Monday, May 20, 2019

The World of Cricket World Cups - Part 2 - 1983

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Description automatically generatedThe third edition of the World Cup was again sponsored by Prudential, known as ‘Prudential Cup ‘83’. India was drawn in Group B with West Indies, Australia and Zimbabwe, the newest entrant at World Cup. The team was being led by Kapil Dev, who would go on to be declared the ‘Indian player of the century’ by Wisden in 2002. There was a change in the format this year, with each team playing other teams twice in the group. The top 2 teams from each group would then advance to the semi-final. Given the dismal performance of team India in previous two editions, no one really gave them any chance.
India started off unbelievably well this time, defeating West Indies in their first match and handing the two-time world champions their first ever loss at the tournament. They followed it up with a win against Zimbabwe. Just when things seemed to be going on track, India suffered back-to-back defeats against Australia and West Indies. With 2 wins in 4 matches, India could not afford to lose another match as other teams were also in the hunt for the semi final berth. Then came the match against Zimbabwe at Turnbridge Wells on June 18. India were in all sorts of trouble at 17/5. In came Kapil Dev, who not only played a captain’s innings, but one that is still considered as one of the best ODI innings ever. He scored 175 not out in just 138 balls, hitting 16 fours and 6 towering sixes, to take India to 266/8.

To reach that score from after losing half the side for almost nothing on board, gave the team truck load of confidence and they won the match, to keep their hopes alive.
India convincingly defeated Australia in next match and set up a match against England in semi-final. In the semis, India chased down 214 with consummate ease, to set up the final against West Indies, who were looking to create a hat-trick of titles, and prove that India’s win against them in group stage was nothing but a fluke.

On that fateful day of June 25, India were asked to bat first at the Lord’s. The fearsome quartet of West Indies comprising of Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Andy Roberts ran through the Indian line-up. Only Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath could show some resistance. India ended up with 183 on the board. At the half time, Kapil Dev encouraged the team by saying that “if this is not a winning total, it’s definitely a fighting total”. At the fall of first wicket, Sir Viv Richards came out with his full swagger on display. He scored a quickfire 33 off 28 balls, before he was dismissed by Madan Lal when Kapil Dev took a splendid catch running backwards for more than 20 yards towards mid-wicket. That was the turning point of the match as the West Indian batsman could not show further resistance and got bundled out for 140. Mohinder Amarnath took 3/12 and was adjudged the man of the match.
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Description automatically generatedThis win changed the perspective of the country towards the game. Suddenly, everyone was talking about cricket, the feat achieved by ‘Kapil’s Devils’. It paved the way to increase the fan base of the game and produce future superstars. Arguably one of the best cricketers the world has ever seen, Sachin Tendulkar also confessed that seeing Kapil Dev lift the World Cup trophy in Lord’s balcony in 1983 made him serious towards pursuing the game seriously. Having India have a fanatical fan following for the game was beneficial for the game’s popularity and eventually brought more money and investment in the game in the next decade or so.
DHCF Nishant Raizaday for diehardcricketfans

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