1983 World Cup: Kapil Dev's 175 at Tunbridge Wells through Zimbabwe bowler Peter Rawson's eyes

Zimbabwe's Peter Rawson was one of the two new-ball bowlers — the other being Kevin Curran — responsible for wrecking India's top-order after Kapil won the toss and chose to bat at Tunbridge Wells on June 18.

Kapil Dev hits out during his knock of 175 against Zimbabwe.   -  GETTY IMAGES

At the Nevill Ground in Tunbridge Wells, the 1983 Cricket World Cup witnessed an epochal performance, the likes of which only belonged to folklore. It was at this venue that a 24-year-old Kapil Dev scored 175 not out on June 18 after India was reduced to 9/4 by Zimbabwe.

No original footage exists of this record-breaking innings. The popular perception is that BBC cameramen were on strike while some point out that the BBC chose to cover the England-Pakistan match, being played in Manchester on the same day.

RELATED | On this day: Kapil Dev special at Tunbridge Wells

So, the movie '83 — releasing on December 24 — will perhaps give the fans a taste of constructed reality with the trademark dollops of cinematic drama and hyperbole, of course.

Peter Rawson (3 for 47) was one of the two new-ball bowlers — the other being Kevin Curran (3 for 65) — responsible for wrecking India's top-order after Kapil won the toss and chose to bat.

Rawson, now a Group Marketing & Sales Director with Trellidor, a security company, recollects the action from that balmy summer afternoon. "Kapil was in great form and took the fight to us… We had never seen what Kapil was capable of and were taken by surprise, and by the time we realised what was happening, the track had settled a bit, and he was in and swinging," Rawson told Sportstar.

After just two deliveries, Rawson dismissed Sunil Gavaskar without a run on the board. Kris Srikkanth also departed without troubling the scorers, removed by Curran. And when Rawson got rid of Mohinder Amarnath (five) and Curran removed Sandeep Patil (one), India was in tatters. What followed was a captain's innings by Kapil. 

Kapil's blitzkrieg off 138 balls comprised 16 fours and six sixes. The next highest score was Syed Kirmani's 24 not out, as India racked up 266 for 8. "It was an incredible game when our inexperience cost us," said Rawson. "Kapil Dev came in and literally threw his bat at everything from ball one. Duncan (Fletcher) took me and Kevin Curran off and Kapil played an incredible knock. The wicket flattened out and India posted a decent score, but still gettable with our batting side.

"We had a few run-outs, and Kapil took an amazing catch, and we fell short of their target… again, inexperienced … we should have won that game despite Kapil's incredible efforts," Rawson added.

The pitch was very receptive to seam bowlers according to Rawson. "But after about 15 overs, it settled down to be a good batting wicket. Kevin and I bowled really well in that first spell, and we had the best fielding side at the World cup, so any half chance was taken, that makes a huge difference of course."

Fletcher's men fell short by just 31 runs. Curran top-scored with 73 off 93 balls. Rawson was unbeaten on two. This was Zimbabwe's second defeat against India at the Prudential World Cup, the first being a five-wicket loss on June 11 in Leicester. 

Seven days after Kapil's heroics at Tunbridge Wells, India was crowned world champion, courtesy of a sensational victory over West Indies in the final. For 64-year-old Rawson, the 1983 World Cup was an incredible experience and ensured Zimbabwe "arrived at the next World Cup in India/Pakistan, a much wiser and strategically better team."

Rawson follows Zimbabwe cricket from a distance and is amazed that the team has managed to do as well as it has "with all the corruption and disruptions they have to deal with."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :