4 for 90, 7 for 56 and 84 v Pakistan, Chennai, 1979-80
Signs of a new era. All spin greats are gone, Kapil is leading an attack that has Karsan Ghavri, Roger Binny and Dilip Doshi besides him. And lead he does, taking tour top-order wickets on the first day, reducing Pakistan to 272 in the first innings. Then, coming in at 279 for 6, blasts his way to a 98-ball 84 to virtually bat Pakistan out. Almost single-handedly, taking seven wickets in 23.4 overs, Kapil bowls Pakistan out again, setting up the match
and the series win.
5 for 28 v Australia, Melbourne, 1980-81
Right from the first morning when Australia have India at 43 for 3, they lead the match
. A controversial lbw against Sunil Gavaskar later, India's attempt at the comeback into the match is thwarted and India are left to defend 142 in the final innings. All India's main bowlers, Kapil, Shivlal Yadav and Dilip Doshi, are injured. Karsan Ghavri takes two wickets on the fourth evening, giving the management enough reason to coax the injured Kapil out on the fifth morning. In an unbroken spell of 16.4 overs of accurate pace bowling, Kapil uses the up-and-down pitch to bowl Australia out for 83. It is the first time India manage to draw a series in Australia.
38, 46 and 5 for 70 v England, Mumbai, 1981-82
Survival, and not scoring, occupies the minds of most batsmen on this uneven Wankhede pitch for the first Test
of the series. Kapil's 50-ball 38, though, gets India a 13-run first-innings lead, an advantage that England minimise by reducing India to 90 for 5 in the second innings. Kapil fails to see what the fuss is all about and smites 46 off 50 balls, setting England 241 to win. With the ball, he finishes off what he started, taking out Graham Gooch, Chris Tavaré, David Gower, Ian Botham, and also ends the 25-run last-wicket stand, getting Bob Willis.
8 for 85 v Pakistan, Lahore, 1982-83
The series has been lost, this match
ends in a draw because of thunderstorms, but the ones watching Kapil's eight-for rate it as one of his finest spells of bowling. Working up good pace, his line and length impeccable, he gets such pronounced swing as to be virtually unplayable. The late swing accounts for Moshin Khan and Majid Khan at the top of the innings, and he also takes the last three wickets in five balls to bring about a quick end. Between those spells, he perseveres for the wickets of Zaheer Abbas, Imran Khan and Wasim Bari.
72 and 2 for 33 v West Indies, Berbice, 1982-83
The vintage Twenty20 innings perhaps before the conceivers of Twenty20 had even started following cricket. At this obscure venue in Guyana
, Kapil promotes himself to come in at 152 for 2. When he leaves, having faced 38 deliveries, India have reached 246, on their way to the then highest ODI total against West Indies. He lashes seven fours and three sixes in his 72 at an unheard-of strike-rate of 189.47. For good measure, Kapil bowls 10 overs for 33 runs and two wickets to seal the win that tells India West Indies can be beaten. Less than three months later, that knowledge comes handy in the World Cup final.
175 v Zimbabwe, Tunbridge Wells, 1983
Despite having surprised West Indies in an earlier match, India's qualification for the semi-final is under doubt after Zimbabwe have reduced India to 17 for 5 in this return match
. With Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Syed Kirmani for company, Kapil plays perhaps the most important innings in India's ODI history - 175 in 138 balls, out of the 257 runs scored while he is at the wicket. It's not just hitting, which is clean and savage in getting 16 fours and six sixes. The match is being played at the edge of the square, and Kapil exploits the longer boundary to take threes and the shorter one to hit big. The BBC, though, is on strike and the match is not televised. One spectator records the innings on his camera, and is later paid well by Kapil for parting with it.
9 for 83 v West Indies, Ahmedabad, 1983-84
After the World Cup win, India face West Indies' backlash at home, failing to win anything in a six-Test and five-ODI tour. In Ahmedabad
, though, Kapil provides his team brief reason for cheer, becoming only the 11th bowler in history to take more than eight wickets in a Test innings. After India fall behind by 40 runs in the first innings, Kapil bowls 30.3 unchanged overs for all wickets except Desmond Haynes', still struggling to keep West Indies to an attainable total.
119 v Australia, Chennai, 1986-87
In the tied Test
, comes arguably Kapil's finest batting effort in Tests. After Australia declare at 574 for 7, thanks largely to Dean Jones' heroic 210, Kapil walks in at 206 for 5, which soon becomes 245 for 7. Kapil gets into a typical counterattack, his strokeplay brilliant and remarkably doubt free for an adverse situation, reaching his hundred in 119 deliveries. Eighty-four of his runs come in boundaries, 44 of his second 50 in 11 hits. Not only has the follow-on been averted, Australia are left needing a brave declaration if they intend to win. The brave declaration comes, India too play ball, and after five days of intense cricket the teams can't be separated.
129 v South Africa, Port Elizabeth, 1992-93
It's a lost cause
if ever there is one. After Allan Donald's fiery pace bowling and Hansie Cronje's determined century, India have lost six wickets and haven't even got through half the first-innings deficit. With an injured right hand, Kapil puts up an exhibition of driving classical and thrilling, a breathtaking counterattack that finds a separate identity around events much bigger - Donald's 12-wicket haul and South Africa's first win since readmission. Of the 188 runs that are scored while he is at the wicket, Kapil scores 129 in 180 balls - less than half of what Cronje faces in scoring 135.