It has been 38 years since India lifted the World Cup for the first time. Kapil’s Devils stunned the whole world when they outsmarted the two-time World Cup winners West Indies to snatch the trophy. There is a reason why we say “stunned”. Because in the previous two editions of World Cup (1975 & 1979), India had only one win to their name in six matches, including a loss to Sri Lanka in 1979, an associate nation then.
The 1983 campaign started with a surprise as they beat a mighty West Indian team in their first match. After two wins to begin with, India suffered two losses at the hand of Australia and West Indies. After these losses came one of the historical matches ever played by India in their ODI. Against Zimbabwe, the skipper waged a lone a battle to propel them to a fighting total. From this point on, India were unbeatable and went on to lift the World Cup in 1983.
There were a lot of notable stats that were set during the 1983 World Cup that are still to be broken or feature among the top five World Cup records. Here are a few of those:
The second highest contribution made
If there is any debate on the best innings by a batsman in the history of ODI cricket, the first one that pops into mind is Kapil’s 175* against Zimbabwe. Coming into bat when India was 17 for five, Kapil scored 65.8 percent of the runs. His score of 175 is still the second highest score by a captain in a World Cup. The record stood as the highest till Viv Richards broke it when he scored 181 against Sri Lanka in 1987. To emboss more, the 65.8 percent contribution is the second highest by a batsman in an ODI innings.
First skipper to take a five-for in World Cup
In their first of the two losses in the 1983 World Cup, India were massacred by a strong Australian side. However, there was a significant record set by Kapil. Though it came in a losing cause, Kapil became the first ever skipper to bag a five-wicket haul (5/43) in World Cups. Till the 2011 World Cup, he was the only skipper with a five-wicket haul. Shahid Afridi joined the elite list when he bagged one against Kenya (5/16) and then Canada (5/23).
Winston Davis held the record for 20 years
After an unexpected defeat against India in their first match, West Indies bounced back strongly against Australia in their second match. The West Indian fast bowler Winston Davis was the star with a seven-wicket haul (7/51) in the second innings. The record withstood for 20 years until Glenn McGrath in 2003 broke it with a miser spell of seven for 15 against Namibia. Davis’ spell is the fourth best spell by a bowler in a World Cup innings at present. In addition, Davis is still the only West Indian bowler in ODIs to bag a seven for in an innings.
Duncan Fletcher shines on debut
Playing for the first time in the World Cup, Duncan Fletcher led the Zimbabwe side against Australia. With the bat, Fletcher scored an unbeaten 69 in the first innings that helped them post 239. With the ball in hand, he picked up a four-wicket haul (4/42) that led to one of the greatest upsets of the 1983 World Cup as Zimbabwe beat Australia. Fletcher’s allround performance is still one of the best on debut. In ODIs Fletcher is one of the three allrounders to score a 50+ and bag four-wicket haul in the same innings.
A historical comeback
Generally, at 17 for five, expectations of the team bundling out early is common. But, a skipper stood tall against the odds to defy it and post a match-winning total of 266. Yes, from 17 for five to 266 is not a dream but reality. This is the highest score for a team which had seen their half side collapse with 20 runs in an ODI. No other team has posted more than 200 when they have lost five wickets for less than 20 runs.
Mohinder Amarnath special
There were a lot of Individual performances that led India to their triumph. But the brilliance of Mohinder Amarnath in two of the crucial games - Semi-finals against England and Finals against West Indies - is not to be forgotten. A skinflint spell with the ball in both – 2 for 27 (12) vs England and 3/12 (7) vs West Indies – followed by a handy contribution with the bat fetched Amarnath man of the match in both semis and the finals. He is first of the three players to achieve this feat. Aravinda de Silva in 1996 and Shane Warne in 1999 also were player of the match in both semi-finals and finals.
A half-century less final
Both the sides in the finals had some brilliant batsmen, especially in the West Indian team. But to everyone’s surprise, there wasn’t a single 50+ runs scored. In the 12 World Cup Finals played, this is the only one without a 50+ score in the match. The highest scorer of this match was by Kirshnamachari Srikkanth with 38 runs.
A win that dropped a bombshell
Against the likes of Sir Vivian Richards, Sir Clive Lloyd, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes etc., defending 183. Wonder will never cease! As said earlier, the win for India in the final came as a bombshell for the West Indies. Let alone the West Indies, the world was in shock. Why wouldn’t they be when India had a win percentage of only 30 percent in ODIs heading into the 1983 World Cup. This is the lowest win percentage for a team in ODIs before heading into their maiden World Cup (before the first match of the teams World Cup winning campaign).