Runners-up: West Indies
Group A: England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Group B: West Indies, India, Australia, ZimbabweIndian cricket scaled unbelievable heights when they beat West Indies by 43 runs in the finals to lift the Prudential World Cup 1983. The sweetest thing was that it was so unexpected. West Indies, one of the dominant forces in that era, sent the whole cricket world in total shock as Clive Llyod’s was deprived of a dream hat-trick.
The 1983 final has been illustrated as one of the biggest upsets of all the seven World Cups played so far. It wasn’t anything great about the Indian batting but the enthusiasm on the Indian camp throughout the tournament on the field that led to the triumph.
Of the 27 matches played over 16 days with each team playing each other twice, only three games needed the assistance of a reserved day. The top two teams from Group A and B qualified for the semi-finals.
England topped the Group A with 20 points with only one defeat at Birmingham losing to New Zealand by two wickets. It was Kiwi first ever win in one-day Internationals against the Englishmen. Pakistan and New Zealand shared the second place with 12 points each but Pakistan got the nod by advantage of better run-rate.West Indies, as expected topped the Group B with five out of six wins. India got a birth in the semis, thanks to one of the best one-day innings by charismatic Indian captain Kapil Dev in a do-or-die game against Zimbabwe at Turnbridge Wells. India were in totters at 17 for five and a defeat here would mean end to Indian campaign for the World Cup. Enter Kapil and he smashed Zimbabwean bowling to all parts of the picturesque ground at Turnbridge Wells. He recorded an epic 175, the highest score in World Cup that time.
Australia faced real humiliation as they managed only two wins of six matches including a shocking defeat in the hands of Zimbabwe.
In the first of the two semi-finals at Old Trafford, England elected to bat against India. They got off to a fine start but Indian seamers restricted them to 213. Kapil Dev, Roger Binny and Man-of-the Match Mohinder Amarnath (2/27 off 12 overs) nevewr allowed Englishmen to settle down and go for big shots. India, in reply got off to decent start before Srikaanth and Gavaskar departed in quick succession with 50 runs on the board. However Yashpal Sharma and Mohinder Sharma ensured India chase the total with no hiccups. The duo put on 92 for the third wicket and India coasted to a comfortable six-wicket win with 32 balls to spare.
In the second semi-final at The Oval, firm-favorites West Indies cruised to a comfortable eight-wicket win over Pakistan. Viv Richards (80*) and Larry Gomes (50*) put on an unbeaten 132-run partnership for the third wicket to reach 185 with over 11 overs to spare.
In the finals, on a warm sunny day at the Lord’s, Lloyd inserted India into bat and Roberts, Marshall, Garner and Holding sent India packing for 184 and the win looked inevitable.
Defending champions West Indies having a batting line-up with names like Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd seemed as if they’ would surpass 184 even if they bat left-handed. They were determined to complete the hat-tricks after winning in 1975 and 1979.
It all started off wrongly when West Indies lost Greenidge with just 5 on the board. The game seemed as good as decided with score-line reading 50/1. Then came the most wonderful athleticism from Kapil Dev that changed the Indian fortunes. Kapil ran back from mid-wicket and pulled off a sensational catch to dismiss danger-man Viv Richards. Then came the slide and the Carribeans were reduced to 76 for six. Mohinder Amarnath trapped Michael Robert leg before and the finest hour in Indian cricket came. West Indies were shot out for 140. Amarnath took 3/12 and was deservedly named the Man of the Finals.