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Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Viv Richards' 189* - best ODI knock ever played

Viv Richards
Viv Richards

May 31, 1984 - By the mid-80s, Viv Richards had established himself as the greatest ODI player across the world. On the West Indies tour of England in 1984, came an inning which is regarded by many, even to this day, as the best ODI knock ever played.

1984 is a memorable year in cricket but not for the England fans who witnessed Sir Viv's iconic ODI innings succeeded by a 5-0 'blackwash' in the Test series.

In the first ODI on the West Indies tour to England, the visitors were in a spot of bother. Desmond Haynes had been a part of a misunderstanding with opening partner Gordon Greenidge and was run out. Greenidge followed him to the pavilion, nicking off to an away swinger from Ian Botham.

Richie Richardson was caught and bowled by Bob Willis. England spinner Geoff Miller then came into the game and bowled a peach which pitched on leg and took away Larry Gomes' off stump. Clive Lloyd and Jeff Dujon tried to sweep their way out of the rut but both were dismissed in the process.

When Malcolm Marshall was run out in the 26th over and West Indies had just crossed the 100-run mark, the visitors stared at an early wrap-up. The good thing for them though was that Viv Richards was still at the crease unbeaten on 65, having seen one batsman after another walk back to the pavilion, so much so that no one apart from him had even reached double digits yet.

No. 8 Eldine Baptiste then did well to to stem the tide of wickets with a 49-ball stay at the crease. He added more than 50 runs with Viv but was dismissed by Ian Botham. With Richards on 96, the West Indies score read 166/9.

Out walked Michael Holding with a Test batting average of 13.78. Holding showed a lot of composure that day and allowed Richards to complete his century. Once the milestone was reached, the King went all out.

None of the England bowlers were spared. Ian Botham was first to face the carnage, followed by Derek Pringle and Neil Foster. David Gower tried to choke Richards' boundaries by packing the leg side field but Richards moved away from the wickets to open up the off side.

In the 1980s, with T20 cricket still two decades away, this was unprecedented. Richards was truly ahead of his time as he struck his way to a 106-run unbeaten partnership with Holding for the last wicket, with the master scoring 93 of those.

The big man finished unbeaten on 189, with 21 boundaries and five sixes that came off 170 deliveries. 86 of his runs came off his last 58 balls. Richards and Holding walked back to a thundering round of applause.

In 1984, 272 was too much to ask of England, especially against the decorated bowling attack of the Calypso Kings. Despite a 75 from Allan Lamb, three from Joel Garner and two each from Michael Holding and Richards himself, meant that England were bowled out for 168.

Years later, the King articulated his philosophy which led to the onslaught that day, "My first thought would be to be aggressive, looking to put you under pressure, which sometimes - depends on who you are - some guys just basically collapsed. Then you have a command over them. This is how I looked at it. If you could not do that, then you had to be respectful because there are deliveries that need to be respected."

West Indies kicked the tour off with a 104-run victory - still remembered for the best ODI knock ever played.


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