The 1983 World Cup is credited with changing how cricket is perceived in India. While the sport was popular before the tournament too, the World Cup win that year by Kapil Dev’s team is considered a seminal moment in the history of Indian cricket.
This moment however would have never happened had it not been for Kapil’s audacity with the bat. India faced Zimbabwe in a must-win encounter before their semi-final against England.
They batted first and were taken apart by Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran, father of England cricketers Tom and Sam Curran. Sunil Gavaskar, K. Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Sandip Patil and Yashpal Sharma were all dismissed for single digit figures, with Gavaskar and Srikkanth getting out on ducks.
Kapil’s first steady partner was Roger Binny, with whom he shared a stand of 60 runs. Madan Lal then stood with him and their eighth wicket stand produced 62 runs.
It was however wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani who was standing at the other end as Kapil unleashed himself on the Zimbabweans. The ninth wicket stand between Kapil and Kirmani was an unbeaten 126 and Kapil ended the match unbeaten on 175 off just 138 deliveries. His innings was punctuated by 16 fours and six sixes.
Madan Lal and Roger Binny would then help India restrict Zimbabwe to 235 and progress to the semi-final where they ended up beating hosts England by six wickets. Kapil would play a crucial role in this match as well, this time with the ball. He was India’s highest wicket-taker with three scalps as England were restricted to a total of 213.
Finally, India famously beat the mighty West Indies in the final to clinch the trophy. India were rated among the weakest teams going into the tournament and they ended up winning it.