Melbourne, Elliott’s 83 off 82 balls was all that the Black Caps had to be proud of as New Zealand lost by seven wickets. Elliott was the man of the match in the semifinal.
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