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World Cup 1983 Final : When Lord’s Magic Inspired The Whole Indian Cricket

With estimated 706 million views, ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup remains one of the most popular sports events under the sun. It’s indeed a grand event that cricket fans of different parts of the globe wait for eagerly. The event, held once in every four years, costs a good amount of adrenaline from both the players and the spectators. It’s the furious West Indies who have snatched and retained the trophy for two consecutive spans from its inaugural edition in 1975. But, in 1983, the very birthplace of Cricket witnessed a history bring written.

An Holiday Trip For Indian Cricket Team:

Kim Hughes opined before the 1983 World Cup that “India” is the dark horse of the tournament but Kapil Dev’s dark horses changed the structure of Indian Cricket with their spectacular performance and self-belief. Today I, Subhradeep Choudhury, will rewind the epoch of India’s dominance over the whole world.

When Krishnamachari Srikkanth and few of his teammates left India for the 1983 WC, it was only supposed to be a stopover before heading to US for the holidays and honeymoon for the opener who got married in March. This could easily express about the preparations of the Indians. But, because later they became World Champions, the Chennai-boy needed to return back in India to celebrate with the teammates cancelling his trip.

Very few know about an incident that in a warm-up match against Sri-Lanka in LeicestershireSir Garfield Sobers had witnessed India making 285 on a green English Top and said,” These guys might be underdogs, but watch out for them in the World-Cup.” And this line of the legend was truly justified during the league games. Beating West Indies, the team received a huge amount of self confidence like “ Hang on, We can do it.” under a top-leader Kapil Dev who always used one line to describe himself : “I came from an agriculture background, these guys come from culture(d) background.”

It had been a Kapil Dev Dhamaka (magic) that pulled India back from their halt to Zimbabwe from 17-5. The master-class innings of 175* of the skipper changed the morale of the team from “ We can do it” to “We have to do it”. Later, the Little-master, Sunil Gavaskar praised the innings as a transformer of Indian Cricket. The funny moment was that the Haryana boy was taking showers and couldn’t recall whether he has taken the soap off his body. The pittiest thing of the incident is that the youngsters fail to observe the innings as it wasn’t recorded due to BBC strike on that day.

They had achieved success against a tough Australian side and secured an unexpected place in the semis. Then outplaying the English side with clinical professionalism, they had almost taken themselves to the next level. But, beating the mighty West Indies twice in a tournament meant you had to climb the Everest twice to bring your name once in the record book.

A Morning No One Expected:

So, Here you are : Under the blue sky in a chilly London morning, eleven Indians were taking on the two time champions, West Indies. But at the initial stage the fight was to survive those four rockets. Andy Roberts and Joel Garner began the operation making survival tough and for India putting a good total was beyond thoughts.

Soon, the destruction started as Gavaskar edged to Roberts for 2 to end one of the miserable tournaments. Mohinder Amarnath, known for standing tall against fast bowlers joined Krishnamachari Srikkanth, who had the reputation of taking on the attacks. The opposite ends produced one hour of silent Cricket. But when Roberts and Garner were given rest, it was fresh Micheal Holding & Malcolm Marshall steaming in.

One thing was certain that one of them would get rid of the batsman and Marshall managed to send the Chennai boy on 38 off 57 balls; but no one knew that it would remain the top score of the match. It was just a matter of time when Indians would pat themselves on the back saying, “Well played …hard luck”.

Yashpal Sharma and Amarnath were batting well but runs were not coming in match where you had no idea about an ideal score and that too against a team where even no.11 could spoil your dream. Soon, Both were dismissed taking the long route to pavilion. Kapil Dev and Sandeep Patil did hit boundaries as players parted for lunch with India on 100-4.

The break invited flurry of wickets. Kapil Dev, Kriti Azad, Roger Binny and others had no answers against the furious attack. After hitting an unexpected six, Madan Lal opened Garner’s account and India slipped to 161-9. Sandhu arrived to join Wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani with the hope of playing full 60-overs but Holding proved to be too hot to handle and the half journey ended at 183 (54.4).

The Ultimate Challenge:

For many the challenge was over. Witnessing the country in the finals meant a lot and with a fair amount of certainty the dream run was over. But a strong belief woke up the group when Kapil Dev’s words came out in the dressing room “We have made 183, they have to make them.”

When they made way to the ground, they were up against the best opening combo of Desmond Haynes & Gardon Greenidge with Richards, Llyod waiting for their chances if necessary. Sandhu’s swing separated the openers at 5 to bring the swagger on the crease. Boundaries started to fly everywhere and every shot was increasing the heart-bit with anxiety of millions of Indians back home. The score raced to 50. An uppish drive to Madan Lal to the cover saw Haynes taking the long run towards the pavilion.

The Catch of The Match:

Kapil Dev was standing at mid-wicket and Madan Lal produced some bouncers. Was that planned?? Does it really matter? Richards pulled the ball and called for 2 and the television camera focused straight on to the ball for which everyone was running.

The stadium erupted and somehow covering a long ground, extending his long arms, Kapil Dev kept his eyes on the ball and it (well for the Indians it wasn’t the ball; it was the World Cup) landed straight into his hands. All of a sudden, Richard’s return lit up a new lamp.

“Dilip once told me that he can’t watch a recording of the final. He is afraid that Kapil will drop the catch.” Words of Madan Lal.

Llyod’s injury didn’t help him at all and like his vice-captain, his stroke ended his journey to the pure hands of his opponent number. Bacchu’s hard driving ball died to diving Kirimani in front of  Sunny Gavaskar. 76-6 – the score read. The bowlers could bat but for how much time and run??

The Final Nail in The Coffin:

Dujon’s front foot commitment brought his end as the ball on the way of his leaving, disturbed the bails after a collision with the gloves. It was 119-7. Roberts departed soon as a Kapil delivery wrapped into his pads. Garner and Holding kept the losing mission alive for an hour but his missed chance saw the Indians making a mad rush to the stumps.So, head to head comparison painted a nice picture. The champs of 1086 test and 532 ODI scalps between Roberts, Garner, Holding and Marshall lost the war to212 ODI & 162 test victims of Lal, Binny, Amarnath and Sandhu.
Perhaps, the most pleasing moment of the whole journey was the smile of the leader, Kapil Dev when he held the trophy after many unslept hours. Finally, the World cup invested its interest among the youngsters like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and many others.

Brief Scorecard of

INDIA: 183 (54.4) { Srikkanth 38, Roberts 3-32 }

WEST INDIES : 140 (52) { Richards 33, Amarnath 3-12, Lal 3-31 }

MAN OF THE MATCH & THE TOURNAMENT :

MAHINDER AMARNATH.

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