On June 25, 1983, underdogs India had convincingly beaten mighty England in the semi-finals and was up against the wall of West Indies in this final one-day world cup match; then called the Prudential Cup. A crowd of about 30,000 watched under the scorching sun, as India could manage just 183 in 54.4 overs, not lasting even all the stipulated 60. With aggressive batsmen such as Clive Lloyd, Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge, and Desmond Haynes, 183 runs were a ‘too easy’ target for the favorites. India had an excellent line-up of batsmen but compared to West Indies, lacked in the bowling attack. Aside from Kapil Dev Nikhanj, captain of the India team, other bowlers were medium pacers.
Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes were known as one of the most prolific opening pair of West Indies. Among the two, Greenidge was known to be aggressive who missed delivery by Balwinder Singh Sandhu and was clean bowled. Not to be deterred by this early dismissal, Desmond Haynes reached 13 and was caught by Roger Binny on the bowling of Madan Lal. That’s when Vivian Richards, the king arrived. Chewing gum, as usual, gave an air of casualness to his personality. A natural hitter of the ball, he began to overpower Indian bowlers with the ball crossing the boundary line once too often. After scoring a quick-fire 33 from just 28 balls, he mistimed a shot on the bowling of Madan Lal. The ball went very high up in the air. All eyes were following the ball, and so were the Indian captain Kapil Dev who ran sideways for almost 20 yards and took this brilliant catch. The king had fallen. It was the turning point of the match as the formidable team of West Indies began to crumble.
Even though it was a team effort, credit goes to Kapil Dev Nikhanj, the lad from Haryana, who with his all-round performance won India the most coveted World Cup.
“We went to Lord’s for the final, and again everyone said that India had done well, but now we didn’t stand a chance, everyone started saying that the West Indies were going to win it once again. There was something up our sleeve — it was the self-confidence and the self-belief,” Kapil Dev Nikhanj said.
For the generation who couldn’t experience the thrill of that particular match, there’s good news! A film based on the famous 1983 win of India will soon hit the theatres. Viewers can witness the historic victory in a movie titled ‘83’ starring Ranvir Singh in the lead role of Kapil Dev Nikhanj.
By Chandrashekhar Anant Marathe
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