ICC EXCLUSIVE: Greatest World Cup Moments
A Minor Counties Select XI – a team consisting of engineers, farmers, salesman and solicitors – had defeated India just five days before the start of the 1983 World Cup, but Kapil’s young team set those memories aside and registered a 34-run win against the West Indies in it’s opening encounter in Manchester.
Having beaten the world champions for the second time in two months – the first win having come in Albion in a bilateral series – India carried the momentum forward and prevailed over Australia once, Zimbabwe twice, and then England in the semi-final, before breaking the World Cup hegemony of the West Indies in the final on June 25, 1983 – an event that would change the landscape of Indian cricket forever.
India remains the only team to have hit as few as 18 boundaries while batting first to win a World Cup final, and the first one came from the blade of Krishnamachari Srikkanth.
Srikkanth flashed at a bouncing delivery from Joel Garner, which was too close to the body to cut, to the third-man boundary and made his aggressive intent clear. Srikkanth’s attacking ploy and Mohinder Amarnath’s sturdy approach allowed India to tackle the pace-quartet of Andy Roberts, Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding on a seaming track with relative conviction, as the pair looked for runs even while ensuring that there was no collapse at the top of the order.
The duo’s three fours off the backfoot on either side of the square boundary and Srikkanth’s pulled six off Roberts stood out in the second-wicket stand of 57 runs – the best partnership of the match.
Equally effective off the front foot, Srikkanth slapped one straight back past Holding to the long-off fence – a shot he would rate as the best of his innings. Srikkanth’s 38 – the highest individual score in the game – including eight boundaries boosted the Indian dressing room’s confidence, as every batsman who followed thereafter, except for Kirti Azad, Roger Binny and Syed Kirmani, hit at least a four or a six.
Though Holding bowled Amarnath for 26 and Gomes sent Yashpal back soon after, Sandeep Patil hit a six and Kapil collected three fours on either side of the lunch interval to keep the charge on.
Falling wickets meant India was reduced to 161 for 9 in 43.3 overs, but Kirmani and Balwinder Singh Sandhu batted out 11.1 overs for vital 22 runs for the last wicket. During the course of the partnership, Sandhu powerfully cover drove Holding to take the tally of boundaries in the innings to 18 before Marshall hit him on his helmet with a bouncer and Holding bowled Kirmani off the fourth ball of the 55th over.
The tally of boundaries might seem low, but India was bowled out for just 183, meaning that 42.62% of its runs came through hits that reached the fence or sailed over. With nothing to lose, the team came out to bowl at the West Indies full of spirit.
“The ball was moving so much that day that I literally didn’t know what was happening. Once I got off the mark, I decided to go for it. Those kind of world-class fast bowlers give very little away, so it was important for me to make use of every opportunity that came my way,”
Krishnamachari Srikkanth on his 38 that included seven fours and a six, the most by any batsman in the final.
Sandhu provided the breakthrough with a sharp inswinger that uprooted Gordon Greenidge’s stumps and Madan Lal, who had hit a six himself, picked up three wickets including that of Viv Richards for 33 to a spectacular running catch by Kapil at mid-wicket. Binny scalped Lloyd to finish as the tournament’s highest wicket-taker, and Amarnath gave the finishing touches by accounting for three of the last four victims, as West Indies, who hit 11 boundaries in its innings, was dismissed for 140 in 52 overs, giving India victory by 43 runs.
Man of the Match for the second consecutive game, Amarnath once again pocketed a cash award of £UK 600, and Kapil lifted the Prudential Trophy and received the prize money of £UK 20,000 in front of 24,609 people.
What happened next?
NKP Salve, the Board of Control for Cricket in India president, announced a cash prize of Rs 100,000/- for each member of the winning Indian team. The fund was raised through a concert by popular Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar.
“None backed us in 1983. Actually it suited us because it meant no pressure at all. The boys just wanted to enjoy the experience of playing in a World Cup,”
Kapil Dev, India’s captain.
High on confidence after the World Cup victory, India won two multi-nation tournaments in Australia and Sharjah within the next two years.
The 1983 win also ensured cricket’s place as the No.1 sport in the hearts of all Indians grew and solidified, leading to what is today the single largest fan-base of any country in the sport.
“The World Cup was a great success and India’s victory a splendid surprise. They brought warmth and excitement in the place of dampness and depression,”
John Woodcock, the editor of 1984 Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.