On this day in 1983, legendary Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev put on a historic performance by playing a magnificent knock of 175* runs against Zimbabwe in a must-win 1983 World Cup. It was one of the most prolific knocks of Kapil Dev, however, there is no footage of that game available as BBC covered other matches in the list of fixtures, considering India’s past performance in the World Cup. Team India was headed to the match against Zimbabwe after defeating West Indies in their first match, ending their eight-year-long unbeaten run in the cricketing marquee event. Momentum was on their side.
But the moment the Indian team took to the field after choosing to bat first, everything went wrong for them. The top order collapsed badly, with openers Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth scoring ducks. Mohinder Amarnath (5), Sandeep Patil (1), and Yashpal Sharma (9) also fell cheaply. Half of the side was back to the pavilion at a score of 17 and Team India was staring at a humiliating end to their inning and perhaps the match too.
Then came the ‘Haryana Hurricane’ Kapil Dev. Unfazed by the terror unleashed by Zimbabwe bowlers, the captain avenged every wicket lost each time he swung his bat. He took the opposition to the cleaners, smashing 175* off just 138 balls with 16 fours and six sixes.
During his stay at the crease, he got some much-needed support from Roger Binny (22), Madan Lal (17) and wicketkeeper-batter Syed Kirmani (24*), taking his side to a challenging 266/8 in their 50 overs.
Dev had lifted his side from the very bottom and catapulted them to a challenging total. It was up to the bowlers to repay Dev for his efforts.
Indian bowlers did just that, taking wickets at regular intervals. Except for Kevin Curran (73) and Robin Brown (35), no one really delivered for Zimbabwe and India won the game by 31 runs. Madan Lal (3/42) and Roger Binny (2/45) were the picks of the bowlers for India.
Dev won the ‘Man of the Match’ for his 175*, spell of 1/32 in 11 overs and two catches.
This performance inspired India’s campaign and gave it a new lease. India went on to win the World Cup and it sparked a massive craze of cricket in India.
Dev was a star performer, scoring 303 runs in eight matches at an average of 60.60, with one century. He also took 12 wickets, with the best figures of 5/43.
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