On this day in 1981: Greg Chappell instructs his brother to bowl under-arm delivery

1st February and Greg Chappell will always be remembered in an unfortunate manner. It was on that fateful day, way back in the year 1981, that Chappell asked the bowler to deliver possibly the most discussed and even, the most scrutinized final ball of an ODI match. And, a pulsating match between Australia and New Zealand ended up in a controversial finish as Trevor Chappell delivered an underarm delivery off the last ball of the game, with New Zealand 7 runs away from victory.

The final delivery resulted in a dot ball, and as a result, Australia won the third final of the Benson and Hedges World Series by a slender margin of just 6 runs.

The pulsating final

On the day of the match, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. After Australia lost batting legend Allan Border early, Graeme Wood and skipper Greg Chappell stepped up to the task. The duo put on a scintillating 145 run stand for the second wicket. While Chappell scored a classy 90, Wood was dismissed for 72, as Australia ended their first innings with a total of 235/4 in their allotted 50 overs.

New Zealand started off the reply in stunning fashion, with openers John Wright and Bruce Edgar putting on 85 runs for the opening wicket. But after that, New Zealand lost wickets at regular intervals, and except Edgar, who scored a valiant unbeaten 102, none of the other kiwi willow wielders got going.

And, when the final over began, New Zealand were 15 runs away from victory, and that is when Trevor Chappell got the ball in his hand. Off the first 5 deliveries, the New Zealand batsmen scored 8 runs. And, that meant that the Black Caps needed 7 runs to win off one ball. A six would have helped them tie the match. And, that is when the Chappel brothers came up with the idea of bowling underarm to prevent the batsman from scoring a six. The final delivery resulted in a dot ball.

The kangaroos won the match by 6 runs. But then, it was a tactic that was surely not within the spirit of the game. Even three decades later, Trevor Chappell is still remembered, and probably even accused of bowling that infamous delivery off the final ball of the 50th over at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the year 1981.