With cricket fever about to hit Melbourne thanks to the arrival of the ICC World Cup, a City of Melbourne employee wound back the clock to reminisce about the last time our great city hosted the iconic tournament….
I can still remember the moment I fell in love with cricket. It was 12 March, 1992, and I was attending my very first one-day international match that didn’t feature Australia – an England v South Africa clash at the mighty MCG – a round robin match as part of the 1992 ICC Cricket World Cup. I was 11 years old.
The Proteas started well with the bat, posting a healthy 4/236 from their 50 overs. In reply, England was 0/62 from 12 overs when the heavens opened, soaking Dad and I on the top level at the Punt Road End, as well as the pitch. Wikipedia tells me that 43 minutes of play was lost, but it felt like an eternity…especially since we’d forgotten our umbrella.
As play resumed, England came back out needing to make a revised total of 226 in just 41 overs. It was pre-Duckworth-Lewis days and an alternative system was applied to generate the target (incidentally, the Duckworth-Lewis Method would emerge following this tournament after rain would destroy South Africa’s chances of making the final 10 days later…ironically in the semi against England).
It didn’t seem fair. I shared the indignation of the Barmy Army and joined in their chants of protest. We celebrated every English run and bellowed as the mighty Proteas attack was dismantled. With one ball remaining, what seemed unfathomable more than three hours earlier, became reality. The Poms got home in a thriller!
I went to bed that night enamoured with world cricket and knew that if I ever got an opportunity to see another World Cup game live again, I’d take my place among the masses at the home of cricket.
On February 14, 22, 26, and March 19 and 29, 2015, our city will get its chance again.
Bring it on!
If you can’t make it down to the MCG, head to the Official ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Fan Zone at Birrarung Marr.
Looking for more cricket-related things to do in Melbourne?
Check out the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame at the National Sports Museum or soak up some cricket history over a beer at the Hotel Windsor’s Cricketers Bar. If you’re feeling a bit more active, pick up some cricket gear at the Greg Chappell Cricket Centre and head to one of Melbourne’s many parks for a game.