West Indies Emerge as Favorites for Inaugural 1975 Cricket World Cup

This is a classic article about when the West Indies emerged as favorites for the inaugural 1975 Cricket World Cup a day before. June 20, 1975: Will it be the experience of Clive Lloyd’s West Indians or the toughness and implacable dislike of losing Ian Chappell and his Australians? That is the question the 22,000 spectators will see answered when the magnificent World Cup 1975 reaches its climax in tomorrow’s final at Lord’s.
Australia and the West Indies are unquestionably the most powerful and attractive teams among the eight who started. Yet each has narrowly dodged the guillotine to reach the final. No one could guess from a cursory glance at the West Indies record (four matches’ four victories) that they were within a single ball of being eliminated in the qualifying stage. Yet if Pakistan had been able to stop Deryck Murray and Andy Roberts from adding 64 runs for the last wicket at Edgbaston a week ago last Wednesday, that would almost certainly have been the case.
The West Indies were in danger of being squeezed out on scoring rates, despite the presence of seven batsmen in the side who have scored centuries in the Test match. If Pakistan had won that game, giving them eight points each, their 60-over score of 330 for six against Sri Lanka compared to the West Indies’ 81 for one off 20.4 overs would probably have been enough to take them to the semi-finals.
As the West Indies captain Clive Lloyd said, we hadn’t prayed, but the West Indies made it. And there were 10 minutes or so against England at Headingley this week after Australia had crashed to 39 for six in pursuit of 94 to win, and then they hadn’t a prayer either. Then along came Gary Gilmour, Australia’s bowling hero of the morning, to make the top score of the match, and Australia had made it by a whisker.
So for the second time in eight days, London will be able to compare the electrifying speed of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson with that of Andy Roberts on a Lord’s pitch, which hopefully won’t kill their pace (on impact as’ happened at the Oval).
The West Indies are favorites in tomorrow’s match, and one cannot argue with the logic of that. With the possibility of Roy Fredrick who played for Glamorgan County until 1973. Every member of tomorrow”s team is familiar with all the wrinkles of one-clay cricket.
Additionally, they have greater depth in batting with as dangerous a man as Keith Boyce at number 9. You know that the same Keith Boyce, who little more than a month ago was making the fastest county championship century since 1937 against England, as Ray Illingworth and Jack Birkenshaw, on a turning pitch. And to cap it off, the West Indies beat Australia by seven wickets in the Oval rehearsal. What more evidence is needed that the match is in the West Indies’ pockets?
One piece of evidence that suggests that the West Indies will find it much tougher tomorrow than they did last week is that at the Oval, Australians did not get the best out of themselves. Their fast bowlers bowled too short, especially on a low wicket. This helped the West Indies batsmen play some of their favorite back-foot wrist shots. Australians will surely not make the same mistake again.
In addition, Australians have a habit of overcoming the West Indies even when the odds are against them. There have been repeated instances in Tests—one notable occasion in Port of Spain—when Australia has somehow emerged from seemingly impossible situations. The fact is that Australians, more than any other team in the world, hate losing. This factor may help balance out the added depth of talent in the West Indies. The West Indies are my tip to win.
West Indies Emerge as Favorites for Inaugural 1975 Cricket World Cup
The West Indies emerged as favorites for the inaugural 1975 Cricket World Cup. Source