No. 17

Kapil gets Viv

The catch that made India's World Cup win possible

Kamran Abbasi

April 12, 2009

Text size: A | A

Kapil Dev runs backwards, keeping his eyes on the ball, and completes a crucial catch of Viv Richards, West Indies v India, World Cup final, Lord's, 25 June, 1983
A couple of spectators get physical with their approval after the catch © Getty Images
Related Links
Players/Officials: Kapil Dev | Sir Viv Richards
Series/Tournaments: Prudential World Cup
Teams: India | West Indies
Other links: 50 Magic Moments

Lord's, 25 June 1983

In 1983, West Indies were unbeatable. They possessed the most fearsome bowling attack and possibly the most brutal batting line-up that anybody had ever witnessed. The first two World Cups had been demonstrations of Caribbean brilliance. The 1979 victory - a strutting, muscular annihilation of England - established Clive Lloyd's team as the kings of cricket.

The 1983 World Cup was following a predictable script. West Indies stormed to the final, and only Kapil Dev's Indian team provided a romantic antidote to their muscle, with a silky middle order and an arsenal of friendly medium-pacers.

India's arrival in the final was fun but never a threat. Indeed, once Messrs Marshall, Garner, Holding, and Roberts had despatched India for 183, the only disappointment was that Viv Richards would be denied a second successive World Cup final century.

As if mindful of that predicament, Richards set off like a train - a nuclear-powered one - and India's powder-puff attack was just that.

But then something peculiar happened. Madan Lal persuaded Richards into a mistimed hook over midwicket. The ball rose like a missile, swirling wildly in its descent, and as Kapil ran back, the pressure of the moment and the inevitability of Richards' triumph meant that nobody expected him to pouch it. But he did - over his shoulder.

Time stopped in complete disbelief; the King had fallen. Some observers swore that Kapil smiled as he prepared for the plummeting cricket ball of history.

India were ecstatic, West Indies in disarray - such disarray that they collapsed feebly to defeat. The Caribbean empire had fallen, and an Asian giant was awake.

Kamran Abbasi is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

RSS Feeds: Kamran Abbasi

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Email Feedback Print
Kamran AbbasiClose
Kamran Abbasi Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

    What is Rohit Sharma's role?

Should India have practised slip catching in the nets? Who will play at the G?

    'I'd like to have faced the West Indies quicks'

Northamptonshire's David Willey picks his ideal partner for a jungle expedition, and talks about his famous dad

    Benn shows up in body and spirit

Tony Cozier: The spinner has brought in a sense of discipline into his bowling and behaviour on the field since his Test comeback

    The return of Bob Simpson

Rewind: When the 41-year-old former captain came out of retirement to lead Australia against India

Bowling to blame for India's poor overseas record

Kartikeya Date: The inability to build pressure by denying runs, even on helpful pitches, is India's biggest problem

News | Features Last 7 days

What ails Rohit and Watson?

Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena

The perfect Test

After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.

Hazlewood completes quartet of promise

Josh Hazlewood has been on Australian cricket's radar since he was a teenager. The player that made a Test debut at the Gabba was a much-improved version of the tearaway from 2010

Australia in good hands under proactive Smith

The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game

Karn struggles to stay afloat

The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be

News | Features Last 7 days