Cricket is not a game in India, it’s an emotion. It makes the entire nation cheer, cry, curse, and express all possible emotions known to mankind. In India, it is this game that helps people bond together. 1983 and 2011 are those special years when Team India lifted the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy, sparking a frenzy of happiness in the maddening Indian crowd.
World Cup History (1983 and 2011): A Quick Look
1983 ICC World Cup
In 1983, the Indian cricket team was led by Kapil Dev. While it was a restructured team with new enthusiasm, no one (not even the staunchest supporter) expected India to win. Krishnamachari Srikkanth (the dashing opening batsman of that time) once said in an interview that they never expected to win the world cup even when they flew off to England (the host of 1983 world cup).
India’s journey throughout the 1983 world cup (officially called Prudential Cup ’83) was a bumpy ride and nail biting scenarios. India won 6 matches and lost 2 during the 8 matches played in the tourney. At one point of time India was starring at yet another early exit (similar to 1975 and 1979 World Cups). However, the Kapil Dev-led Indian cricket team did the unthinkable by qualifying for the knock-out but also snatching away the 1983 World Cup away from the mighty West Indies (favorites of 1983).
Now, let’s check the journey of Indian cricket team (games and scenarios) during Prudential Cup ’83:
After the back-to-back debacles at 1975 and 1979 ICC Cricket World Cups, India sent a revamped team to the 1983 ICC World Cup. The team was a well-balanced one with excellent batting line-up, adequate support from the best all-rounders of the world, and a new set of leaders.
1. Batting Line-up: Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Yashpal Sharma, and Sandeep Patil.
2. All-Rounders: Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny, Ravi Shastri, and Madan Lal.
3. New Leaders: Kapil Dev as Captain and Mohinder Amarnath as Vice-Captain.
Starting off with a Couple of Wins but Soon Getting Stuck
India started off well with an upset by defeating the favorites West Indies by 34 runs and then easily winning against Zimbabwe in a rather one-sided match. However, they couldn’t hold on to this good start and faltered against the flamboyant Australia (at Trent Bridge in Nottingham) and the mighty West Indies (at The Oval in London). India again stared at an early exit.
Bouncing Back from an Imminent Exit
To get to the semi final, Indian cricket team had to win following two games against Zimbabwe and Australia by huge margins. Under tremendous pressure, India started the game against Zimbabwe disastrously. But thanks to the breathtaking innings of Kapil Dev (scoring 175 not out from 138 balls), India secured a 31 runs win over Zimbabwe.
To get to the semi-final, India now needed a convincing win over Australia. India put up a target of 248 for the Aussies to win. However, Indian medium pacers Madan Lal (4/20) and Roger Binny (4/29) made the Australian team crumble (129 all out), thereby ensuring a whopping 118 runs win.
This helped India secure 2nd spot in the group, securing a berth in the semifinal against the favorites, England. India again produced an upset in the semi-final, securing a 6 wicket victory.
A Dream Come True
In the final, the robust performance of the West Indian pacers – Marshall (2/24), Andy Roberts (3/32), and Joel Garner (1/24) – restricted India to 183. With the mighty West Indian batting line up (including Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Vivian Richards, and Clive Lloyd), everyone was expecting thrashing of the Indian bowlers. However, excellent performances by Amarnath (3/12) and Madan Lal (3/31) crashed the West Indian batting line-up to 140 all out, clinching the most unexpected wins of the cricket world cups. For his all-round performance, Amarnath became the Man of the Match.
2011 ICC World Cup
Unlike 1983, India was among the favorites of winning the 2011 ICC World Cup. Ian Chappel expected any one country out of England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and India to win the world cup in 2011. Team India, led by MS Dhoni, was outright the favorite among all.
Now, let’s check the journey of Indian cricket team (games and scenarios) during ICC World Cup 2011:
Unlike 1983, India’s performance was more or less consistent in 2011. Out of the 7 games played in the tournament, it won 5 games, lost 1, and tied 1. Dhoni-led Indian cricket team won against the mighty Australians in the quarterfinal, arch-rival Pakistan in the semi-final, and another favorite Sri Lanka in the final to lift the trophy.
This has become possible because of three factors:
1. Unbelievably strong batting line-up: Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, and Suresh Raina
2. Cool headed captain: MS Dhoni
3. World leading bowling line-up: Harbhajan Singh, R Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, and Yuvraj Singh
Starting Off Nicely
India (co-host along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) was a natural favorite, especially because of their familiarity with the weather and pitch conditions. The Indian team started off by hammering Bangladesh (securing an 87 runs win). The next game at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium (Bangalore, India) was a treat to watch as India chased a 339 runs target for a win but settled for a tie with England.
A Little Hiccup
India continued its group stage performance as they secured convincing wins over Ireland and Netherlands by 5 wickets each. The Indian team put up a brave fight against South Africa but lost by 3 wickets. In the last group match, India won against West Indies by 80 runs.
The group stage performances helped India get 9 points, thereby securing the second spot in Group B. India moves to the quarterfinal and were placed against the mighty Australians.
Moving Ahead to the Knockout Stage
In the quarterfinal match at Ahmedabad, India faced off with the defending champion Australia. The Australians put up a target of 261 for the Indians, thanks to the 104 runs and 53 runs knock by the skipper Ricky Ponting and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin respectively. The all-round performance of the Indian batting line-up (including Tendulkar’s 53 runs, Gambhir’s 50 runs, and Yuvraj’s 57 runs not out) helped India beat Australia by 5 wickets.
India moved to the semi-finals and pitted against their arch-rival Pakistan. Pakistani fast bowler Wahab Riaz’s 5-wicket haul scattered Indian batsmen. But thanks to Sachin’s 85 runs, Suresh Raina’s 36 not out, and the support from the tail-enders helped India reach 260/9. It was the day of the bowlers. All five Indian bowlers took 2 wickets each and restricted the Pakistanis to 231 all out. India won by 29 runs.
India Wins ICC Cricket World Cup for the Second Time
In the final match, India played against Sri Lanka. The Lions received the first blow as Zaheer took the wicket of Upul Tharanga and restricted Sri Lanka to 31 runs in 10 overs. However, 103 not out knock of Mahela Jayawardene came to the rescue. The Sri Lankan score reached a formidable 274/6 after 50 overs, thanks to the supports provided by captain Kumar Sangakkara (48 runs), Nuwan Kulasekara (32 runs), and Thisara Perera (22 runs from 9 balls).
India started off poorly with quick losses of Sehwag and Sachin. However, Gambhir’s 97 run knock and his 83-runs third-wicket partnership with Kohli (35 runs) helped Team India come out of the slumber. The final touch to India’s convincing 6-wickets win was secured by Dhoni’s 91 runs not out knock. For his blistering innings, MS Dhoni was named Man of the Match.
Team India has won two ICC cricket world cups till now – 1983 and 2011. The next World Cup will start on May 30, 2019 and the Indian Team will be led by the aggressive and responsible Virat Kohli. Can he along with the Indian squad win the world cup for the third time? Only time will say. For the time being, keeping fingers crossed for Team India. Jai Ho!