1983 World Cup is special to every single Indian out there as a team of sightseers became champions and made headlines. Nobody, even the team didn’t believe that they could pull the victory when they reached England. Since most of them knew that it was their only opportunity to roam around the country, they wanted to make the most of it.
Highest total: 338/5 Pakistan against Sri Lanka, won by 50 runs.
Lowest Total: 129/10 Australia against India while chasing 247 runs.
Biggest chase: 276/3 West Indies against Australia while chasing 273/6
Most runs: David Gower (384)
Most wickets: Roger Binny (18)
This tournament consisted of matches which had stunning results starting with Zimbabwe playing the World Cup for the first time, rattled Australia whereas, India, who wasn’t the favourites at the beginning of the tournament went on to upset some of the biggest teams.
Eight teams-same seven teams from the previous edition alongside Zimbabwe- were divided into two groups and each team in the particular group played twice against the other group members and the top two qualified for the semifinal.
The group A- England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New Zealand- had less drama with the favourites crossing the line easily and thanks to Pakistan’s high net run rate than New Zealand which helped them to qualify for the semifinal.
The Group B- West Indies, Australia, Zimbabwe, India- provided the much-needed tension right from the day one of the competitions as both the tournament favourites, West Indies and Australia were beaten by India and Zimbabwe on the same day.
It was a one-man show from the captain of Zimbabwe, Duncan Fletcher who made 69 with the bat while coming in at number five and followed it up with four wickets with the ball. Australia fell 13 runs short of the total, though they had the opener Wessels who stood unbeaten throughout with 76 runs on the board.
Probably, that result would have motivated the aimless Indians when they locked horns with the two-time champions West Indies. Yashpal Sharma’s dominating knock of 89 with support from the other players who had starts, helped India to reach 262 in their 60 overs. In return, Roger Binny and Ravi Shastri took three wickets each alongside Madan Lal and Balwinder Sandhu who picked up one apiece, and Kirmani’s fast hands behind the stumps helped India to overcome West Indies by formidable 34 runs.
It was the win that nobody hoped for but was the win that made the boys that they can pull it off. Kapil Dev told the team ‘Let’s go for the cup’ right after this victory and of course, the world witnessed one of the best knocks ever, Kapil’s 175*. The knock was special because India was five wickets down early and needed someone to take them to a decent position. From 78 for 7 India managed to reach 266/8, thanks to Kapil Dev and the tail-enders.
India then managed to produce a win over Australia as well in their final group match that took India to the second place in the group. This time, India provided a better team performance with everyone chipping in with the bat for the starts and India comfortably managed to score 247.
In return, Sandhu’s spell to remove Trevor Chappell early in the innings gave India an upper hand. Both Madan Lal and Roger Binny then went on to pick four wickets each and Sandhu came at the last to pick one more giving India a historic victory over Australia and knocked them out of the tournament.
India took on England, another tournament favourites and the hosts opted to bat first. England managed to score only 213, thanks to the brilliant bowling performance from the Indians. Kapil Dev rose up to the occasion grabbing three wickets while Roger Binny and Mohinder Amarnath grabbed two.
In return, After India’s careful start, Yashpal Sharma’s 61 and Mohinder Amarnath’s 46 provided the platform for Sandeep Patil to free his arms, to score 51* off just 32 deliveries that booked India a place in the final for the first time.
In the other semifinal, as expected West Indies overcame Pakistan, thanks to their flawless performance.
Meeting West Indies once against in the final, nobody would have backed the Indian team to defeat the two-time champions.
After being invited to bat first, the best bowling attack, ever seen, in the history of cricket- Garner, Holding, Robers, Marshall- ripped to through the Indian batting. Only Srikanth (38) and Amarnath (26) managed to survive to put some resistance. While the boys decided to give it all on the field, the pitch and the conditions favoured them as well. Kapil Dev narrated the famous dialogue “team if this is not a winning total it’s definitely a fighting total” that boosted the team’s confidence.
Despite all the bowlers doing their bit, Amarnath’s spell where he picked up three wickets for just 12 runs in his seven overs stood out. While Madan Lal grabbed three as well. Kapil Dev (1), Sandhu (2), Binny (1) played their part too in producing one of the stunning victories in the cricket history ever. From the bunch of mismatches to the match-winners, the journey of the Indian team had flaws was imperfect but that is what made the journey not only beautiful but memorable for the team, for the fans. If not for this win, India wouldn’t have grown into a cricketing nation they are now.