Continuing our series that looks back at all the 11 World Cup Finals played so far, today we review the famous 1983 World Cup Final which produced one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game. A completely unfancied Indian team, hitherto thought unsuited to the ODI game, took on the mighty West Indians at the ground where Clive Lloyd's men had won the cup on two previous occasions – Lord's.
1983 - India vs West Indies (Lord's)
Defending champions West Indies seemed inexorably headed to their third consecutive world title in ODI cricket when they faced the underdogs India in the Final of the 1983 World Cup. The only worry, if there was one, for the all-conquering Windies team of that era was a defeat they had suffered at the hands of the Indians earlier on in the tournament.
But this was the Final where the Caribbean side were supposed to be at their best. Sunil Gavaskar, India's best batsman was dismissed cheaply early on in the Indian innings. Then, Krishnamachari Srikanth and Mohinder Amarnath put up some resistance before they also gave way. After that, the Indian innings sputtered on till the 55th over and could only muster 183 runs.
Chasing 184 in 60 overs with the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards, Larry Gomes and Jeffrey Dujon looked ridiculously easy for the West Indians. But Dujon, the wicketkeeper had a premonition that things might get tricky and as he was walking off, he told one of his teammates that this target could prove to be difficult.
Vivian Richards, batting at number 3 in the batting line-up, seemed hell bent on crushing India's hopes and was going smoothly at over run-a-ball in his innings. Then came the decisive moment of the match. Madan Lal, treated disdainfully by King Viv in his previous over, demanded from his captain Kapil Dev that he be given one more. The reason cited by the bowler was a sense of carelessness that he perceived in the demeanour of Richards while he batted against his medium pace bowling.
The persuasion worked and was justified when Richards got a top edge of the bowling of Lal. The ball hung in the air and so did the match. Kapil Dev found himself in a very awkward position as he was running towards the boundary on the leg side while also having to look up at the ball. But the legendary all-rounder refused to take his eyes off the ball and took the catch that, essentially, won the match.
In the replays of this most famous catch in Indian cricket history, it seemed that the Indian captain had a smile on his face while he waited for the ball to descent into his palms. However, Kapil has repeatedly asserted that he had no time to think or smile at that moment.
The wicket of Richards opened the floodgates and Windies were reduced to 76/6. The match seemed to be in India's hands but there was fight left in the West Indies team and their keeper Dujon along with Malcolm Marshall had a 43-run partnership which brought the West Indians back into the game.
Then, Kapil Dev brought Mohinder Amarnath back into the attack and he bowled what he himself described as an innocuous delivery that Dujon wasn't sure whether to play or not. He, somehow contrived to play it onto his stumps. That ended West Indies' chances and when Michael Holding was trapped lbw by Amarnath, India had won the cup. It was one of the greatest moments in Indian cricket's history and in the history of the relatively young Indian republic. West Indies lost their throne and since then, haven't regained it.