On 31st October 1987, Indian right-arm pacer Chetan Sharma created a history by becoming the first ever bowler to claim a hat-trick in the World Cup history.
It was the group stage (Group A) match between the defending champions & the hosts India and New Zealand at VCA Ground (Nagpur). Playing their final group stage match, though India has already qualified for the semi-final along with Australia from this group and New Zealand has already secured to end their tournament journey by finishing at the third position in Group A, it was still an important game for the hosts to finish as group champion with a large victory.
New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe decided to bat first after winning the toss, but their every batsman failed to capitalise their starts. New Zealand was losing their wickets in regular intervals but Chetan Sharma’s hat-trick put them into a big trouble at the crucial situation and restricted them to a low total.
In three consecutive deliveries, the right-arm Indian pacer dismissed the set batsman Ken Rutherford (26), wicketkeeper-batsman Ian Smith (0) and Ewen Chatfield (0) as New Zealand went down from 182/5 to 182/8. All those batsmen were bowled by Chetan Sharma.
New Zealand managed to score 221/9 at the end of 50 overs as only Dipak Patel (40) and the opener John Wright (35) reached the 30-run marks. Chetan Sharma was the only bowler in that game to take more than one wicket as he had a bowling figure of 10-2-51-3.
In reply, Indian opening batsmen Kris Srikkanth and Sunil Gavaskar provided a powerful start that made easy for the hosts to chase that target. The openers had a 136-run partnership where Srikkanth played a firing knock of 75 off 58 balls (9 fours and 3 sixes) before losing his wicket.
Gavaskar carried the innings till the end with the help of the no.3 batsman Mohammad Azharuddin as they had an unbroken 88-run partnership for the second wicket and India reached that target in 32.1 overs after losing only one wicket (224/1). While Azharuddin was not out on 41 off 51 balls (5 fours), Gavaskar scored his only ODI century and remained unbeaten on 103 off 88 balls (10 fours and 3 sixes). That Gavaskar’s century was also the second century by an Indian batsman in the World Cup history (the first one was by Kapil Dev 175* against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells in 1983 World Cup).
That large victory (won by 9 wickets with 107 balls remaining) helped India to reach the semi-final of the tournament as the Group A champion.
Some crucial stats of that hat-trick
- First bowler to claim a hat-trick in the World Cup history.
- First Indian bowler to claim a hat-trick in the international cricket history.
- First bowler in international cricket history to complete a hat-trick through all the bowled dismissals.
- Third bowler to claim a hat-trick in ODI history. Before that, Pakistan right-arm pacer Jalal-ud-Din (against Australia at Hyderabad on 20 September 1982) and Australian left-arm pacer Bruce Reid (against New Zealand at Sydney on 29 January 1986) had claimed their ODI hat-tricks once each.
Here is the video of that hat-trick