The final of the World Cup is the biggest stage for any cricketer to leave his mark on the game. And as the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup is all set to get underway, we look back at star performers in World Cup finals over the years. We start with the Prudential World Cup final in 1975 in which West Indies beat Australia by 17 runs.
Clive Lloyd: It is an old saying that a captain must lead from the front. This is exactly what Lloyd did in the first ever World Cup final at Lord's. Batting first West Indies were in deep trouble early on as the Aussies claimed the first three wickets with only 50 runs on the board. However, Lloyd came in and showed no signs of nerve in spite of the big occasion. The bespectacled batsman came in and started blasting the Aussie attack all over the park. Lloyd smashed 102 in 85 balls in an era where T20 was not even heard of. Lloyd hit 12 fours and 2 sixes in the innings, and by the time he was dismissed, the score had progressed to 199.
Gary Gilmour: The Aussie left-arm seamer was his team's hero in the semis, and came up with a fantastic performance in the final as well. He took five Australian wickets, and all of them big scalps -- Kallicharran, Kanhai, Lloyd, Richards and Murray to finish with fantastic figures of 5 for 48 in his 12 overs. In spite of his great bowling effort, Australia finished with a healthy 291 for 8.
Vivian Richards: He did not do much with the bat, but put up a fantastic fielding effort, which played a major role in them lifting their first title. He featured in as many as three run-outs to derail the Australian batting. His victims were the opener Alan Turner and the Chappell brothers. A total of five batsmen were run out during the Australian innings.
Ian Chappell: The Aussie skipper was the only one who put up some resistance in the Aussie chase. Coming in at number three, he made a fine 62 from 93 balls with the aid of 6 fours to give his side a faint hope. He eventually ended up being one of Richards' run-out victims. Australia's score read 162 when Ian was dismissed, the fourth Aussie wicket to fall. They eventually ended up with 274.
The supporting acts: Apart from the leading performers, a few others also chipped in with important performances though it did not seem huge in the context of the game. West Indian Rohan Kanhai made a patient 55 from 105 balls with 8 fours. Jeff Thomson claimed two wickets for Australia, chipping in with Gilmour. Keith Boyce then picked up 4 for 50 to help West Indies thwart the Aussie challenge.
--By A Cricket Analyst