On this day (June 24) 37 years ago, India were preparing for their first ever World Cup final, against the West Indies at Lord’s in London.
India went on to upset favourites West Indies the next day to clinch the trophy. Kris Srikkanth, who top-scored in the low-scoring match with 38, recalled the feeling ahead of the game.
“I remember on the eve of the finals there were all the top officials from the board, the joint secretary and everyone and there was a small meeting. They said don’t worry about the finals tomorrow, you’ve come so far that’s itself fantastic. And whether tomorrow you win the match or not, they announced a 25000 rupees bonus for all of us. And we were all thrilled to hear that," he said speaking in Star Sports 1 Tamil show Winning the Cup - 1983.
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“And honestly, we did not feel that much pressure. It was everything to gain and nothing to lose scenario. Because favorites were West Indies, they were ’75 & ’79 champions and rockstar team, dominating world cricket, so we thought it was a big deal making it to the finals itself."
India made only 183 batting first but ended up defending the score, as West Indies were bowled out for 140. Srikkanth recalled how captain Kapil Dev’s pep talk helped India turn things around.
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“With the batting line-up that West Indian had and looking at 183, we thought we had no scope at all. But Kapil Dev said one thing, he didn’t say we can win but he said - look guys we have got out for 183 and we should give resistance and not give away the match so easily," he said.
Srikkanth said the victory was a turning point for Indian cricket and Indians in general.
“It was the turning point for Indian cricket and for Indians in general. At a time when Cricket was dominated by West Indies, Australia, New Zealand and others, a total underdog Indians became the world champions. It is a feeling that is hard to express, it’s a different experience. But as an Indian, we felt proud," he said.