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the shot that rocked the world; WORLD CUP FINAL AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND MELBOURNE, TOMORROW, 4.30AM This Gatting reverse sweep in the 1987 World Cup final caused outrage (and got him out!).. we'll see that and much, much more in tomorrow's showdown.


EVERYTHING was going according to plan, and England were bang on target, until Mike Gatting attempted something outrageous.

Facing rival captain Allan Border's occasional left-arm dobbers, Gatting top-edged a reverse sweep, Australian wicketkeeper Greg Dyer pouched a simple catch and England, chasing 254 to win the World Cup final, fell seven runs short.

Honestly, who would be audacious enough to unfurl something as risky as a reverse sweep in a one-day final? Next we'll have batsmen attempting a ramp over the keeper's head, or switch-hits for six.

For purists brought up on trotting singles down to third man or nurdling everything through mid-wicket at four runs an over, such extravagance will never catch on... will it? Some dinosaurs back here still tut-tut at Gatting's doomed bravado against the Aussies at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, in 1987.

No wonder the only Englishman involved in tomorow's final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground will be umpire Richard Kettleborough. "I do allow myself a wry smile when I look back and think of the reaction to that shot," said Gatting last night. "But it's a sign of how much the game has moved on that attitudes to unorthodox strokes have changed since then.

"I played it because Allan set a 6-3 field, packed on the leg side, and I was trying to exploit the large gaps on the off side. Ultimately, it was like every other dismissal - any shot which gets you out is a crap shot. I don't regret trying it, I just regret the way it turned out." Since their first World Cup triumph at Gatting's expense, Australia have won the trophy three more times.

Their bid for a record fifth win, on home soil against New Zealand at the MCG, pits the co-hosts - and two best teams - against each other for the climax of a tournament which started so long ago that England were still in it.

In the duel of the world's sharpest left-arm quicks, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc's firepower against Kiwi southpaw Trent Boult will be a key battleground.

And although New Zealand bat a long way down, as they demonstrated in their classic semifinal eclipse of South Africa, the Aussies will target captain Brendon McCullum as the key wicket.

Gatting said: "I hope it's a close game. A lot of neutrals would love to see the Kiwis win it, but I suspect home advantage makes the Aussies slight favourites. They have such a heavy artillery with the bat - Aaron Finch, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith - that they will take some stopping."

Fair dinkum - but just one word of advice, cobbers. If New Zealand need six off the final ball to win or tie tie match, don't resort to an under-arm grubber along the deck like Trevor Chappell's notorious cop-out at the MCG in 1981.


GATT'S YOUR LOT Mike Gatting is caught by Greg Dyer attempting a reverse sweep in the '87 final

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Mar 28, 2015
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