The 1983 World Cup in England
1983 – A golden year in the history of Indian cricket! The Men in Blue stunned the world as they went on to claim their first World Cup trophy.
The 1983 edition saw many innovations being brought into the game. Primarily, the teams now had to play two matches with every other team in their group so as to reduce the chance of elimination by weather. Also, the umpires used stricter means to judge wides and bouncers. As a result, the number of wides per match rose to almost double than what used to be in 1979. And finally, a fielding circle, an oval to be precise, was introduced 30 yards around the stumps and four fieldsmen needed to be inside it at all times.
The early group stage of the tournament saw the obvious performers shining as England and Pakistan prevailed over Sri Lanka and New Zealand in their group. The other group, on the other hand, saw India emerging as the surprise team as it finished second next to West Indies, prevailing over Australia and Zimbabwe.
Playing in the semifinals for the first time ever, the underdog Indian team outclassed a below-par England side to cruise into the final. After bundling out the opponents for 213 runs, Kapil Dev’s men easily chased down the target with almost 5 overs and 6 wickets to spare. West Indies on the other hand, claimed a rather easy victory as they chased down Pakistan’s 184 runs with almost 11 overs to spare, thus, entering into the finals, third time in a row with an 8-wicket win.
The final clash was more action packed than expected. The Caribbean bowlers kept on snapping wickets at regular intervals as the Indians struggled to reach to 183 runs. However, what happened next was not anticipated by anyone. Mohinder Amarnath and Madal Lal picked three-wickets each as India crushed the West Indies by 43 runs to win their first ever World Cup. As Kapil Dev lifted the trophy for India, the world stood awed watching India’s supremacy.
India at 1983 World Cup
This World Cup was not perceived by even the Indian fans as the one they’d talk about for decades to come. Led by Kapil Dev, the team had been grouped with giants West Indies and Australia, apart from the minnows Zimbabwe.
However, this time around, one of the things that went in favour with the Indian team’s usual inconsistency problem – they had the chance to play two games against their opponents in the group stage- thereby increasing their chances of qualifying for the next rounds.
A shock win over the reigning champions West Indies got them the confidence that they required and despite the hiccups in the form of a loss against Australia in the initial part of the group stage and another at the hands of the mighty West Indians in the last match, they went onto the bigger stage with grit and a will to win.
Kapil then turned things into gold with a miraculous 175-run knock and thus, wheels of fortune finally started turning for the dark horses. They were given a bleaker than bleak chance of winning the final against the lords of cricket at the time-West Indies. This perhaps was the fuel for the Indian dressing room as they put the name to test at the legendary Lord’s venue.
Mohinder Amarnath took three magical wickets to ensure that the dream that was unfolding at the green fields of England were not abruptly terminated and the win gave Indian sports its most recognised photo of captain Kapil Dev standing tall with the World Cup in his hands, the joy of a nation pouring over the brim.
Champions India completed the tournament with six wins and two losses.