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June 25 – A day etched in Indian Cricket history

35 years ago, it was on this very day, the 25th of June, when India lifted their first ever international tournament – the Prudential Cup

AR
Last updated: 25.06.2018
35 years ago, it was on this very day, the 25th of June, when India lifted their first ever international tournament – the Prudential Cup | Sports Social Blog

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35 years ago, it was on this very day, the 25th of June, when India lifted their first ever international tournament – the Prudential Cup, or what is known today as the ICC Cricket World Cup. It was a moment that signified the remarkable fighting spirit that stands as a defining feature of Indian cricket even today. Let’s just go back in time to see how the day played out.

The final of the 1983 Prudential Cup pitted the West Indies against India at Lord’s. The former had won the first two Prudential Cups in 1975 and 1979 and was a formidable outfit. With a batting lineup that boasted of the likes of Desmond Haynes, Gordon Greenidge, the explosive Sir Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd and a bowling attack comprising the ‘Fiery Four’ of Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Micheal Holding, the Windies were a brilliant side, capable of decimating oppositions even on an off-day. India, on the other hand, possessed the legendary Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev in their ranks, along with Kris Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, Roger Binny and Balwinder Singh Sandhu. Though they had an effective batting and bowling setup, India were clearly the minnows here, having failed to go too far in both the previous Cups, but they had punched way above their weight in this tournament.


The Windies won the toss and decided to field first. Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth walked out to bat for India but got off to a horror start as Gavaskar was sent back after just scoring 2 runs, caught behind off Andy Roberts. Srikkanth and Amarnath then went about steadying the ship and put on a partnership of 57, before Srikkanth fell leg before to Marshall for 38, which would end up being the highest individual score of the match. Yashpal Sharma and Amarnath weren’t able to find the gaps as the runs dried up and eventually, both fell in succession. Amarnath went first on 26, bowled by Holding, and 2 runs later, Sharma joined him in the dugout, caught off the bowling of Larry Gomes for a painstaking 11. India was struggling against a quality Windies attack, at 92-4. Kapil Dev and Sandeep Patil joined forces, but their stand lasted a mere 18 runs, when the Indian captain was sent back, caught by Holding of Gomes (again!) for a quick-fire 15 off 8 balls, and just a run later, new batsman, Kirti Azad was back in the dugout for a duck, caught by Garner off Roberts. India were now 111-6, with only the tail to come in support of Patil. However, along with Madan Lal (17), Patil kept the scoreboard ticking before he fell for 27, with the scoreboard reading 153-8. Syed Kirmani (14), India’s wicketkeeper then walked in and along with Lal and Sandhu (11), pushed India forward, before they were bowled out for 183 of 54.4 overs. Roberts finished with 3-32, while Holding, Marshal, and Gomes, all picked two wickets apiece.

The Windies opened the batting with Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, a classy pair that was expected to provide their team with a good start against a lukewarm Indian bowling attack. However, Greenidge fell, with just 5 runs on the board, to some outstanding swing bowling from Sandhu. In what was a famous spell of fast bowling, Sandhu, after repeatedly getting the Windies opener to play and miss by bowling out-swingers, got the red ball to swing back in from just outside off stump. Greenidge shouldered arms and watched helplessly as the ball clattered into his stumps. In walked Sir Viv Richards, and played a trademark, flamboyant knock. He pulled, cut and drove with disdain as the Indian bowling attack was left bereft of ideas. Along with Haynes, he notched up 45 runs for the second wicket, before the opener fell to Madan Lal, with Binny taking the catch. Captain Clive Lloyd walked in at number 4. With Windies needing just another 134 runs for victory and Richards striking the ball ever so sweetly, it was expected that they were well on their way for a third Prudential Cup. However, with the score on 57, Richards skied the ball off Lal’s bowling and though initially, it looked like the ball was going to descend in no man’s land, Kapil Dev sprinted and stretched his arms out to complete an extraordinary catch and send the West Indies legend back for 33.


The Indian dream was alive and kicking again! Larry Gomes walked in and did not stay for long as he was sent back with just 5 runs to his name, caught by Gavaskar off Lal, who was having the time of his life. The scoreboard read 66-4, but the worst was yet to come. With not even a run more scored, Lloyd was also sent back caught by Dev, again, off Roger Binny to leave the Windies reeling at 66-5. Faoud Bacchus and Jeff Dujon joined hands, but the latter could do little when Bacchus edged one behind to Kirmani off Sandhu, the scoreboard reading 76-6. Malcolm Marshall then joined Dujon to lend some stability to the innings as both put on 43 for the 7th wicket to take the Windies to 119, but just as they had begun frustrating the Indians, Dujon fell, bowled by Mohinder Amarnath for a patient 25. Marshall followed, caught by Gavaskar off Amarnath for 18, with the scoreboard reading 124-8. Celebrations had already begun in the stands of the Home of Cricket, but Kapil Dev kept his players’ focus on eliminating the remaining two wickets. The Indian captain himself did half the job, dismissing Andy Roberts by trapping him in front for 4.

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The Windies were 9 down for 126. Joel Garner and Michael Holding held on for another 14 runs before the latter was out leg before to Amarnath for 6 as the. West Indies were bowled out for 140. India were winners by 43 runs in a game, in which no one gave them a chance initially! Madan Lal and Amarnath took 3 wickets apiece, while Sandhu finished with 2-32. Kapil Dev and Binny rounded off the rest with a wicket each, as India held on to record a famous win. Amarnath was declared the Man of the Match for his all-round performance, having scored a vital 26 runs and picked up 3 crucial wickets to help India secure the trophy.  

India’s first World Cup win proved that sheer willpower, grit, and determination can definitely take a team to the greatest heights of success. It took another 28 years for India to win the World Cup again, in 2011, under MS Dhoni. Take nothing away from the 2011 victory, but the 1983 win will always remain special for Indian Cricket because the team was never a favorite going into the tournament, but eventually managed to win it thanks to a brilliant team effort throughout the tournament and some resolute steadfastness. In addition, it was the first international tournament won by the team and it is fair to say it set the base for the growth and development of Indian cricket over the last 35 years.


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