Kapil~~s Devils steal Lloyd~~s thunder

Published: Monday, February 26, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was poised to lay his hands on the 1983 World Cup for the third time, only to see Kapil's "Devils" from India snatch it away in one of the biggest upsets.

The West Indies were the overwhelming favourites having won the event twice, while India were the rank outsiders having won just one match -- against a lowly East Africa in 1975 -- in the previous two tournaments.

West Indies fast bowler Malcolm Marshall was so confident of his team's winning the Cup that he had even ordered a new BMW car, believing that he could pay for it from his winnings.

"What utter folly! Cricket has nasty habit of punishing those who come to believe in their infallibility and so it was (for us) at Lord's on June 25, 1983," he was to reveal later.

The 17-day event was bigger than the previous ones as there were 27 matches instead of 15, with each side playing against the other twice in the four-team group. Interpretation of a wide or a bouncer was strictly enforced.

The tournament began on a topsy-turvy note, with India shocking the West Indies and minnows Zimbabwe upsetting Australia on the strength of a superb all-round show by Duncan Fletcher, now the England coach.

India had already posted a morale-boosting victory over the West Indies at Berbice in Guyana before the tournament.

"The faith and self-belief in our approach had been born during those two victories," Dev said after winning the Cup.

"To beat the West Indies in their own country especially was practically unheared of in those days. Yes, these two results were the key to our success."

Australia were to face to the West Indies' fury in the next match as they were shot out for 151 chasing a 253-run target, with fast bowler Winston Davis grabbing 7-51 -- then a Cup record.

The West Indies were not to suffer any hiccups till the final, winning their remaining four group matches before putting it across Pakistan in the semi-final.

India found the road bumpy, losing to the West Indies in their second group encounter, and Australia before finding themselves in trouble against Zimbabwe.

They were 17-5 when Dev played a memorable innings at Tunrbidge Wells, a cracking 175 not out off just 138 balls with the help of six sixes and 16 fours to help his team post a competitive 266-8.

Zimbabwe eventually lost the match by 31 runs, but won plenty of hearts with their gutsy batting. They certainly deserved to play their first Test before 1992, judging by their maiden Cup performance.

India beat Australia in the last group match to set up a semi-final clash with England. They again showcased their all-round ability to defeat the hosts by six wickets.

It looked a three-in-a-row for the West Indies when India managed only 183 in the final against a fearsome pace attack of Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Marshall.

But Indian medium-pacers Madan Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Balwinder Sandhu and Roger Binny were superbly marshalled by Dev to script a fairytale.

If there were one shot that buried the West Indies' dream, it was Viv Richards's hook off Lal. If there were one catch that resurrected India, it was Dev's to account for Richards.

Richards had been treating the Indian attack with disdain before he mishooked a Lal bouncer for Dev, who ran back towards mid-wicket to hold the ball and change the course of the match.

"Getting Richards out then was the key for us," Kapil said after the West Indies were all out for 140 to hand India a 43-run victory.

The days of favourites had ended as West Indies never reached the final in the next two decades. Cricket was never the same in India where players were instantly accorded star status.

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