On this day in 1983, Indian Captain Kapil Dev went berserk against Zimbabwe in Tunbridge Wells and hit massive 175(138)* to save India’s journey in the Prudential Cup (read World Cup).
But why is this innings so much Heroic ?
After Indian Cricket Team failed to make an impact in previous two editions , no one had thought that the Indian Cricket Team captained by Kapil Dev would lift the World Cup trophy. They started the 1983 campaign with an impressive victory against defending champion West Indies by 34 runs. After beating the West Indies, Indian team faced Zimbabwe at Leicester and beat them by 5 wickets. After a flying start, Indian team tasted their first defeat against Australia by 162 runs and after that against West Indies by 66 runs. Dreams were shattered. The fortune of the first two World Cup’s starts haunting Indian team again.
India vs Zimbabwe , June 18, Tunbridge Wells :-
Losing two games in a row, India were eyeing a comeback against mighty Zimbabwe. Dev won the toss, elected to bat first.
In a must win game, Indian top order had no clues against some world class bowling of Rawson – Curran . India lost their top order, the scorecard reading 9/4. Kapil Dev walked in. India were soon reduced to 17/5 and then to 77/7 , at which Kapil Dev decided to change gears.
Kapil Dev thrashed Zimbabwean bowlers all over the ground. He went on to score the highest individual score in ODIs back then and remained unbeaten on 175(138) which consists of 17 fours and 6 maximums. From 77/7, India posted a total of 266/8 (60).
The Zimbabwean openers, Robin Brown & Grant Paterson gave them a decent start in the chase but wickets kept collapsing which dented their chase. Kevin Curran was the lone fighter with his 73(93). Madan Lal picked three wickets for India (11-2-42-3) as Zimbabwe were all out for 235.
Kapil Dev against Zimbabwe in Tunbridge Wells, 1983
Undoubtedly, Haryana Hurricane Kapil Dev was handed “Man of The Match” award for his match changing knock.
18th June, 2021
38 years later, 120 km away from Tunbridge Wells, India will face New Zealand at Southampton in the ICC World Test Championship. India never won a test match in Southampton. They surely want to change their fortune this time. Ravi Shastri, member of the World Cup winning team in 1983 is now a head coach of Indian Cricket team.
Today, if Indian players need any inspiration , they can always look to an epic innings played exactly 38 years ago by an Indian captain in England.