Ask anyone who followed Indian cricket passionately in the early 1980s about their single greatest regret with regards to the 1983 World Cup and they’ll talk about not getting to watch Kapil Dev’s 175 against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells.
This cricketing tragedy was caused because the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) went on strike. Thus, one of the greatest knocks in ODI history has not been documented. Today, we celebrate 30 years of that epic.
S Madal Lal, one of the protagonists who played his part in helping Kapil get to that magical figure, still can’t believe that knock was played 30 years ago! “Excellent recollection,” was what Madan Lal, one of India’s World Cup heroes, told MiD DAY when reminded about that very special performance.
It’s been recounted countless number of times, but such was the importance of that innings in the context of India’s eventual victory that fans still can’t stop discussing, debating and dissecting it.
“Things were looking really bad for us when we were five down for 17 in a must-win game. The dressing room was stunned, but the way Kapil played, he certainly believed that we could get out of that situation,” recollected Madan.
“Once you are in that sort of a position, there’s nothing really that can be planned. So Kapil and I decided that we would just occupy the crease as long as we could and see how things played out,” explained Madan who joined Kapil at the fall of Ravi Shastri’s wicket that had India precariously placed at 78-7.
Kapil had retrieved the situation slightly, putting on 60 runs for the sixth wicket in Roger Binny’s company, but things began looking bleak once again after India lost Binny (22) and Shastri (1) for the addition of only one run.
Madan hung around impressively, scoring 17 off 39 balls and put on 62 with Kapil. Thereafter, India reached 266-8 in their allotted 60 overs, with Kapil (175 not out) and wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani (24 not out) putting on an undefeated 126.
Coming out to bowl, India kept things under control and dismissed their opponents for 235, winning the game by 31 runs. Madan believed there is a context to every knock and keeping in mind all factors, he would rate Kapil’s innings at par with any one of the best ODI innings ever played.
“I also witnessed Viv Richards’ 189 against England (in 1984 at Old Trafford). Thereafter, I have seen many exciting and crucial knocks, but given the rescue act that Kapil performed, it’s one of my all-time favourites.”
What Wisden said...
A remarkable match contained one of the most spectacular innings played in this form of cricket. India, who had chosen to bat on a pitch from which the ball moved a lot, were 9 for four - soon to be 17 for five - when their captain, Kapil Dev, came in. No-one could foresee then that a week later India would be winning the whole tournament; indeed, qualification for the semi-final was in grave doubt.
Scorecard: Ind v Zim
India: S Gavaskar lbw b Rawson 0, K Srikkanth c Butchart b Curran 0, M Amarnath c Houghton b Rawson 5, S Patilc Houghton b Curran 1, Yashpal Sharma c Houghton b Rawson 9, Kapil Dev 175*, R Binny lbw b Traicos 22, R Shastri c Pycroft b Fletcher 1, S Madan Lal c Houghton b Curran 17, S Kirmani 24*
Total (266-8 in 60 overs
Extras: 12. FoW: 1-0, 2-6, 3-6, 4-9, 5-17, 6-77, 7-78, 8-140.
Bowling: Peter Rawson 12-4-47-3, Kevin Curran 12-1-65-3, Iain P Butchart 12-2-38-0, Duncan Fletcher 12-2-59-1, John Traicos 12-0-45-1
Zimbabwe: R Brown run out 35, G Paterson lbw b Binny 23, J Heron run out 3, A Pycroft c Kirmani b Sandhu 6,
D Houghton lbw b Madan Lal 17, D Fletcher c Kapil Dev b Amarnath 13, Kevin Curran c Shastri b Madan Lal 73,
Iain Butchart b Binny 18,
G Peckover c Yashpal Sharma b Madan Lal 14, P Rawson 2*, John Traicos c & b Kapil Dev 3
Total: 235 all out in 57 overs
Extras: 28. FoW: 1-44, 2-48, 3-61, 4-86, 5-103, 6-113, 7-168, 8-189, 9-230, 10-235.
Bowling: Kapil Dev 11-1-32-1, BS Sandhu 11-2-44-1, R Binny 11-2-45-2, S Madan Lal 11-2-42-3, M Amarnath 12-1-37-1, R Shastri 1-0-7-0