Ask any New Zealand
er what the Underarm Incident
was and they will be immediately be able to tell you. It further intensified the rivalry
that New Zealand
has with Australia
and prompted the then Prime Minister
of New Zealand, Robert Muldoon
, to say it was "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history
", and "an act of cowardice
It occurred on Sunday, February 1, 1981 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground at the third final of the 1980/81 Benson & Hedges World Series Cup. Australia had scored a 235/4 batting first. New Zealand had managed to reach the final over needing 15 runs to win. After a some quick wickets it came down to 6 runs to draw off the final ball.
That was when it happened. The Australian skipper Greg Chappell, ordered the bowler, his brother Trevor, to bowl the ball underarm, thus depriving the batsman Brian McKechnie even the chance to score the runs that would draw the match.
At that time underarm bowling was not specfically outlawed by the laws of cricket. After informing the umpires of the decision, the ball was bowled. Trevor Chappell rolled the ball down the pitch carpet bowls-style. The ball was blocked and then McKechnie threw his bat away in disgust. Bruce Edgar, at the non-strikers end (who had incidentally scored a century in the match) gave the fingers to Chappell.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called it, "contrary to the traditions of the game" and Greg Chappell's decision was universally condemned.
The incident went onto be parodied in a 'Instant Kiwi' advertisement. In this version, McKechnie placed his box on the pitch causing the ball the fly into the air, allowing him to hit the six.