Sir Vivian Richards, renowned as the greatest batsman of all time, played several blistering knocks as West Indies dominated the world of cricket in the 80’s. Many years before the T20 format came into the picture and changed the way the game is played, the legendary batsman put on an exhibition of power hitting against England during an unforgettable day at the Old Trafford.
In May 1984, the Caribbean side toured England to play three ODIs and five Tests. The mighty Windies put in one solid performance after another and it started with that three-match ODI series in Manchester. The series opener not only signalled the start to a very long and painful summer for the Englishmen, who would ultimately end up being “blackwashed" (5-0) by the visitors in the five Test matches that followed.
In the first ODI (May 31, 1984) the Antiguan legend essayed perhaps the greatest ODI innings ever with a spellbinding unbeaten 189 runs which shook the spirits of the hosts at Old Trafford.
However, things didn’t start off as planned for the visitors in England. Clive Lloyd led-side elected to bat first but were soon in a deep hole at 102/7. Richards walked in to bat at number four with the score at 11/2. He held the fort even as seven top-order batsmen were already back in the pavilion. He first paired with Eldine Baptiste to add 59 runs for the eighth wicket.
Once Baptiste and Joel Garner were then dismissed in quick succession, England once again got a firm grip on the match. But they had one last hurdle and it was a huge one. With the score at 166/9, last man Michael Holding strolled out to bat, the duo put on an unbeaten stand of 106 runs for the last wicket, Richards scoring 93 of them. Their knocks helped the Calypso Kings finish with 272/9 in their quota of 55 overs.
Richards, in his majestic innings made 189 not out from just 170 balls, a knock that included 21 fours and five sixes. His last 58 balls produced 86 runs which included nine fours and five sixes, which still stands as the greatest ODI innings ever played. The West Indies won the match by 104 runs and the series 2-1. It is fair to say that Richards 189 was the highlight of the match and the tour.