Flashback: India lift their first World Cup | cricket.com.au

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Flashback: India lift their first World Cup

25 June 2017

India captain Kapil Dev receives the 1983 World Cup trophy at Lord's // Getty

Kapil Dev leads his side to unexpected glory against a powerhouse West Indies side at Lord's in 1983

It was on this day in 1983 that India became cricket's world champions for the first time. 

Led by the inspirational Kapil Dev – one of the finest allrounder's the game has seen – the unfancied Indians overcame the might of the West Indies to wrest the trophy from the grip of the men from the Caribbean and claim it for themselves. 

The win, achieved at Lord's, the home of cricket, no less, carried such meaning that many on the subcontinent believe its effects continue to echo through Indian cricket today. 

Prior to the tournament beginning, bookmakers had them at odds as long as 66-1 to win the tournament, however when they defeated their eventual final opponents West Indies in their opening match, those odds dropped dramatically. 



As the tournament wore on Indian belief grew. 

They stumbled but ultimately overcame Zimbabwe, courtesy of a stunning 175 not out from Dev, before they enjoyed a shock win over Australia. 

Then came a comfortable semi-final victory over England, which saw them reach the decider against the West Indies.

"We went to Lord’s for the final and again everyone said that India had done well but now we didn’t stand a chance," Dev recalled recently for Wisden India.

"Everyone started saying that the West Indies were going to win it once again, for the third time.

"But I think we had something that no-one knew about. There was something up our sleeve – it was the self-confidence and the self-belief."

India's players celebrate on the Lord's balcony // Getty

India's total of 183 looked well short of being competitive against a side that had won the first two editions of the tournament – in 1975 and 1979 – and boasted a batting line-up that boasted names such as Greenidge, Haynes, Richard and Gomes.

Yet assumptions that West Indies would breeze to victory was to discount the hunger of the Indians. 

A peach of an inswinger from paceman Balwinder Singh Sandhu removed Gordon Greenidge and gave the underdogs hope at 1-5.

Yet West Indian talisman Viv Richards set about quickly trying to snuff out any spirited resurgence by his opponents. 

The 'Master Blaster' cruised effortlessly to 33 from 27 balls, seemingly setting the path to a third-straight World Cup win for his side. 

Enter Dev. 

A mistimed pull shot from Richards allowed India's skipper to take a brilliant outfield catch, running back at midwicket and holding on to the ball as it fell over his shoulder. 

Richards sends the ball from Madan Lal high for Dev to catch // Getty
Richards sends the ball from Madan Lal high for Dev to catch // Getty

With Richards back in the pavilion, West Indies collapsed from a position of dominance to one of desperation at 6-76.

Despite a fighting seventh-wicket stand from wicketkeeper Jeff Dujon (25) and paceman Malcolm Marshall (18), they never fully recovered. 

In the end, the winning margin of 43 runs was sizeable, and India were left to celebrate their finest achievement in cricket history – one they didn't replicate until 28 years later, when they enjoyed a second 50-over World Cup triumph on their home turf.  

"I still remember that photograph at the Lord’s balcony – the whole team was there, we were dancing and shouting and laughing," Dev recalled. 

"We had phenomenal support too. There were so many Indians there, across England and on the field after we won. The celebrations just never ended. Everyone was so proud."

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About the Writer

 @AdamBurnett09
@AdamBurnett09

Adam Burnett is senior news editor of bigbash.com.au. He previously wrote for and edited at Inside Cricket magazine and The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia and The Telegraph and The Guardian in the UK.

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