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When a dominant India won the World Championship of Cricket

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Last updated on 10 Mar 2021 | 10:33 AM
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When a dominant India won the World Championship of Cricket

On this day (March 10) in 1985, India defeated Pakistan by eight wickets to win the final of an event that had all the top teams in the world taking part

As India have discovered over the past seven or so years, it’s not easy to win world titles despite having a plethora of talent at your disposal. In the 1980s, you wouldn’t say that the Indian cricket team were close to being as highly-rated as they are today. Yet, they had managed to secure two world titles in One-Day Internationals (ODI) during a 22-month period.

The second of those successes came in 1985 when India, under the captaincy of Sunil Gavaskar, put in dominant performances to win the World Championship of Cricket. It was a triumph that showed that the World Cup victory a couple of years ago was not by chance and that they were a force to reckon with.


India had announced their arrival as a top team in one-day cricket by winning the 1983 World Cup, an unexpected triumph at the time. At the start of that tournament, little did cricket followers expect the Indian team to challenge for the trophy, let alone defeat an exceptional West Indies team in the final and win the whole event.

In the two years that followed though, India hadn’t really built on that success to become a dominating force in world cricket. Hence, at the start of the World Championship of Cricket, they weren’t considered to be one of the favourites. The Men in Blue, though, would go on to enjoy a fantastic tournament, winning all their group stage matches comfortably before defeating New Zealand by seven wickets in the semi-final.

On the other hand, Pakistan – who had been beaten by India during the group stages – made the final after defeating a strong West Indies side by the same margin in the other final four clash.


At the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first, a decision which didn’t look like a wise call soon enough as they were reduced to 33/4 with Kapil Dev bowling a brilliant opening spell. Kapil was well supported by Chetan Sharma, who had come into the team only because Roger Binny was down with a virus.

After those early wickets, Pakistan would fight back with a notable 68-run partnership for the fifth wicket between the experienced duo of Javed Miandad and Imran Khan. Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, who hadn’t even turned 20 yet, had a fine tournament and would have a telling impact on the final as well. But before the Chennai-born leg-spinner would have his say, Sunil Gavaskar produced a run-out to send Imran back to the pavilion which turned out to be a crucial moment in the game.

Then, Sivaramakrishnan came to the fore, getting the wickets of Saleem Malik and Miandad. The second of those dismissals was especially memorable as he beat the outside edge of Miandad’s bat with a classic leg-break delivery. The Pakistan captain was stumped for 48 and India were in complete control of the game.

Pakistan would stumble from 131/5 to 145/9, with Sivaramakrishnan accounting for three wickets. An unbeaten 21 from Wasim Raja and a 10th wicket partnership of 31 would guide them to 176/9 in 50 overs, but it was a subpar total whichever way you looked at it.

In reply, the opening pair of Kris Srikkanth and Ravi Shastri ensured that there were no hiccups as they put on a 103-run stand. They pretty much batted as you would have expected them to – Srikkanth being the aggressor while Shastri taking his time in the middle.

While Srikkanth’s brisk 67 had put India on the verge of victory, a 22-year-old Mohammad Azharuddin then made a quick 25, following which Shastri and Dilip Vengsarkar made sure that India would win a second world title within a time period of two years. Shastri would remain unbeaten on 63, bringing up his third half-century of the tournament.

Shastri ended the championship with 182 runs and eight wickets in five matches, and while there were multiple Indian players who had shone during the course of the series, he won the Champion of Champions award for being the best player of the tournament. The Indian all-rounder, who is now India’s head coach, won an Audi for his efforts.

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