India’s campaign in the 1983 World Cup had already received a great start when they beat West Indies in the first game that they played. They had then beaten Zimbabwe and then lost to Australia and West Indies again.>
However, in their next game against Zimbabwe, which was a must-win encounter, India had met with a lot of trouble. Batting first after winning the toss at Turnbridge Wells was a brave decision considering the swing and seam that the track had, and Peter Rawson and Kevin Curran had blasted the Indians off.
Rawson and Curran removed the openers, Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth for a duck each while Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil and Yashpal Sharma had all had single-digit scores against their names. India were 17/5 at this stage, and looked like they were in a big hole and despite a 60-run partnership between Roger Binny and Kapil Dev, 77/6 hardly looked like a match-winning score.
Ravi Shastri came and went for one, before Kapil Dev decided to go for the jugular. Realising that there was nothing in it for the batsmen and he would end up getting out one or the other time, he attacked the Zimbabwean bowling. In partnership with Madan Lal, he first got to a well-compiled hal century and then broke loose with a batting performance that stunned the world.
There were 16 fours and six sixes in his innings and by the time he was finished he had an unbeaten 175 to his name. Syed Kirmani had scored 24 in the record eighth wicket stand of 126 runs as India got to 266/7 in the 60 overs.
The Zimbabwean team did try to make a match out of it but after an opening stand of 44, the side began to lose wickets rather quickly and collapsed to 235 all out. Curran did match up his three wicket haul with a 73 but the rest of the side barely got going and the Indians ran home winners by 31 runs.
Interestingly, the BBC was on strike that day and did not cover the game, and apart from a few photographs of the game, there is no video package of it. This is a shame given the audacious innings he played.