83 days to go: When Kapil's Devils conquered the world

The picture of Kapil Dev holding the Prudential Cup trophy on the Lord's balcony is etched in the memories of millions of Indians who follow the game.

Published: 08th March 2019 09:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:31 PM   |  A+A-

Kapil Dev with the World Cup trophy. (File Photo | EPS Archives)

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It was the moment that brought belief to Indian cricket. Having won only one match in the first two editions of the tournament, that too against lowly East Africa in 1975, India were not among the fancied sides in the 1983 World Cup.

The fairytale began in the very first match that India played. Kapil Dev's men beat Clive Lloyd's Windies by 34 runs, a team that had never tasted defeat in the tournament and comprised legendary batsmen like Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd and Gordon Greenidge as well as the pace quartet of Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Andy Roberts. Yashpal Sharma was the hero of the match as he scored a match-winning 89 to set the tone for the rest of the tournament. India won the match by 34 runs. 

In the second match, India defeated debutants Zimbabwe by five wickets after bowling them out for 155 runs in the first innings. India's next two fixtures, however, showed that the side was not quite the finished article as they suffered a 162-run hammering at the hands of Australia and a 66-run defeat to the Windies.

Kapil takes charge:

Then came the famous match at Tunbridge Wells. India looked in trouble against Zimbabwe as they were reduced 9/4 when Kapil Dev walked out. Soon, India were 17/5 with all the recognized batsmen back in the dressing room. The unfazed Kapil proceeded to play a campaign-defining knock of 175, including a 126-run partnership for the ninth wicket with wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani. The Haryana Hurricane's unbeaten knock was the first century by an Indian in World Cups and the highest individual score in the tournament at the time. India won the match by 31 runs.

Kapil Dev with then President Zail Singh. (Photo | EPS/Archives)

After suffering a heavy defeat in their first encounter against the Aussies, it was payback time. India proved Australian skipper David Hookes - who called India the 'dark horses' before the tournament - right by handing them a 118-run defeat after Madan Lal and Roger Binny took four wickets apiece. With the win, India knocked the Australians out of the tournament, finishing second with four wins from six matches.


Next up were the hosts England, who were the runners-up in the previous edition. Electing to bat first, England were bundled out for 213 runs with Kapil Dev grabbing three wickets and Mohinder Amarnath and Binny chipping in with two wickets each.

Chasing a modest total, India's middle order came to the party. Yashpal Sharma top-scored again for India with 61 runs and was well supported by Sandeep Patil and Amarnath who scored 51 and 46 respectively. India won by six wickets to set up a rematch with the Windies in the final at Lord's. Amarnath was adjudged the Man of the Match for his all-round performance.

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India were facing the two-time champions who had lost only once in the tournament - to India in their first encounter. Lloyd won the toss and put India in. The Windies pacemen were on song, bowling India out for 183 runs. Kris Srikkanth, Amarnath and Patil were the only notable contributors with the bat scoring 38, 26 and 27 respectively.

Kris Srikkanth drives Andy Roberts in the final at Lord's. (Photo | EPS Archives)

At the interval, it appeared to be just a matter of time before the West Indies lifted the cup for the third time. Soon, they were cruising at 50/1 with 'master blaster' Viv Richards at the crease. Then came the moment of magic when Kapil took that stunning catch to send back Richards. The bowlers led by Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath went on to strangle the Windies for 140 runs to hand India a historic victory. 

1983 World Cup winning squad. (Photo | EPS Archives)

The picture of Kapil Dev holding the Prudential Cup trophy on the Lord's balcony remains etched in the memories of millions of Indians who follow the game. 


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