Rewind: The best innings of Kapil Dev
Balwinder Singh Sandhu, former Indiancricketer, who was part of 1983 World Cup winning team rates the 175 against Zimbabwe as the best innings of Kapil Dev. Losing both the openers – Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth – without troubling the scorers, India were in a deep trouble after the middle order consisting of Yashpal Sharma, Sandip Patil, Mohinder Amarnath were breached by the Zimbabwean quicks.
In no time, India were put into a situation where the scorecard showed 17/5 in this match in 1983 World Cup. A lot depended on the lower middle order to get a par score on the wicket which suited swing bowlers. The conditions were absolutely great for fast bowling with overcast clouds and a strong breeze. India had to win this match to stay alive in this tournament.
With 17/5 on the scoreboard, Kapil Dev tried to establish a partnership with Roger Binny. This pair added 60 runs before Binny was adjudged LBW on 22. Ravi Shastri did not last too long and was dismissed by Duncan Fletcher. Kapil was joined by Madan Lal for the 8th wicket.
After adding crucial 62 runs, Madan Lal was out for 17 runs. Eventually, Kapil scored his half-century and these two partnerships worth 60 odd runs gave India some hope to put up a respectable total. With 8 wickets down, Kapil started to take his chances by striking the ball cleanly out of the ground. He took an calculated risks but was always in control with his stroke making. Kapil Dev went on to reach his century off 100 balls.
Along with Syed Kirmani, India added 126 runs for the 9th wicket, a record which was recently broken by Mathews and Malinga in 2010 for the highest 9th wicket partnership. Kapil ended his innings with an unbeaten 175 off 138 balls which includes 16 fours and 6 sixes. This innings has been rated as the fourth best of the Top 10 batting performances ever by Wisden. India finished their innings with 266 on board. You remove Kapil’s 175 and you have just 91 runs to defend and that shows how significant this innings from Kapil Dev was. Zimbabwe were bowled out for 235 runs in 57 overs.
Sad news is that, this match was not covered/recorded by any channel due to a BBC strike. Neverthless, the world witnessed one of the greatest knocks from the Indian skipper which made India to enter the semi-finals and clinch the World Cup.