Meanwhile, Virat Kohli and his boys will be taking on the West Indies in their next match on Thursday.

Kapils Devils won the World Cup on this day 36 years ago Heres a lookbackTwitter / Cricket World Cup
Cricket WC 2019 CWC 2019 Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 15:31

June 25, 1983 is seared in the collective memory of every Indian cricket lover. It was the day when Indian cricket changed forever. Rank outsiders at 66:1 as tipped by the bookmakers at the start of the tournament, India went on to script history by lifting the coveted trophy under the inspired leadership of Kapil Dev. For a team that had only won one match in the two previous World Cups together, this was a momentous achievement. 

How did the turnaround happen? 

Coming into the World Cup of 1983, India had only played around 40 one day internationals (ODI) in the decade before it. "We didn't take the game seriously," said Ajit Wadekar, India’s first ODI captain. The team had no idea of tactics and in fact, the ODI format hadn’t been accepted as a legitimate version of cricket in India. 

But a significant event happened before the World Cup which gave the team the self-belief that they could compete with the big boys. On March 29, 1983, India beat the mighty West Indies on their home turf in Berbice, Guyana in an ODI. Riding on Gavaskar’s 90 and Kapil’s whirlwind knock of 72 off just 38 balls, India posted a challenging total of 282 in 47 overs. While the dangerous Viv Richards was dismissed for 64, West Indies finished on 255 for 9 with Ravi Shastri picking up 3 wickets. India thus won the match by 27 runs, and this set the tone for their World Cup campaign that was to follow. 

According to Gavaskar, "Our turnaround in the whole format started when we went to Australia in 1980 where we played 10 ODI games. That's the first time we started to take ODI cricket seriously. Earlier on, we just went in like a Sunday game. This time there were prizes at the end. There was a trophy to be won as well. Earlier on, there was nothing to be won.”

India’s performance in 1983 World Cup

India continued from where they left off, when they beat the fancied West Indies in their opening match by 34 runs. Yashpal Sharma top scored for the Indians with a well-compiled 89 which helped the team reach 262/8 in 60 overs batting first. In reply, the West Indies folded up for 228 with none of the batsmen crossing 40 runs. Roger Binny and Shastri shared the spoils for the Indians with 3 wickets apiece. 

In the following matches, India beat Zimbabwe twice and Australia once en route to the semi-final. One of those victories over Zimbabwe came in a match at Tunbridge Wells which was not televised. India had been reduced to 17 for 5 at one stage and were in dire straits. That’s when the captain Kapil Dev walked out and played one of the most memorable knocks in World Cup history. He scored an unbeaten 175 runs off 138 balls which included 16 fours and six sixes. This enabled India to post 266 and they ultimately won the match by 31 runs.

In the first semi-final played at Old Trafford, Manchester, India managed to restrict the opposition to 213 after England had won the toss and batted first. Skipper Kapil Dev led from the front picking up 3 wickets supported by Binny and Amarnath who got 2 wickets each. The Indians won by 6 wickets with useful contributions from Yashpal Sharma who made 61 and Sandeep Patil who remained not out on 51. 

In the final, India again locked horns with the West Indies who were the odds-on favourites to lift the title. Put into bat, the Indians could never get going, and West Indies exploited the seaming conditions perfectly with their battery of four fast bowlers. Kris Srikkanth was the top scorer for the Indians with 38 before he was trapped in front by Marshall. The rest of the batsmen couldn’t contribute much and the team finished on a below par score of 183. At the break, even the most die-hard Indian supporters would have given up hope with such a paltry total to defend. But what transpired in the second half of the match was something beyond incredible. India came up with an inspired bowling display to bowl West Indies out for 140 runs.

Twitter / Cricketopia

The marauding Richards appearing to be running away with the match, gallopping to 33 runs with seven hits to the fence. But, Madan Lal had other ideas. After being given the ball, he induced a top edge off a mistimed hook shot from Richards which Kapil gleefully accepted running backwards. To this day, this remains the most enduring image of the World Cup final. Amarnath who took 3 wickets and scored 26 valuable runs was declared man of the match. Binny finished as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 18 scalps.

Roger Binny - Twitter / Cricket World Cup

Meanwhile, Virat Kohli and his boys will be taking on the West Indies in their next match of the ongoing World Cup on Thursday. Kohli’s team survived a scare against Afghanistan in their last match and will be looking to tie up the loose ends. India along with New Zealand are the only unbeaten sides so far in the tournament. While the Kiwis sit atop the table with 11 points, the Indians are currently in third spot with 9 points.

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