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'83 (Preview)

Introduction

The Biggest Hindi Film is out tomorrow making sure that we end 2021 in jubilation. 83 the film has marked the journey, withstanding the pandemic and a direct OTT release, to finally release on the Christmas weekend. As 83 hits the theatres tomorrow, here I am sharing a bit of the stories and incidents from the 1983 world cup that India managed to lift, beating the mighty West Indies by 43 runs.

The World Cup Preview

It was at the onset of summer in England where the third and final World Cup(then called the Prudential Cup) was to be played. The mega ODI event was designed to conclude in 1983, after the early versions of 1975 and 1979, both of which were won by the mighty West Indies under Sir Clive Lloyd. India on the other hand had just won one match over the two world cups(1975 and 1979 combined). The sole win came in an inconsequential match vs East Africa(current day Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). India had also lost to Sri Lanka who wern’t a test playing national back then. The ODI format was not compatible for India!

The 60 over matches(and not 50 overs) was the norm back in the day. At the start of the World Cup of ’83, the odds were stacked against India. The rate was 66 is to 1 which means we were the weakest teams entering the tournament. And to top it, the first match was vs the mighty West Indies who had beaten India 4-1 in india’s 1982 tour of the West Indies. It was the last match though that India had won and the team could take some confidence from it. The West Indies were unbeaten across the two World Cups and overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy again!

Many Indian players had booked a holiday to the US prior to the mega tournament as none of them believed to have a chance of even qualifying for the knockouts. But it was one man, our Kaps Kapil Dev who had other plans.

The Rise and Fall

The tournament was divided into two groups of 4 each and each team would play each other twice. India found themselves with West Indies, Australia and Zimbabwe. The opening match wad against the World Champions. And it turned out to be an upset! India beat the West Indies by 34 runs and who would have thought about that? Next up was Zimbabwe whom we beat quite easily as well thereby instigating hope of a miracle of qualifying. But Australia had other plans. They thrashed India by 162 runs to wipe out the confidence of the first two matches. But it was Kapil Dev who picked up 5 wickets thereby being the first Indian to achieve this feat!

The going started to get tough with the world champions drubbing India in the next group game. What was worse was India’s star batsman Dilip Vengsarkar was injured having being hit by a bouncer on the head. India found themselves in a do or die game as we see in the 83 trailer.

The Resurgence

And as luck would have it, India were 17/5 and reeling under pressure. Kapil Dev in the shower did not get time to shower as well. Walking into bat at 9/4(which soon became 17/5), the team witnessed one of the great ODI hundreds of all times. Kapil Dev finished at 175 unbeaten taking India to a healthy 266/9 in 60 overs with great support from Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Syed Kirmani. This was India’s first ODI hundred and it was Kapil Dev again who achieved it along with the first 5-er.

Sadly, none of us cricket fans have seen the footage of the match. The broadcasters were on strike and what a day to pick! But thankfully, we’ll get to witness that iconic innings on the big screen thanks to 83 the film.

The Semi Final

The semi final was between India and England and by then the British media had written India off. Titles like England have a free pass to the finals began making rounds. England opting to bat first were cruising. India had made a blunder of opting for a bowler less. And then came the Kapil Dev masterstroke. He threw the ball to two part timers – Mohinder Amarnath and Kirti Azad and both ended up bowling 12 overs each and picking 3 wickets between them. India chasing a paltry total of 218 were in a spot of bother. It was the Man Of the Match Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma who bailed India out before a blitz by Sandeep Patil took India home in style. Who would have thought that a team with odds of 66:1 would end up in the finals. But against them was a team that had lift the World Cup twice already! We all knew who the underdogs were!

The Final

The setting of the final was far from perfect. A green pitch welcomed India who were put into bat by the West Indies after winning the toss, much to the dismay of Kapil Dev who was infuriated. India were up against the pace battery of Roberts, Garner, Marshall and Holding who were intimidating and could send a chill down any batsman’s spine. India were rocked early and never really recovered. There were useful cameos by Srikanth, Amarnath and Sandeep Patil along with the tail but 183 in a World Cup Final wasn’t really enough was it?

Because the innings had unfolded before 60 overs, it was a longish lunch break and so the players decided to take a nap. Once they woke up fresh it was the famous lines of Kapil Dev, ” It may not be a winning total but it is definitely a fighting one”. An inspired India chasing history took the field one last time in the tournament.

It was India who rocked early with a beautiful inswinger by Balwinder Sandhu to get Greenidge. But then the champion and the original gangster Sir Viv Richards entered the arena and began swinging. A counter attack was underway and it seemed the match would end far too early. Even the wives of Kapil Dev and Madan Lal who had come to watch the match, decided to leave the ground and what a decision that was on the hindsight!

Madan Lal was tonked all around and it was Kapil Dev who wanted to change him. But Madan Lal pleaded with his skip who finally agreed, a decision that would go down in the History of Indian Cricket. A short ball found Sir Viv pulling it and skying it. But it was an agile Kapil Dev who had said there was an unseen force that was pushing him, that pulled off a miraculous catch – a catch for the ages! India had a breakthrough.

Next up was the West Indies Skipper Sir Clive Lloyd who was in. As fate would have it, he pulled his hamstring on the first ball and eventually lost his wicket too. India began chipping and it seemed the World Cup wasn’t too far now.

But the duo of Jeff Dujon and Malcolm Marshall had other plans. They began chipping singles to raise West Indies hopes of an unlikely victory. And then came the masterstroke. Kapil Dev turned to part time seamer Mohinder Amarnath who dismissed the West Indies in no time to win India the match by 43 runs and lift the first World Cup! West Indies – a team who used to lose just one odd match in a calendar year were beaten twice by India in the same tournament.

What If

The scenes at the Lords balcony were iconic, something that our parents would have been privy too. There can never be a victory like 1983, a victory that paved way for Indian Cricket and put India on the World Map. This was the moment that had inspired the then 10 year old Sachin Tendulkar and millions like him to lift the World Cup one day for India! Had there not been a 1983, there wouldn’t have been a 2007 and neither 2011. There wouldn’t have been a Tendulkar, there wouldn’t have been a Dhoni nor a Kohli.

The Tribute

I can’t wait to watch the 83 the film on the big screen. But this is just a small tribute from me and Popcorn Reviewss to the Legends of the World Cup. The team(in no particular order) will stay in our hearts forever :

  • Sunil Gavaskar
  • Kris Srikanth
  • Mohinder Amarnath
  • Sandeep Patil
  • Yashpal Sharma(we miss you sir)
  • Roger Binny
  • Madan Lal
  • Ravi Shastri
  • Balwinder Sandhu
  • Dilip Vengsarkar
  • Kirti Azad
  • Kapil Dev
  • Sunil Valson
  • Syed Kirmani

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