Former Indian captain Kapil Dev, who had played a knock of unbeaten 175 against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup to help India snatch a win from the jaw of defeat, said that the innings had instilled self-belief in the the-then underdog Indian team.
That knock in the 20th match of the 1983 World Cup, which is regarded as one of the best ODI innings ever, saw Kapil Dev smashing 16 boundaries and six maximums during his stay of 138 deliveries.
— ICC (@ICC) June 18, 2020
“Zimbabwe match was one match where the entire team started feeling this that ‘yes we can be in the top four teams and on (a) given day we can beat anybody’,” Kapil was seen saying in a video uploaded by ICC on its official Twitter handle.
“That innings gave the team… a reassurance that ‘yes we have the ability and we can win against any circumstances or we can bounce back from any place, any situation’,” he added.
Batting first, India were down to five wickets with only 17 runs on the board. Partnering Roger Binny, Kapil tried to steady the ship. After a watchful partnership of 60 runs between the two, Binnny departed for 22 and was soon followed by Ravi Shastri.
At 78/7, Kapil joined hands with Madan Lal and started scripting what would become one of the greatest ever comebacks in the modern history of the game. However, Madan Lal could not contribute more than 17 runs in his partnership of 62 runs with his skipper.
Meanwhile, the partnership with Lal had firmly settled Kapil. By the time the 10th batsman, Syed Kirmani, arrived at the crease, the all-rounder from Chandigarh unleashed the beast in his willow and played shots all across the perimeter of the Tunbridge Wells.
Such was the dominance of Kapil that he alone piled up 100 runs in the ninth-wicket stand of 126 between him and Kirmani. While he smashed his way towards history, Kirmani made sure that Kapil was not left alone in the middle. He played a crucial knock of 24 off 56 deliveries.
As Kapil rightly said, his knock helped the Indian players attain self-belief and confidence among each other. In the next three matches, they went on to outplay Australia in the group stage, England in the semi-final and the mighty West Indies in the final to lift the maiden cricket World Cup trophy.