As an Indian Cricket fan, I dedicate this blog to the Men who made Indians a great force in World cricket and stunned everyone. 25 years ago on this day 25th June, out of the blue India suddenly became a huge force to reckon with in world cricket. This World cup was a morale-boosting one for the nation. The Indian team was the underdog in the tournament. Not many would have expected them to even win 3 out of its 6 league matches let alone the world cup given they had won only one match against the lowly ranked East Africa back in 1975. The team did not win a single match in the 79 World Cup. The team consisted of a few all-rounders (Kapil, Madan Lal, Amarnath, Binny), a technically sound opener in the form of Gavaskar, and 2 dashers in the form of Patil and Shrikkanth. None of them were great heroes in the ODI arena then. They played according to the mantra ” Where there is a will there’s a way”. Kapil always insisted the team on fighting hard for success, which they achieved at last.
It all started with the morale-boosting victory over the two-time defending champions West Indies on 9th June 1983 at Old Trafford. But India was then defeated by West Indies and Australians convincingly in the league phase(but India got a sweet revenge over the latter in the other league game). Then came the day that the whole Indian squad witnessed what’s called the “BEST INNINGS FROM AN INDIAN”. India’s team was struggling at 17/5 and then came an inning which can be termed as the perfect example of CAPTAIN’S KNOCK played by Kapil Dev, the chief architect of India’s victory. He scored a smashing unbeaten 175(Due to a BBC camera crew strike this epic knock had no video coverage sadly) and increased the confidence in the Indian camp with the help from the likes of Yashpal Sharma, Sandeep Patil, Jimmy Amarnath and others India went into the finals.
Old Trafford June 22: England won the toss and batted first. the Indian bowling England to score 213 (all out, 60 overs). Fowler (33 from 59 balls, 3 fours) top scored, and Kapil took 3 for 35 in eleven overs, with Jimmy and Binny taking two wickets each. In reply, Yashpal (61 from 115 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes) and Patil (51 from 32 balls, 8 fours) made half-centuries, as India reached their target in 54.4 overs, winning by 6 wickets in an upset victory over the Englishmen. Jimmy (46 from 92 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) picked up the man-of-the-match award for his all-round performance, which saw him add 46 runs to his earlier bowling success (2/27 in 12 overs).
The final was played in the mecca of cricket The LORDS on June 25th. Roberts, Marshall, garner and Holding ripped through the Indian lineup. The Indians were bowled out for a low score of 183 and Shrikkanth scoring the highest individual score of 38 for the match. This total is nothing considering the batting power of the Mighty West Indians. But the agenda was take the fight to the opponent for the Indians and no one forget the ball that got rid of Greenidge. What a snotter to start the defense. He left the ball expecting it to move away like the previous 3 balls but it swung in and took the bails. The great West Indian Viv Richards started to flourish with an array of powerful strikes. It took a stunning catch from the Indian captain to get rid of the great man and the man of the match Jimmy(in both semis and final) polished off the tail and the rest is history. However, the Indian bowling exploited the weather and pitch conditions perfectly to bowl out the best batting lineup of the era for 140 from 52 overs in return, winning by 43 runs and completing one of the most stunning upsets in cricket history, defeating the previously invincible West Indies.The joy and the celebration in the camp were great.
The proud captain lifted the trophy with great joy and pride. In two years’ time, India went on to win the world championship of cricket under Sunil Gavaskar. Let this inspire India to win more World cups.