The crowd was bursting at the seams. There were close to 100,000 spectators present at the Eden Gardens in Calcutta that cool November evening to watch the proceedings of the final of the Hero Cup. India, West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka were the contestants.
Zimbabwe had been eliminated at the group stage while in the semifinals India had squeaked past South Africa by two runs and West Indies cruised home by seven wickets against Sri Lanka. And now the stage was set for a title clash which had attracted considerable interest. In the league stage West Indies had defeated India by 69 runs on their way to topping the table.
Put in to bat, India lost Manoj Prabhakar at 25. Ajay Jadeja (30) carried on till 81 but the real substance was provided by skipper Azharuddin and Vinod Kambli who put on 80 runs in 14 overs. At 161 for two after 36 overs, India were heading for a total in the region of 250. But three wickets fell at the same score.
Kambli (68) was the first to go when Curtley Ambrose kicked the ball on to the wicket to run him out. Anderson Cummins then dismissed Azharuddin (38) and Pravin Amre (0) in the next over. The innings had lost momentum and only eight runs were notched up between the 37th and 43rd overs. Sachin Tendulkar (28 not out) and Kapil Dev (24) however saw the final total reach 225 for seven in 50 overs.
West Indies lost Phil Simmons (0) with only one run on the board but Brian Lara and skipper Richie Richardson steered them to 57 without further loss. However both the batsmen fell at the same score and thereafter the West Indies suffered a spectacular collapse. When West Indies had lost four wickets, Anil Kumble had not taken a wicket. And yet he finished with six for 12 - till today the best figures by an Indian in ODIs.
He in fact took the last six wickets for four runs in 26 balls as the West Indies went down in a heap being bowled out for 123 with nearly ten overs remaining to the uncontrolled joy of the huge crowd. Richardson's decision to field probably cost West Indies the match for they had to bat second on a wearing pitch already used in both semifinals.