In six attempts in the first two editions of the Prudential World Cup, India won just one game – by ten wickets against a low-key East Africa in 1975. Overall, till the beginning of the 1983 World Cup, India had played 40 One-Day Internationals under six captains in nine years and had lost 28 of them. Therefore, at the start of the tournament, India carried minimum expectations and the odds on them were 66 to 1.
The 24-year-old Kapil Dev, callow and fresh, had led the side in only five Test matches and seven ODIs, and had been reinstated as the captain, replacing Sunil Gavaskar, only a few months ago. Like the captain himself, the team, barring the great Gavaskar, was made of individuals who were yet to be internationally acclaimed.
“None backed us in 1983,” Kapil told Sportstar after India’s 2011 ICC World Cup triumph. “Actually it suited us because it meant no pressure at all. The boys just wanted to enjoy the experience of playing in a World Cup.”
Placed in Group B alongside West Indies, Australia and Zimbabwe, India won four out of their six league games and then won the semifinal and the final to create history that would eventually be labelled as the turning point in Indian cricket. In the process, they won many hearts, not least of John Woodcock, the editor of 1984 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, who wrote: “The World Cup was a great success and India’s victory a splendid surprise. They brought warmth and excitement in the place of dampness and depression.”
West Indies, Old Trafford, Manchester, June 9-10
India’s confidence from their first ever ODI win against West Indies in Albion two months before the tournament and the break in the momentum of the West Indies batsmen, after the game went into the second day, inflicted the two time world champions’ first defeat in the history of the competition.
Put in to bat in damp conditions, after a delayed start, India relied on the sixth wicket stand of 73 runs between Yashpal Sharma and Roger Binny to post their highest ever World Cup total until that point. When bad light stopped play, West Indies were 67 for 2 in 22 overs.
Vivian Richards was caught behind early on day two off Binny, who picked up three wickets. A tenth-wicket partnership of 71 runs between Andy Roberts and Joel Garner threatened to spoil India’s day, but Garner was stumped in the first delivery of the 55th over to give Ravi Shastri his third wicket.
India 262/8 in 60 overs (Sandeep Patil 36, Yashpal Sharma 89; Michael Holding 2-32, Malcolm Marshall 2-48, Larry Gomes 2-46) beat West Indies 228 in 54.1 overs (Andy Roberts 37*, Joel Garner 37; Roger Binny 3-48, Ravi Shastri 3-26) by 34 runs. MoM: Yashpal Sharma.
Zimbabwe, Grace Road, Leicester, June 11
High on adrenalin after beating West Indies, India travelled little more than two hours south to Leicester to run through Zimbabwe, who had upset Australia by 13 runs in their first game.
Drizzle forced the match to start after lunch, and India put in Zimbabwe to exploit the conditions. Madan Lal and Binny kept the cordon busy as Syed Kirmani scalped five catches behind the stumps – a wicketkeeping record in World Cup that would remain intact till Adam Gilchrist took six catches against Namibia in 2003.
Contributions from Amarnath and Sandeep Patil saw India home with 135 balls to spare.
Zimbabwe 155 in 51.4 overs (Madan Lal 3-27, Roger Binny 2-25) lost to India 157/5 in 37.3 overs (Mohinder Amarnath 44, Sandeep Patil 50; Peter Rawson 2-11) by five wickets. MoM: Madan Lal.
Australia, Trent Bridge, Nottingham, June 13
On his World Cup debut, Trevor Chappell’s highest score in international cricket outclassed Kapil Dev’s best returns in ODIs – he became the first India to take five wickets in an ODI – as Australia handed India a 162-run thrashing. After Australia decided to bat first, Chappell and Kim Hughes, the captain, put on 144 runs for the second wicket and set the platform for Graham Yallop to provide the finishing touches.
Chasing 321 for an improbable win, India crashed in 37.5 overs as Ken MacLeay, the right-arm medium pacer, produced his best performance in limited-overs cricket.
Australia 320/9 in 60 overs (Trevor Chappell 110, Kim Hughes 52, Graham Yallop 66*: Kapil Dev 5-43, Madan Lal 2-69) beat India 158 in 37.5 overs (Krishnamachari Srikkanth 39, Kapil Dev 40; Tom Hogan 2-48, Ken MacLeay 6-39) by 162 runs. MoM: Trevor Chappell.
West Indies, The Oval, London, June 15
Having restored their reputation after the defeat against India, with two big wins, West Indies dominated the proceedings in the return fixture. Batting first, Vivian Richards led the way with a century. Desmond Haynes and Clive Lloyd also chipped in to post a big total.
Mohinder Amarnath and Dilip Vengsarkar showed promise, but Vengsarkar was hit on the mouth by a Malcolm Marshall delivery and had to retire. Amarnath was the fifth wicket to fall at the score of 193 and Kapil Dev’s 36 delayed the inevitable.
West Indies 282/9 in 60 overs (Desmond Haynes 38, Vivian Richards 119, Clive Lloyd 41; Roger Binny 3-71) beat India 216 in 53.1 overs (Mohinder Amarnath 80, Dillip Vengsarkar 32 retd., Kapil Dev 36; Andy Roberts 2-29, Michael Holding 3-40) by 66 runs. MoM: Vivian Richards
Zimbabwe, Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells, June 18
With two wins and two losses, India arrived in Tunbridge Wells after a two-day break requiring a win. BBC, the official broadcaster of the tournament, was on a strike on this day. Hence, the first century by an Indian in ODIs went unrecorded.
Asked to field first, the Zimbabwean opening pair of Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran reduced India to 17 for 5 in quick time. Soon it became 78 for 7 as six batsmen were dismissed for single digit scores. With the back against the wall, Kapil Dev played the innings of his life that set the benchmark for ODI batting.
Roger Binny’s 22, Madan Lal’s 17 and Syed Kirmani’s 24 not out gave Kapil the licence to bat with freedom. His unbeaten 175 included 16 fours and a six and came in 138 deliveries, and he put 126 runs in 16 overs with Syed Kirmani. It remains, till date, the highest ninth wicket partnership in the history of World Cup cricket.
Curran’s 73 was the only standout innings in Zimbabwe’s chase as they were beaten both in spirit and performance.
India 266/8 in 60 overs (Kapil Dev 175*; Peter Rawson 3-47, Kevin Curran 3-65) beat Zimbabwe 235 in 57 overs (Robin Brown 35, Kevin Curran 73; Roger Binny 2-45, Madan Lal 3-42) by 31 runs. MoM: Kapil Dev.
Australia, County Ground, Chelmsford, June 20
In the virtual quarterfinal, India’s superlative all-round performance handed Australia a massive loss.
Batting first, India’s innings revolved around the 53-run partnership between Sandeep Patil and Yashpal Sharma with crucial knocks from the rest of the lower middle order batsmen. Rodney Hogg and Jeff Thomson picked up three wickets apiece to bowl out India in the 56th over but Australia conceded 37 extras, which did not help their cause.
Madan Lal and Roger Binny claimed four wickets each as Australia went from being 46 for 1 to 78 for 7.
India 247 in 55.5 overs (Yashpal Sharma 40, Sandeep Patil 30; Rodney Hogg 3-40, Jeff Thomson 3-51) beat Australia 129 in 38.2 overs (Allan Border 36; Balwinder Singh Sandhu 2-26, Madan Lal 4-20, Roger Binny 4-29) by 118 runs. MoM: Roger Binny.
England, Old Trafford, Manchester, June 22
Bob Willis’s decision to bat first in a big game was vindicated by Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavaré, the England openers, who put on 69 runs. However, once Roger Binny dismissed the pair within 15 runs, the rest of the English batsmen could not counter the variations of the Indian bowlers on a slow surface. Mohinder Amarnath claimed the big wickets of David Gower and Mike Gatting, Allan Lamb was run-out and late in the innings Kapil Dev picked up three wickets.
Sunil Gavaskar and Krishnamachari Srikkanth got India off to a steady start before they fell within four runs of each other. After that Amarnath, Yashpal Sharma and Sandeep Patil engineered half-century partnerships for the third and fourth wicket to complete India’s highest successful chase in World Cup cricket up until then.
England 213 in 60 overs (Graeme Fowler 33, Chris Tavare 32; Kapil Dev 3-35, Roger Binny 2-43, Mohinder Amarnath 2-27) lost to India 217/4 in 54.4 overs (Mohinder Amarnath 46, Yashpal Sharma 61, Sandeep Patil 51*) by six wickets. MoM: Mohinder Amarnath.
West Indies, Lord’s, London, June 25
On a dramatic day at Lord’s, Kapil Dev lifted the Prudential trophy in front of 24,609 people and received prize money of £20,000 as India beat West Indies by 43 runs in the final.
That India managed to win the honours was because of a spirited performance by the bowlers, who dismissed the defending champions for 140, shielding a paltry score of 183.
Put in to bat first, India lost Sunil Gavaskar in the third over before Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath steadied the ship with a 57-run stand, which went on to be the best partnership of the day. Srikkanth hit seven fours and a six on his way to become the highest scorer of the day before falling to Malcolm Marshall.
Amarnath made 26 but he and Yashpal Sharma fell in quick succession as India were reduced to 100 for 4 by lunch. After that Sandeep Patil held the innings together but West Indies picked up regular wickets as India failed to utilise 32 balls in their innings.
At the start of the West Indies chase, Gordon Greenidge misjudged an in-swinger from Balwinder Singh Sandhu to lose his stumps. Desmond Haynes and Vivian Richards took the total to 50 before Madan Lal removed the pair in a space of eight runs.
Haynes was first to go and then Kapil ran backwards to complete a spectacular catch at mid-wicket that saw the back of Richards, who ended as the tournament’s highest run-getter.
Soon Roger Binny had Clive Lloyd caught by Kapil to become the highest wicket taker of the tournament and India took complete control of the proceedings.
Jeffrey Dujon and Marshall put on 43 runs for the seventh wicket but Amarnath dismissed the duo and then had Michael Holding leg before wicket to be adjudged as the Man of the Match and bag a cash award of £600.
India 183 in 54.4 overs (Krishnamachari Srikkanth 38; Andy Roberts 3-32, Malcolm Marshall 2-24, Michael Holding 2-26, Larry Gomes 2-49) beat West Indies 140 in 52 overs (Vivian Richards 33; Balwinder Singh Sandhu 2-32, Madan Lal 3-31, Mohinder Amarnath 3-12) by 43 runs. MoM: Mohinder Amarnath.
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