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Capturing India's final win in Tony Lewis' words

India seized the Prudential World Cup from the West Indies with a thrilling victory by 43 runs in the final. 

Tony Lewis

West Indies, the favourties, who were set the seemingly easy task of scoring 184 for victory, collapsed sensationally and were all out for 140.  At tea time, with 25 overs of the West Indies innings bowled, the score was 76 for five. Dujon was two not out, and Bacchus eight. Top class West Indian batsmen inexplicably holed out.

Haynes drove an easy catch to cover and then Richards, the big prize, pulled a ball from Madan Lal high to midwicket. Kapil Dev race back, fitted in some tricky strides and held a fine catch.  Gomes flashed the bat and top-edged a catch to Gavaskar at slip and Lloyd, batting with a runner, drove the ball straight to Kapil Dev at cover. 66 for five in the 18th over.

At least, the trip to the 1983 final was becoming enthralling. Lord’s was all sunshine and security. It is comforting to know that everyone in the crowd is a legitimate ticket holder. But in the eye of every attendant and gateman you are treated as guilty of not having one until proved innocent.  In fact, entrance to the ground was expensive but not unpurchasable. A 10 pounds seat was changing hands for 20 pounds.

India were put in to bat. There were many predictions of a batting collapse wholly unconnected with their talent. However, the presence of Srikkanth flailing away sometimes brilliantly, sometime blindly, could have been enough to send the whole of India into palpitations. The sub-continent was viewing the whole game on colour television.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth
Krishnamachari Srikkanth in full flow during the World Cup final against the West Indies. Pic/Getty Images

Gavaskar went cheaply in the fifth over. Unfortunately, the little man made nothing of Roberts’s big bounce. There was movement off the pitch; batting looked like torture.  It was Sunil who remarked about the recent Indian tour of West Indies that leg guards were now unnecessary when facing the West Indian fast bowlers. “A good pair of boxing gloves and a helmet is all I need.

It’s the target area.” Amarnath and Srikkanth then put together a tenacious partnership; Amarnath the solid, correct player; Srikkanth the electrifying
inventor.  Amarnath was expert of leaving the ball outside the off stump. Srikkanth was scything away with his square cover drive, cracking Holding back straight for four and with a combination of the scoop and the pull, wafting any short-pitched bowling to the leg side.

Despite the loss of Srikkanth, India were still looking secure until they made an error before lunch.  Amarnath’s patient and skilled innings had just been ended by Holding — a fast break-back slotted through the gap between bat and pad — when Yashpal Sharma committed the sin of following him back to the pavilion within a few balls, so leaving two new batsmen in the middle.

Attack Gomes
The only commiseration one can offer Yashpal is that he knew Gomes had to be attacked. West Indies had to entrust at least 12 of their overs to bowlers who do not bowl regularly. Gomes was one of them. Yashpal improvised. He aimed a stroke over extra cover and succeeded only in finding the hands of Logie at deep point.

Lloyd seized on the hiatus in India’s effort to introduce his other makeshift bowler, Richards. At lunch with India 100 for four the advantage had swung West Indies’ way after 32 overs.  Working on the principle that “you’ve got to have a go at Gomes” Kapil Dev holed out at long-on, much to the dismay of Indian supporters.

Courteous Kirti Azad jabbed the ball into Garner’s hands at mid-wicket and the dreaded word “collapse” hit the air again. 130 for seven in the 36th over was now an unequal contest.  The World Cup final was fast becoming a non-event. The great difficulty when playing against West Indies in one-day cricket is serving the need to score runs against the four fast bowlers. All the virtues of defensive play, of the clever avoidance of the moving ball, are negated by the need to score.

As each ball flashes safely past off stump, so another fragment of the 60 over opportunity wastes away.  It nurtures frustration and when the gentle off spin of Gomes and Richards arrives the compulsion to hit the ball somewhere… anywhere… overpowers even the most experienced batsmen.

India sagged and then fought to the death. Madan Lal, Kirmani and Sandhu stretched the innings into the last overs. But the West Indies batsmen must have chuckled to see how easy batting was. Marshall was brutish, bowling a bouncer to Sandhu he struck a muffled blow on his patka-bolstered
helmet. Umpire Bird remonstrated.

Otherwise, the tempo of run getting declined at the very point of the innings it should have been accelerating. West Indies required 184 to win at just three runs an over when the innings ended in the 55th over.  Batting looked simple as long as Richards was stroking powerful boundaries almost at will. He hit Kapil Dev for two in an over, pulled Sandhu strongly to the midwicket boundary and cracked Madan Lal mercilessly through the covers.

Madan Lal not only withstood the blows but he also preserved, found a more threatening length and dismissed three West Indians for six in 19 balls to change the course of the game.  West Indies suffered another setback shortly after the tea interval when they lost Bacchus, leaving Dujon and Marshall to continue the struggle. These two batsmen, mixing caution with aggression, took the score past the 100 mark.

But the Indian bowling still tidy and accurate, allowed the batsmen few liberties and the runs were gathered mainly in singles. Although the crisis had not yet passed, the West Indian position was a little brighter at 115 for six in 39 overs.  Later another wicket fell when Amarnath bowled Dujon for 25. The total was then 119 for seven. At 126, West Indies had lost nine wickets as Marshall also fell to Amarnath and Roberts was trapped lbw by Kapil Dev.

India’s incredible efforts were completed at 140 in the 52nd over when Amarnath trapped Holding lbw to take the original 33-1 outsiders to World Cup victory.  

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