40 years on, why India’s 1983 World Cup victory was not a Stroke of Luck

40 years on, why India’s 1983 World Cup victory was not a Stroke of Luck

Was India’s 1983 World Cup win just a Stroke of luck?

Indian Team

Did you know the mighty West Indies lost to Kapil’s Devils in the league stage of the 1983 Prudential World Cup before India repeated the feat in the finals too?

All of us celebrated 40 years of India’s winning the Cricket world cup on 25th June.

It was a rare feat for a team labeled as the underdog against the mighty West Indies Cricket team. But many of us don’t know that it was not the first victory of India over the West Indies nor was it the first defeat of the West Indies in the Prudential World Cup of 1983.

Short Stories: By Sanju Bhalerao

Date: 10/07/2023




Prudential Insurance Company continued its Support for Cricket by sponsoring the 3rd World Cup in a row. After the grand success of the first World Cup in England, the popularity of the second World Cup in 1979 was overshadowed by the Packer Circus Down Under. While the World Series was eventually pulled down, it triggered the game’s popularity beyond the tight-lipped MCC stands.





The 1983 Prudential World Cup

The third World Cup followed a similar pattern of League and Semi Final / Final stages as the earlier tournaments. However, now each team had to play the other team twice in the league stage. Not only it increased the number of matches but also increased the number of venues. One such ground was Turnbridge Wells where Kapil Deve posted 175 runs, the highest individual ODI score for almost a decade, but there were no official cameras covering the Zimbabwe game.

Match 4:

The Underrated Indian team met the mighty West Indies and reigning champions in the 4th game of the tournament

Not many remember India had defeated West Indies in the ODI Bilateral series just four months before the world cup campaign began. So, India had tasted blood.

In overcast English Conditions, the West Indies pacemen could get both Indian openers before the game was stopped due to rain after 22 overs. West Indies were desperate to not lose points due to an abandoned game and hoped to have a match in their favor.

The reserve day came into play and the Indian middle order lead by Yashpal Sharma with the help of Roger Binny and Madanlal would help India to put up a respectful 262/8 in a 60 over a side game.

The Chase was promising for the West Indies Team, and the famous pair of Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge piled on some good opening run partnership but on attempting to complete the 50th Run Partnership Desmond Haynes was runout.

Vivian Richards

Indians were not celebrating even after Balwinder Singh Sandhu bowled Gordon Greenidge. Who knew Ballu was to repeat this feat in the finals too.

  Sir Issac Vivian Richards nicked one to Syed Kirmani of Roger Binny an extraordinary thought of the West Indies losing their World Cup league game started to do the rounds in some of the optimistic spectator’s minds. The resilient West Indies middle order all started well but could not last.

Clive Llyod

When Jeff Dujon fell to Roger Binny and Larry Gomes got uncharacteristically run out at 124/6, Clive Llyod and the tail were left to chase 139 runs.

The most reliable of the tail-enders, Malcom Marshall who could have been a good support for the captain to take the team home, fell at the wrong time setting a sense of panic in the West Indies dressing room.

 Clive Lloyd was expected to carry the tail as Yashpal Sharma did for the Indian Team in the morning but he too succumbed to a swinger from Roger Binny.

It was now 106 runs to get for the last pair and the memories of the 1975 semifinal came alive as the Big Bird posted a long-handled sixer over the railway tracks adjoining Old Trafford. The last pair made a fighting 71 runs partnership before Joel Garner missed a Ravi Shastri delivery for Syed Kirmani to affect his 2nd stumping for the match and seal the first loss for West Indies in the World Cup.

For a cricket-crazy nation like India, the only source of connection to Cricket was through Radio commentary. Satellite telecast after the 1982 Asian Games enabled live broadcasts of sports overseas. Doordarshan managed to telecast live the Semifinals and Final of the 1983 World Cup. It was the first occasion that Indian fans could watch overseas cricket live. 3 pm IST game start enabled the match to be available at Primetime in India.

The West Indies was no doubt a stronger team.

The specialty of the West Indies team was that it could turn the results of the match at any point in time. Famous Caribbean writer Tony Cozier pictured them as a world-conquering team and rightly so.

English County cricket till then attracted world-class players but the clout of the English team was diminishing globally. Australia had raised itself up to the top. However, in the post Kerry Packer era, both the Poms and the Aussies had lost their sheen. West Indies included all the players who returned to mainstream cricket post-Packer series.

The Game of Cricket always remained Unpredictable

That is the beauty of the Game of Cricket.


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