On 1st February 1981, the world was caught by surprise by Australian captain Greg Chappell's evil but ingenious idea to win an ODI match against New Zealand at the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup when he plotted the scheme of bowling an 'underarm' ball in his brother Trevor Chappell's head against Kiwi Brian McKechnie.
At a crucial juncture of the match, New Zealand was trailing the Aussies by 6 runs with only one ball left. This naturally meant that the Kiwis needed to go for a maximum or else they would lose the match. Chappell quickly asked his brother to bowl an underarm delivery which would drag along the pitch without any bounce.
No bounce meant no space for the batsman to get under the ball to attempt a long shot, which in turn meant that there was no way that McKechnie could have hit a six.
The plan was executed brilliantly:
In the video, the two notorious brothers can be seen discussing something post which Greg gestures for an underarm bowl. Soon after, Trevor took a small run-up (a sucker for treatricals, maybe?) and slide the ball towards the dazed batsman.
After defending the ball, McKechnie instantly figured out what was going on and threw his bat in the air in frustration before picking it up and pacing for the stands.
At the time, there was no specific rule deeming it illegal to bowl like that, but it was considered to be an act of 'cowardice', literally a low-blow and after the incident was labeled “disgraceful” by the former Australian Test captain Richie Benaud.
Remembering the incident more than three decades later, Brian McKechnie who defended Trevor's ball, said: “I would have loved to just have the chance to try and hit a six… that's the last ball I faced,” in an interview with The Project NZ.
Apparently, McKechnie isn't the only one who is still upset over the blunder:January 31, 2019 January 31, 2019 January 22, 2019 February 1, 2019
One of the worst thing I've ever seen on a cricket field: Richie Benaud#OnThisDay in 1981, Greg Chappell asked his brother Trevor Chappell to bowl an underarm ball when New Zealand reqd six off the last ball just to tie.
Brian McKechnie (striker) in ODIs: 54 runs in 14 matches pic.twitter.com/EHFO81Cair