This day, 25 years ago — 1983 heroes recall magic moments

June 25th, 2008 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 25 (IANS) The Lord’s Cricket Ground may have witnessed many historical moments since Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) moved to its present address in 1814, but, this day 25 years ago here saw the ushering in of a new era that changed the norms of the gentleman’s game. A team of bits-and-pieces players from India brought the Clive Lloyds’ mighty West Indies down to earth, humbling the two times world champions to script a new chapter in the game’s history.

Before the start of the match, everyone but destiny had crowned West Indies champions third time in a row and written off India.

The no-hopers Kapil’s Devils have now turned the clock back and shared magical moments of that day in a Star Cricket telecast.

How did they plot the downfall of West Indies after managing a mere 183 runs in a 60-over game? Here’s how Kapil’s Devils pulled off the greatest of World Cup victories.

Balwinder Singh Sandhu started the West Indies rot, knocking over Gordon Greenidge’s stumps. Little did Sandhu know that he had delivered a ball that will forever be etched in the memory of Indian cricket lovers.

“I knew that Gordon was not able to pick my inswinger when I bowled from close to the stumps. The ball hit the seam and started moving in. I knew it’s going to hit the wicket, and when it took the bail off, the middle bail, I started jumping in celebration. That was a very small celebration at that time but I did celebrate,” Sandhu recollects.

Vivian Richards then took the centre stage and looked like taking the game away from India with a crackling 33, which included seven boundaries. India were praying for a miracle when Viv was going about his task in the fashion he knew best.

“My first thought every time would be to attack, and if you cannot do so, you would look to defence as vigorously as possible. So pretty simple. My game was very simple, and that’s the way you should keep games — pretty simple. No problem at all,” says Richards.

When Richards was single-handedly tearing apart the bowlers, the Indians watching the game had given up hope.

“I just couldn’t help but gasp in wonder at this beautiful exhibition of classical batsmanship. We all thought that, ok, this is it. I mean the West Indies were expected to win, they’re going to win,” says Pushkar Johari, Indian diplomat.

And West Indies dressing room was dreaming of an easy victory.

“Viv went out and started to play a few shots and it seemed as if he was just going to take the attack apart and we thought to ourselves, ok Viv will take care of this,” remembers Michael Holding.

Then came the turning point of the game. A hook shot from Richards’ blade and he perished to a brilliant catch taken by skipper Kapil Dev himself. Nobody remembers the bowler was Madan Lal, but Kapil sprinting backwards from infield with his eyes fixed on the ball is the most delightful moment of the match.

“I remember he (Viv) wanted to finish the match in forty overs. The only chance we had was to let him keep going for runs so that we might get him out. But Richards just kept going,” says Kapil.

“I went to Madan and said ‘Madan, take a break for a while.’ He said give me one more over. I will get him out,” recalls Kapil.

So did Madan Lal.

“I took the ball from him. And I always believe you go after the bigger players, so if you don’t get them out they will destroy you. So that’s what I did, I was a little bit lucky and I got him,” says Madan.

Kapil: “I still remember, the ball went up, I wasn’t thinking anything. I don’t think so I had a mind to think. I could only see the ball, nothing else. The reflexes took over and I started running.”

Madan: “When he was running, everybody was just watching when the catch will come down. But Kapil took a wonderful catch.”

Kapil: “Once Viv was out, West Indies couldn’t take the pressure. And our tail was up at that very moment, even though the most important cricketer in their team, I still believe, was Clive Lloyd.”

Once Richards was out, panic seemed to have gripped the West Indies and even Lloyd could not unshackle himself out. The wickets went tumbling and the expectant crowd surged on to the boundary line waiting for the last wicket to fall. And when it did, the Indian players had to charge towards the pavilion. It was celebration time.

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