What is the first thing that comes to your mind when we say ‘1983’? For Indians, it will definitely be one of the most memorable years, given India won the World Cup for the first time ever in the history of Indian cricket. Let us take you down the memory road and tell you why this year and the match, especially the finale against West Indies, was so much more than just a game.
Whether you agree or no, India has always been going gaga over cricket, For many, cricket is not just a sport, it is an emotion. 1983 was a crucial year for the Indian cricket team. Filled with nervousness and excitement, the team flew all the way to England to play the World Cup.
ROAD TO THE WORLD CUP
The tournament was held from 9th June to 25th June and the team was led by Kapil Dev. Backed by a nation with a population in billions, Kapil Dev and his squad headed for the first match against Australia, where the Aussies won by 162 runs. Followed by a match against West Indies, the Windies again defeated the boys by 66 runs. The constant let down crashed the hope of Indians until we won against Australia by a huge margin of 118 runs.
How can we forget the match against Zimbabwe where our mighty striker scored a massive 175, being the first Indian cricketer in history to score a century!
Then came the Semi-finals against England – where we won and how! That win opened the doors for Kapil Dev and boys to the finals against the aggressive and two-times world champions – West Indies.
We know, as you read this, the nervousness and tension builds up all of a sudden, inspite of knowing the results. That’s what cricket does to all you sports enthusiasts.
Coming back to the match, it was the Finale where India were to bat first. Back then, it was a 60-over match. And still, with all the extras and plethora of overs left, we managed to make only 183 runs. Our top batsmen – Sunil Gavaskar scored only two runs, while K Srikkanth was the only player who managed to score the highest – 38 runs. Yes, the scoreboard was that low. With a target of 184 runs, the Windies, the audience, and billion other Indians were pretty sure we’d lose the cup.
Then comes our bowling. Well, bowling is not just about the bowler, but a team work. A good bowler can bowl well, a good batsman will score runs for you, but a good fielder will always save runs. Keeping that in mind, the Indian team didn’t attack the stumps, they attacked the minds of the Windies.
By now, everyone was rest assured Windies would take away the cup. That over-confidence somehow let the West Indians lose wickets early on in the match. They were 76-6 by the 21st over. Indians still had hope to swiftly take away the cup.
Gradually, the wickets started to fall and by the end of 52nd over, West Indies scored 140 for no wickets left!
Yes, we’re screaming out of joy too! It was Mohinder Amarnath to steal the last wicket of MA Holding. Amarnath was also declared the man of the match. As Kapil Dev lifted the giant silver World Cup, history of Indian cricket was changed forever.
THE GOLDEN WORDS
In a recent interview, Srikkanth, who had scored 38 runs for India in the match – the highest individual score for the team – recalled that the players thought they had no scope of defending 183 against the strong Windies batting line-up. But a pep-talk from skipper Kapil Dev changed the atmosphere in the team.
“With the batting line-up that West Indian had and looking at 183, we thought we had no scope at all,” Srikkanth said on Star Sports 1 Tamil show ‘Winning the Cup – 1983’. “But Kapil Dev said one thing and he didn’t say we can win but he said – look guys we have got out for 183 and we should give resistance and not give away the match so easily,” he added.
“It was the turning point for Indian cricket and for Indians. At a time when cricket was dominated by West Indies, Australia, New Zealand and others, a total underdog Indians became the world champions,” Srikkanth said.
THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
We still remember the smiles on everyone’s faces and how the crowd went absolutely crazy! Honestly, if we were there, we would’ve been no less elated.
But today, if you ask us what lead to the victory – it wasn’t the playing 11 or any strategy or previous experience. It was the outright fact that no one had any expectations from Team India to be fulfilled. We did not set up a mark to be met. We just went out there and played. As the captain rightly said, if boys were anything – they were just determined to give their best.
Well, today is the day when India won the 1983 World Cup and changed the history forever. Thank you each one of you to entertain us thoroughly and for always giving a nail-biting performance. Cricket wouldn’t have been the same without these legends, right?
What do you think was the turning point in the 1983 finals? Let us know in the comment section below.
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