On this Day: Winston Davis created history on World Cup debut

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Winston Davis created history
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Many cricketers with the ability to make it big have been unable to play at the highest level on a continuous basis due to the continual presence of a few excellent players in the XI. Winston Davis, a fast bowler for the West Indies, is one such example.

In the 1983 World Cup game against Australia, Davis was given a shot in the starting XI due to a slew of substitutions. And when he got his chance, he seized it with both hands, bowling 7 for 51 in only his second 50-over match for the West Indies — the best-ever bowling numbers in One-Day International (ODI) history at the time.

West Indies and Australia met at Headingley for the second match, both anxious for a win. Australia got off to a strong start. The innings was revitalized to some extent by Larry Gomes and Lloyd before the latter was caught in front for 19 and the score was 78 for 4.

As Australia appeared to be closing in on limiting the Windies to a respectable total, the West Indies needed a partner from someplace.

That’s when Gomes and Faoud Bacchus teamed together. Wickets were crucial for West Indies at the time, and they stitched a helpful partnership while keeping theirs intact.

With a two-to-deep point off Allan Border, Gomes hit fifty. With West Indies on 160 for 5, Gomes on 60, and Jeff Dujon on 5, the day’s play had to be called off. Lawson caught Border leg-before at the other end after Gomes lofted Border over wide mid-on for four and square-drove him for four more.

Hughes pulled Lillee back, and Gomes square-cut him for four almost immediately. Lillee made a tremendous comeback to catch Andy Roberts behind down the leg, and he followed it up with the key wicket: Gomes attempted to square-cut him one too many times, Lillee found the top-edge, and Gomes walked.

Michael Holding and Wayne Daniel had no choice but to aim for the kill with the score at 211 for 8. They put up a good show, scoring 36 runs off 25 balls before Holding was run out on the final ball of the innings. West Indies scored a respectable 252 for 9 in their last innings.

West Indies never looked back when Roberts bowled Wessels for 11 runs and Holding hit Graeme Hood in the head with a powerful bouncer, forcing him to retire injured. Following the initial damage done by Roberts and Holding, Davis assumed command.

The Australian skipper had already smashed a couple of sixes when he played one too many shots and a square-cut fell into Lloyd’s glad clutches at first slip. After that, David Hookes and Yallop put up a useful stance. They were scoring at a rapid rate, and at 114 for 2, Australia appeared to be in a position where they might win the game.

Davis, who is 24 years old, had other plans. Yallop and Hughes were fired in rapid succession, while Holder replaced Rod Marsh at the opposite end of the field.

With Allan Border still at the bat, Australia needed another 114 from 192 deliveries, and keeping their wickets intact was crucial.

The Australian batsmen, on the other hand, were unable to maintain their composure, as Lawson’s heave found an outside edge to Dujon, followed by Border’s major scalp when he top-edged a frantic slog to Lloyd. Davis had a 6-for in the 31st over of the innings, becoming only the second bowler in World Cup history to do so.

The last nail in the coffin came when Davis cleaned up Dennis Lillee, enabling his team to win by 101 runs and becoming the first bowler to have a seven-wicket haul not only in a World Cup match but also in an ODI.

After the match

Zimbabwe failed to win a single match in the tournament after defeating Australia in the first match. India knocked Australia out of the tournament in the group stages.

India, who were underdogs going into the event, beat West Indies in the final to win their first title.

In his following four World Cup matches, Davis could add just one more wicket to his tally.

Davis was paralyzed from the neck down following a hit to his spinal cord when he fell from a tree in 1998. He currently leads the ‘Winston Davis Trust,’ a charity that aids disabled persons in the United Kingdom.

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