Sunday, March 9, 2014

Reliance Cricket World Cup 1987 : Excerpt from ‘The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011’ by Indra Vikram Singh

India’s surprise win in 1983 strengthened the claims of the sub-continent to stage the event. The cricketing world thus travelled to a new destination in 1987, with India and Pakistan jointly hosting the event. The sponsorship also changed hands with Reliance Industries underwriting the effort. There was a new trophy too, a gold-plated cup, studded at the top with diamonds, and flags of all the participating nations embossed all round. It was crafted by Arun Industries of Jaipur and cost Rs.600,000 ($42,260).

The sponsorship amount was about Rupees fifty million (£2.17 million), inclusive of title sponsorship, in-stadia advertising and merchandising rights. The prize money increased to £99,300 ($160,000), with the winners receiving £30,000 and the runners-up £12,000. The losing semi-finalists got £6,000 each. The guarantee money this time was £200,000 to Test-playing countries, and £170,000 to Zimbabwe. Amazing, though, it may seem today, Doordarshan paid nothing for television rights. Still, the gross earnings from the tournament were estimated to be $12 million.

With shorter hours of daylight during the northern winter, the number of overs to be bowled per innings was curtailed from 60, which was the norm in the first three World Cups, to 50. Innings of 50 overs came to be accepted universally thereafter in One-day matches. In Group A were Australia, India, New Zealand and Zimbabwe, who had qualified by winning the ICC Trophy for the second successive time in 1986. Group B comprised England, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

The sentimental favourites were India and Pakistan, but both were upset in the semi-finals. First Australia defeated Pakistan, and next day England beat India. The final between the Ashes rivals was a keen affair. Australia narrowly beat England to lift the Reliance World Cup and signal their climb towards new peaks in world cricket.

The final:
Eden Gardens, Calcutta, 8 November 1987
Australia won by 7 runs
Australia: 253 for 5 wickets in 50 overs (David Boon 75, Dean Jones 33, Allan Border 31, Mike Veletta 45 not out)
England: 246 for 8 wickets in 50 overs (Graham Gooch 35, Bill Athey 58, Mike Gatting 41, Allan Lamb 45)
Man of the Match: David Boon

(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email

The Big Book of World Cup Cricket 1975-2011
ISBN 978-81-901668-4-3

Distributed in India by Variety Book Depot, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Phones + 91 11 23417175, 23412567

Available in leading bookshops, and online on several websites.

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