On this day: Viv Richards blasts West Indies to victory over Sri Lanka

Twenty-eight years ago today, Viv Richards scored 181 runs off just 125 balls as the West Indies thrashed Sri Lanka at the Cricket World Cup.

When West Indies legend Viv Richards took the crease at the National Stadium in Karachi during his side's Cricket World Cup group encounter against Sri Lanka 28 years ago today, it became clear very quickly that he was a man that felt he had a point to prove.

After all, having dominated the sport for much of the 10 previous years, there had been suggestions that the men from the Caribbean were on the wane.

Sir Viv Richards of the West Indies shows off his batting skills during the ECB Cricket Roadshow held at Clapham Common, in London. © Getty Images

Indeed, they had lost their opening fixture to England and when Sri Lanka's Ravi Ratnanayake snared both Carlisle Best and Richie Richardson in consecutive deliveries, bringing Richards to the crease, the pressure at 45-2 was well and truly on.

But, having survived the hat-trick ball, Richards settled in quickly alongside Desmond Haynes as the pair went about scoring quick singles and doubles.

Richards eventually reached his half-century in a modest 62 balls, but from that moment onwards, it was blast off. His next 50 runs took just 35 deliveries, meaning that he had faced 97 balls to bring up his century.

It didn't look possible, but the right-hander then went up another gear, scoring 81 runs in a mere 28 deliveries before he was caught by Roshan Mahanama off the bowling of Ashanta de Mel. As Richards headed back to the pavilion, he did so having scored 16 fours and seven sixes. As for De Mel, he ended his 10 overs with hefty figures of 1-97.

Richards's explosive innings somewhat put Haynes's knock of 105 in the shade, but it was still a crucial contribution as the Windies posted a score of 360-4 from their 50 overs, which at the time was a one-day international record.

A portrait of West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards during day five of the 1st Test match between West Indies and England at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on April 17, 2015 in Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda.© Getty Images

Facing such a mammoth victory target in reply, it was evident from early on that the Sri Lankans realised it was a total that was beyond their reach.

Like their opponents they may have only lost four wickets, but their score of 169 left them 191 runs short and was even 12 fewer than Richards managed on his own.

For good measure, he may not have taken a wicket, but Richards bowled well during his eight overs with the ball in hand, ending with figures of 0-22.

However, those heroics were ultimately unable to inspire the two-time winners West Indies, who disappointingly bowed out of the competition at the group stage.

Speaking recently to the ICC, Richards said of his knock: "The 181 I scored off just 125 balls against Sri Lanka in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 was a great knock. However, I wanted to achieve more, on a collective basis, by winning that ICC Cricket World Cup 1987. That to me would have been a bigger statement."

West Indies' Jason Holder prepares to bowl on day three of the second cricket Test between Australia and the West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica on June 13, 2015
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