One of the most memorable event in Indian Cricket history
In 1983, the Prudential One Day Championship, (the third to be held), was held in England in June. India was ranked among the lowest of the eight participating nations based on prior performance. Seven teams were Test playing nations and Zimbabwe, was an associate member getting a spot by winning the ICC trophy. No one was deluded into believing that India had a chance of winning the cup.
India gets a tough Group
India was pooled in Group B with Australia, Zimbabwe and the mighty West Indies. In Group A were England, Pakistan, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Teams in each group would play two matches against every other with two group leaders advancing to the semi-finals. India had a balanced team this time, as it had several all-rounders to choose from. Zimbabwe won the first match in the group by beating fancied Australia.
Meanwhile India, on the same day, 9th June was playing the formidable West Indies at Old Trafford, Manchester. In the second stunning upset of the first day of the contest, India beat the West Indies by 34 runs. India played Zimbabwe next and won comfortably, while the West Indies triumphed over Australia. In the third match India played Australia and lost by a thumping margin of 162 runs. The West Indies did their part by beating Zimbabwe by 8 wickets.
In the return matches India lost to the West Indies by 66 runs and in the other match Australia beat Zimbabwe. In the points table India were on par with Australia, but a poorer run rate. India had two matches to go before the qualifiers for the semi-finals emerged. The first match was against Zimbabwe, and the next against Australia. It was obvious that India had to qualify on points alone and forget the run rate. And that meant winning against Zimbabwe was imperative.
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The crunch matches
On 18 June, at Tun bridge Wells, India batted first against Zimbabwe and had a dismal start. They were 17 runs having lost five wickets when KapilDev walked in to bat. All the euphoria of the die hard fans vanished. What followed was a feat that cannot be compared with any other. It is impossible to find a performance like that and in similar circumstances. Kapil Dev scored a world record 175 not out; with tail-enders for company to help India reach 266 runs for eight. They bowled Zimbabwe out for 235 runs to win by 31 runs. And then in the last match of the group stage, India won against Australia by 118 runs. India had qualified for the semi finals!
With their team surpassing expectations, Indian fans wanted to believe that they can achieve what was thought impossible. Second in the group, India had to face England to qualify for the Finals. At Old Trafford on 22 June, they faced England, and won comfortably. In the finals now, India had to battle West Indies who had overwhelmed Pakistan in the other semi-final.
In the Finals at the Lord’s in London
Everyone knew that the one off victory against the giants was a flash in the pan. Fingers were crossed. The finals were played at the Lord’s in London, on 25 June. India, having lost the toss, was put in to bat. The pace foursome of the Caribbean gave India a torrid time. With Srikanth scoring 38 and Amarnath 26 India battled to a meagre 183 runs. When the West Indies replied, Kapil took a stunning catch running 18 meters to his right and backwards to dismiss the feared Vivian Richards. With good performance from the bowlers and some inspired fielding India dismissed the West Indies for 140 runs to win the Prudential World Cup 1983 by 43 runs.
Winning the 1983 One-Day World Cup!
The stadium came alive with scenes of Celebrations and in India, crowds started spilling onto the street. Celebrations went on all night and well into the next. India was World Cup CHAMPION!