Some events, for better or worse, played an important role in shaping India. On 25 June 1983, India took the turn for the better and cricket became country's identity. That day, a team led by Kapil Dev scripted history by clinching the World Cup, then known as Prudential Cup, beating defending champions West Indies.
The World Cup win not only changed the lives of the men involved in scripting the victory in England but also inspired many fans back home to start their love affair with cricket. One of them went on become an icon of the game while breaking numerous records during his playing career. His name is Sachin Tendulkar.
India arrived in England without the 'favourites' tag. They had enough experience in the game before 1983, but they were still not considered as giants. In 1971, Indian cricket team took a significant step game by beating the likes of England and West Indies. The ODI format, which was then a 60-over a side affair, was becoming popular, but India were yet to make an impact.
India were placed in a group comprising of the Windies, Australia and Zimbabwe. Clearly, the Windies and the Australians were favourites to progress from the group and play in the semis.
Kapil Dev's team were off to a bright start, beating Clive Llyod's side in the first match. No one expected India to beat the defending champions in the very first game. But this was just the beginning.
Later in the group stages, India went to beat Australia and Zimbabwe and earned the spot in the semi-final. Apart from the win over the Windies, the group stage also saw Kapil Dev play an innings of a lifetime. Against Zimbabwe, India were reduced to 9/4 which then became 17/5. Kapil then took the matter into his hands and changed the game. He played a blinder to score 175 in just 138 balls and helped India post a competitive total of 268. The bowlers played their part and India clinched the match by 31 runs.
For the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, who was part of the squad, Kapil Dev's sensational batting display was the best ODI knock ever.
In the semi-final, India faced home team England. Indian bowlers, who had been consistent throughout the tournament, once again delivered and ensured that England don't post a commanding total. The home team were bowled out for 213 and India chased down the target with six wickets in hand. Kapil grabbed three wickets while Yashpal Sharma and Sandeep Patil scored fifties.
After succumbing to shock defeat, the Windies bounced back and made it to the final. The team consisting of some big stalwarts like Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Lloyd, Malcolm Marshall and Micheal Holding were looking to clinch an unprecedented third World Cup.
West Indies won the toss and elected to bowl first. Gavaskar was dismissed cheaply while the likes of Kris Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath got the starts failed to convert them into big scores. Consequently, India were bowled out for 183. In reply, West Indies lost Greenidge early but Richards was taking the match away from India. Just when it looked he was settling in, Kapil pulled off a terrific catch running behind to dismiss the dangerous batsman. The Indian captain was there again when his team needed him the most.
Madal Lal and Amarnath bowled good spells under pressure and ended up taking three wickets each to dismantle the Windies. The victory was completed when Amarnath trapped Holding in front of the wickets as the Windies were bowled out for 140.
As Kapil lifted the trophy, a new era was born in Indian cricket and the win changed the face of Indian cricket.