On this day in 1983, when captain Kapil Dev walked out to the middle at Tunbridge Wells with India at 9/4 against Zimbabwe in the Prudential World Cup, it was not just a precarious situation for his side in the match but what could have been a potential endgame in the tournament.
But it was not to be, because of what the Zimbabwean bowlers were made to face by Kapil and his herculean effort. On this day, in 1983, Kapil played that stunning, history charting knock of 175 not out to help India survive a massive scare and provided the necessary shot in the arm as they went on to win the world title. The rest, as they say, is history. Cricket is now a religion in India and the foundation for it was laid with that innings.
Kapil was the one who won the toss on that day and invited the opposition to bowl first, with the bowlers making full use of the helpful conditions. The ever-dependable Sunil Gavaskar got out for a duck on the very second delivery of the match while his partner, the maverick Kris Srikkanth soon followed him back to the pavilion with no runs against his name.
Mohinder Amarnath and Sandeep Patil were the next to depart, scoring only six runs amongst them. It was after this that Kapil joined Yashpal Sharma, who then departed to make the scoreboard read 17/5. The end was nigh.
But before it could get any worse, Kapil found support from Roger Binny as they put up 60 runs for the sixth wicket with Binny making 22. Two more quick wickets fell after this with Binny and Ravi Shastri departing. India were 78/7.
Kapil, however, continued accumulating runs from the other end — first cautiously and later destructively. Madan Lal (17) and Syed Kirmani (24 not out) were the one who played the second fiddle during him wreaking the havoc.
Kapil eventually finished with 175 not out with India completing their quota of 60 overs with a total of 266/8. The Indian skipper slammed six sixes and 16 fours in his 138-ball innings. He also broke the record for World Cup's highest score of 171 made by New Zealand's Glenn Turner.
Today in 1983:
- Kapil Dev blasts 175* vs Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells.
- Came in at 9/4
- It was the 1st ODI 100 by an Indian.
- It was then the highest score in the World Cup.
- It still remains the highest score by a batsman coming at a position lower than #4 in ODI cricket!
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) June 18, 2020
A target of 267 proved to be a little too much for Zimbabwe even though Kevin Curran brought them close with his knock of 73. India eventually won the match by 31 runs. India now had the momentum and self-belief and those elements were on display in their very next match as they defeated the mighty Australians. The juggernaut didn't stop there as they would go on to beat two-time world champions West Indies in the final to lift the trophy.
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