On this day: When Kapil's Devils stunned the world

Branded a bunch of no-hopers, Kapil Dev's Indians beat the Aussies to make the semifinal, beat the Englishmen to make the final, beat the West Indians to make history in 1983.

Published : Jun 25, 2019 08:36 IST

On top of the world: Kapil Dev (right) with the trophy alongside Player of the Match Mohinder Amarnath. Photo: Getty Images
On top of the world: Kapil Dev (right) with the trophy alongside Player of the Match Mohinder Amarnath. Photo: Getty Images

On top of the world: Kapil Dev (right) with the trophy alongside Player of the Match Mohinder Amarnath. Photo: Getty Images

A wave of euphoria swept Lord’s as India achieved the improbable and added a new page to cricket history by beating the West Indies in the World Cup final. India, dismissed as novices without the basic all-round skills to win such a competition, is the champion of the world in limited overs cricket. There has been no year in Indian cricket as significant as this one apart from 1971 when wins, as unexpected as this, were achieved in two Test series. It was in any case the improbable that India achieved.

Cracks had developed in the West Indian squad but not so many that it could be tested on such an occasion as a World Cup final. And what a team effort that took to create a saga and to dispel theories about strengths and weaknesses. What a victory it must be to score only 183 and yet win by 43 in a match that was not notable for great batting.

Nervy bunch

The scenario would have been the same anyway whether Lloyd put India in or chose to bat, for India had already decided that its best chance lay in opting to bat if the toss was won. On a day on which no batsmen save Srikkanth and Vivian Richards defied the average poor standards, Indian bowling rose to the occasion to squeeze every bit out of the nervy methods of the West Indian batsmen.

Read | The 1983 World Cup in Kapil Dev's words

It took a lot more than good line and length to fashion such a spectacular win. It was the kind of day on which the ball did seam around off a solid batting wicket. Batting had to be as solid as it was attacking and whereas the Indians got past the early period of pressure and collapsed later, the West Indies did not promise to prosper at any stage of its innings except for when Richards was in and made a mockery of the bowling.

Madan Lal shows the way

The credit lies with Madan Lal who showed the first signs that the battle could be fought despite the state India was in when the West Indies was 50 for one.

The transformation was as stunning as it was complete when he chipped in with three wickets. Lloyd, hamstrung by a groin injury, played a poor shot off Binny. At a time when it looked as if Dujon and Marshall could still take the game away by methods that ranged from the streaky to the solidly struck stroke, Kapil gambled by bringing Mohinder Amamath from the Nursery end. With a spell of six overs from there, Mohinder bagged three wickets and the celebration time had been brought forward.

Read | The 1983 World Cup: A view from behind the stumps

All things fell in a slot for India with West Indian overconfidence bringing a few gift wickets and Indian bowling and catching cashing in on the openings in professional style. Otherwise, it would have hardly have been justice for batsmen like Srikkanth and Mohinder Amamath who strove to justify the optimism with which India came into this final.

Controlled aggression

Accused of immaturity at various times in his short career, Srikkanth proved what controlled aggression could achieve even against a bowler like Joel Garner who really was setting them up from a length, seaming substantially and also proving so disconcerting to Gavaskar. Srikkanth played all his positive strokes with panache, the pulls, the flicks and the drives. It took a pacey incutter to have him playing too early in over-anticipation.

Crowds invade at the Lord's Cricket Ground after the conclusion of the final. Photo: Getty Images

Mohinder progressed in a solid way looking for the safe runs and tiding over the difficult period when the ball was new. This amount of seam movement can be expected at Lord's but the way the West Indies shaped it looked as if the match was being played on a stark turner.

Excellent captaincy

Kapil's handling of the bowling and his changes in field placement patterns were most effective indicating that he has just flowered as an international captain. No one would have liked to lead the side on this golden day.There was too much agony at every run given away and every false stroke made.

Read | When BBC missed Kapil Dev's 'surgical strike' on Zimbabwe

Would the golden chance slip away just as it seemed almost certain that the match had completely been transformed? Mohinder's vital breaks and Kapil's trapping of Andy Roberts leg-before confirmed the win which was delayed to some extent by the last pair of Holding and Garner.

Holding missed a pull and was well in front in the 52nd over and the scenes that followed were testimony to what India's performance has meant. The flag waving, chanting crowd swayed and cheered as the ceremonies of the presentation was gone through. Looking at the composition of the crowd one could almost think England had won the Cup.

India's victory was a victory for cricket.

This match report  (by R. Mohan) was published in Sportstar issue dated July 02, 1983

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