Watch: Against New Zealand at Nagpur in 1987, Chetan Sharma became the first bowler to complete a hat-trick in the history of World Cup cricket.
In Group A of the 1987 World Cup, Australia had won five matches out of six. India, having won four out of five, needed a big win against New Zealand to top the group (and avoid Pakistan, who had thrashed them 5-1 the previous year on Indian soil, in the semi-final).
New Zealand batted well, but there was no individual fifty (Dipak Patel top-scored with 45). They were 182-5 in 41 overs when Kapil Dev recalled Chetan Sharma, who had, until then, bowled five ordinary overs.
Ken Rutherford played out the first three balls of the over. Off the fourth, an off-cutter, he attempted a (perhaps unexpected) cross-batted slog, and missed the ball completely. He missed the line completely and was clean bowled.
Ian Smith was next. The next ball was straight, and perhaps stayed lower than Smith expected, and he did not make any attempt to move his feet. The ball hit off and middle, and pegged the off-stump back.
Ewen Chatfield walked out, in a white helmet with a visor (unlike Rutherford and Smith, who batted in floppy hats). Sharma took his time to discuss the field with Kapil, his state and national captain. Then he pitched up, Chatfield missed the line completely, and the leg-stump was knocked out.
Sharma – the third bowler to do the hat-trick in ODIs (after Jalaluddin and Bruce Reid) and the first in the World Cup – leapt in ecstasy, punched the air, knelt on the ground as he was mobbed by his teammates, then fell flat on his back.
New Zealand made 221-9. To go past Australia, India needed to win inside 42.2 overs. The onslaught was led by Sunil Gavaskar, who had made 36 across 60 overs in a chase of 333 twelve years ago. Battling a temperature, Gavaskar made 103 not out in 88 balls – his only ODI hundred – while Srikkanth got 75 in 58 balls. India reached the target in 32.1 overs.
India’s World Cup journey ended in an anticlimax, for England knocked them out in the semi-final.