World Cup Countdown: 1983 – India snap West Indies’ unbeaten World Cup run
India beat West Indies by 34 runs to end their unbeaten run in World Cups. (Getty Image)

In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, CricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the Cricket World Cup – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 9o days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we recall how in the 1983 edition, India dished out West Indies their maiden World Cup defeat.

It was almost surprising that India and West Indies had played a solitary ODI till March 1983. On that occasion at Edgbaston in World Cup 1979, Michael Holding had skittled out India for 190 before Gordon Greenidge had slammed a hundred to ensure a 9-wicket victory with 51 balls to spare.

When they eventually met in a bilateral contest at Queen’s Park Oval in what was reduced to a 39-over contest, West Indies put up 215 for 4 and restricted India to 163 for 7. Then they moved to Albion, where Kapil Dev’s men upset the hosts for the first time.

Sunil Gavaskar held the innings together with a 117-ball 90; Mohinder Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma played breezy cameos; and promoting himself to No. 4, Kapil blasted the fast bowlers before falling for a 38-ball 72. India’s 282 for five in 47 overs turned out to be a steep target: Viv Richards, Faoud Bacchus, and Jeff Dujon all scored fifties, but they lost to India — for the first time in an ODI — by 27 runs.

When the World Cup started, however, nobody gave India a chance. They had played 6 matches in the first two World Cups, losing 5 (including one against Sri Lanka, then a non-Test-playing nation) and winning only against East Africa; West Indies, on the other hand, were unbeaten, and had had lifted the trophy both times.

When both teams met for their first match of the tournament at Old Trafford, there was no doubt who the favourites were. Clive Lloyd won the toss and put India in.

Yashpal’s resilience

India got off to a belligerent start from Krishnamachari Srikkanth before Holding had him caught-behind. There was cautious progress from Gavaskar and Amarnath; Sandeep Patil walked out and played a few shots; but with Kapil falling cheaply, India were down to 141 for 5, and looked in trouble of sorts.

It was then that Yashpal took control. He kept nudging for those ones and twos, and found support in Roger Binny; the pair added 73 to provide India with a platform for the final overs. Yashpal was eventually bowled by Holding for a 120-ball 89 that included nine boundaries. Madan Lal had some lusty blows towards the end, and India finished on 262 for 6. Patil’s 36 remained the second-highest score of the innings.

Collapse, revival, and history

There was a role reversal of sorts during the chase as Desmond Haynes took up charge; he added 49 with Greenidge before being run out in the 14th over. Greenidge was bowled by Balwinder Sandhu (not for the last time in the tournament). The light deteriorated after that and West Indies finished the day on 67 for two from 22 overs with Richards on 12 and Bacchus on 2: they needed 196 from 228 balls the next morning.

India kept on striking next morning: all five top-order batsmen reached double-figures, but none of them went past 25. West Indies were reduced to 76 for 3, then 124 for 6. When Binny ran through Lloyd’s defence the score read 130 for 8. There was some support from Holding, but once he was bowled by Shastri, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner were left to score 106 off the last stand.

But Roberts and Garner were in no mood of giving up: they kept on playing their strokes; Roberts, crouched up in his characteristic stance, kept rotating the strikes as Garner hit a few blows. Then, with 35 to be scored from 6 overs, Garner missed one from Shastri — and was stumped for 37, leaving Roberts stranded on the same score.

Roberts and Garner added 71 — still a World Cup record for the last wicket. It was also the new world record. The record was broken, and is currently held, by Richards and Holding — who put up an unbroken stand of 106 against England at, yet again, Old Trafford.

What followed?

West Indies won their return match against India comfortably, but India had the last laugh. They scripted a historic win in the final at Lord’s despite being bowled out for 183. West Indies were bowled out for 140.

Brief scores: India 262 for 8 in 60 overs (Yashpal Sharma 89) beat West Indies 228 in 54.1 overs (Roger Binny 3 for 48, Ravi Shastri 3 for 26) by 34 runs.