Put in to bat, Sri Lanka started on a brisk note with Pathum Nissanka (30) getting some runs but Dimuth Karunaratne once again failed to make much impact.
Every captain trusts his instincts but for once on June 25, 1983, Kapil Dev had decided to go by gut feeling of his senior seamer Madan Lal.
The anecdotes related to India’s historic World Cup triumph is a part of the folklore.
On Wednesday, former skipper recollected how Lal, a medium pacer, who could barely hit 130 kmph during his playing days, literally took the ball from his skipper with the conviction that he can get the legendary Richards out.
Madan before that over was dispatched disdainfully for three boundaries by Richards and West Indies were in pursuit of a modest target of 184.
Naturally, Kapil was apprehensive considering that Richards was literally toying with Lal’s bowling. But rest as they say was history.
“Before that particular over, two-three fours were hit off Madan. So I went to Madan asked him to take a break and comebacl after a few overs. To which Madan said ‘Kapsi (that’s how his teammates called him), you give me the ball. I have earlier dismissed Vivian Richards, I can do it once more,” Kapil recalled.
“When a player is so confident, even though I was not too keen, I thought, let him bowl another over. They say, some things just happen for you and this happened with us,” Kapil said.
Kapil also recalled that every player their role in the team’s victory.
“In our hearts, we knew that our team was not the best in the business. Halfway through the tour, we realised that we had a team. When our team was picked, we did not have much confidence but once we started winning matches, everyone was more motivated and played like leaders.”
India’s top wicket-taker Roger Binny spoke about the Kapil Dev’s 175 not out against Zimbabwe as the catalyst.
“Before we could finish our morning coffee, we were 17 for 5. I was the sixth batsman and captain was in. We had got 53 overs to go. We took the score to 77 and I got out and seventh wicket also fell. Till then Kapil did not hit any boundaries, then Madan came inside, he shared another 70 run partnership and got out.
Kapil was playing in ones and twos.
“Then (Syed) Kirmani came along and shared an 100 run partnership, of which 90 per cent runs were scored by Kapil Dev. You see the score card Kapil Dev – 175, the next batsman was 24. It was final few overs that we saw Kapil hitting some big sixes,” recalled Binny.
Yashpal Sharma recalled Sir Garfield Sobers’ comments that India were a team to watch out for.
Azad spoke at length about his delivery which foxed England batsman Ian Botham in the semi-final, which helped India to beat England.
“The ball remained low and turned. Kapil asked me either the ball can remain low or turn, how did both the things happen? 34 years have gone by, I still don’t know how it happened,” recalled Azad, who is now a politician.
Other members of the squad – K Srikanth, Sandeep Patil, Mohinder Amarnath, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sunil Valson and team’s manager PR Man Singh shared their memories on the win.