Bengaluru, Feb 9: It was the first-ever hat-trick in a World Cup and a kind of rebirth for Chetan Sharma for one-and-half-years before that, it was the same bowler who gave away a six to a batsman of arch-rivals Pakistan in Sharjah in the final ball of the match and drew flak from the fans. [WC feats: Kapil Dev blasted 175* against Zimbabwe in 1983]
The World Cup match was against New Zealand and it was India's last in the group stage. Although the defending champions of that edition were playing great under Kapil Dev and had all their four matches played till then, but Australia were also doing the same. [WC feats: Sourav's 183 floored Sri Lanka in 1999]
India were through to the semifinals but yet had to beat the Kiwis convincingly so that they could pip Australia to clinch the first place in the group and avoid an equally strong Pakistan in the last four and that too in on the latter's home soil.
New Zealand were 182 for 5 in 41 overs when Chetan Sharma came to bowl
Played in Nagpur on October 31, New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe had won the toss and elected to bat first. They were decently placed with 182 for 5 after 41 overs and with some decent bats to come, the visitors were looking favourites to go past 240 and throw a challenge to India.
First went Rutherford
It was then when Sharma came to bowl his sixth over. After bowling five ordinary overs, Sharma started a good over with three dot balls. The bowler was known for his knack of producing a sudden delivery that could surprise the batsman. And this time, Ken Rutherford, who was on 26 off 53 balls then, was at the receiving end.
Sharma's fourth delivery was a sharp in-cutter and disturbed Rurtherford's furniture.
Second was Ian Smith
Wicket-keeper Ian Smith walked in and faced a similar delivery that came back and kept low. It was too much of an ask for a new batsman to negotiate with such a ball and it was two in two for Sharma. Suddenly, New Zealand were 182 for 7.
Bowling all-rounder Ewen Chatfield was the man to face the next delivery that had kept the entire country glued to the match for never had any Indian produced a hat-trick before and never had the feat been achieved in a World Cup.
Chatfield gone in the third delivery
Sharma had a long chat with captain Kapil and then raced in to ball the final delivery of the over. This one was a bit fuller than the previous two and Chatfield shuffled so much across with his left leg that the ball found the stumps through his legs. The Kiwis were reduced to 182 for 8 and their final score was 221, much lesser than what was projected.
Gavaskar hit his only one-day century
India reached home with over 17 overs in hand and finished at the top of the group with a better run-rate than Australia to set up a semi-final date with England. Sunil Gavaskar remained unbeaten on 103 off 88 balls, his only century in one-day cricket.
Both Sharma and Gavaskar were adjudged the men of the match. However, Sharma's feat remained untouched till 1999 when Pakistan's Saqlain Mushtaq took the scond World Caup hat-trick against Zimbabwe.