Brutal, menacing, sublime, and fearless – it all summed up Kapil Dev as an all-rounder as he was amongst the best during his playing days. But all these adjectives were redefined after playing one of the best knocks in World Cup history against Zimbabwe in a group game. The crowd at the Tunbridge Wells came to a standstill as a master was ingrained on his task. India’s top five had no answers to the pace and swing of Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran.
Even Sunil Gavaskar, who was exceptionally skilled and defiant, couldn’t withstand the storm. The other four victims, who couldn’t get to double figures were Kris Srikkanth, Sandeep Patil, Mohinder Amarnath, and Yashpal Sharma. At 17-5, the scene was set for any of the remaining batsmen to play a career-defining knock. And the skipper, Kapil Dev wasn’t going to let the opportunity go by.
Kapil Dev single-handedly flattens Zimbabwe:
The Haryana Hurricane’s lone knock of 175 off 138 deliveries played a massive hand in guiding India to a respectable 266 in their allotted 60 overs. The likes of Roger Binny, Syed Kirmani, Madan Lal all hung around briefly with their skipper to assist in the task. Kapil dev shared a stand of 60 with Roger Binny, 62 with Madan Lal, and an unbeaten partnership of 126 with keeper-batsman Syed Kirmani. The Zimbabwe openers sleepwalked themselves to an opening stand of 41 before Roger Binny, Balwinder Sandhu, and Madan Lal began making inroads.
After claiming three wickets with the ball, Kevin Curran kept India at bay with his half-century. The eighth-wicket stand of 41 ended with Madan Lal removing Curran for 73 off 93 deliveries as the scorecard read 230-9. It finished with Kapil Dev bagging the final scalp of John Traicos for three to claim the man of the match award. A week later, Kapil Dev was all smiles at the Lord’s balcony, beating West Indies as India lifted their maiden World Cup.