The 1992 World Cup was the first ever to feature nine teams thanks to the inclusion of South Africa to the fold. And in one of the first few games of the tournament, India took on the hosts Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane. Both sides had gone into the game without any wins under their belt and knew that a loss here would make qualification a difficult task for them.
Australia batted first after winning the toss and after losing two early wickets of Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh, the innings was resurrected by David Boon’s 43 and a fine 108-ball innings of 90 runs by Dean Jones. Manoj Prabhakar brought about a late-order collapse and the side was restricted to 237/9 in the 50 overs.
The target was not a huge one but at Brisbane, where the pace bowlers were always going to get some help from the track, it was going to be a stiff one. >
India began very slowly after losing Krish Srikkanth for a duck and were 45/1 in the 17th over. Rain came down at this stage and it meant that there was a loss of three overs from the stipulated 50 overs but due to one of the strangest rain rules in the competition, only two runs were deducted off the target. >
In the end, it was the strangeness of this rule that seemed to cost India, who were woken up from their slumber after the rain break. Shastri was soon dismissed for 25 and so was Sachin Tendulkar but a run-a-ball 21 from Kapil Dev and Mohammad Azharuddin’s 93 brought the Indians back on track.
In fact, at 194/4, the Indians had wickets in hand but did not have too many deliveries left. Sanjay Manjrekar smacked a 42-ball 47 but when he was dismissed, India needed 20 runs to win off the last two overs with three wickets standing.
Seven came off the penultimate over which meant that the Indian team needed 13 off the last over with Kiran More on strike. Tom Moody’s first couple of deliveries were sent to the fine-leg fence by More to reduce the target to five needed from four but he was dismissed when he tried another such stroke off the third ball. A single and a run-out later, India needed four to win off the last ball.
Javagal Srinath was on strike and he half-pulled and half-swatted the ball towards the long-on fence. Steve Waugh dropped the catch and the Indians had run two in the mean time. Venkatapathy Raju tried to attempt the third run but he was too slow to make his crease as the wicket-keeper David Boon whipped the bails off to run him out.
Australia had won a thriller by a single run.