India had done well to reach the semi-finals, but hosts England were expected to beat them. Graeme Fowler and Chris Tavare started well, putting up an opening stand of 69 before Roger Binny dismissed both. Then started something unusual. Skipper Kapil Dev turned to the gentle slow-medium of Mohinder Amarnath and quickish off-breaks of Kirti Azad.
Amarnath had David Gower caught behind by Syed Kirmani. After Allan Lamb was run out, Amarnath castled Mike Gatting. England were 150 for five, and eventually bowled out for 213 off the last ball of their 60th over. Amarnath finished with two wickets for 27 in his 12 overs.
Sunil Gavaskar and Krishnamachari Srikkanth put on 46 but both fell within four runs of each other. Amarnath and Yashpal Sharma added a splendid 92. Amarnath was coasting on 46 before he was run out. Yashpal scored 61, and Sandeep Patil a belligerent unbeaten 51. India cantered away to a six wicket win. Amarnath was man-of-the-match.
The conquerors from the Caribbean marshalled by the elder statesman Clive Lloyd had won the first two World Cups, and were poised to make it a hat-trick.
The final began true to form with Andy Roberts and Joel Garner bowling extremely accurately. Garner’s steeply rising deliveries bowled from his great height, were impossible to get away. Soon Sunil Gavaskar fished at one from Roberts and was easily snapped up at the wicket.
Mohinder Amarnath joined Krishnamachari Srikkanth who dazzled for a while in his customary fashion. They put on 57 for second wicket. Then Yashpal Sharma helped Amarnath in a useful stand, and at 90 for two the Indian score bore a healthy look. Just then, Amarnath was comprehensively bowled by Michael Holding for 27. India were shot out for 183 in 54.4 overs.
There was a sensational start to the West Indies innings as Gordon Greenidge shouldered arms to an incoming delivery from Balwinder Singh Sandhu and was bowled for 1. The ball came in sharply after hitting the seam. The imperious Vivian Richards batted like the monarch that he often was at the crease. Just when he seemed to have decimated the Indian attack, he skied Madan Lal high over mid-wicket. Kapil Dev turned and ran after the ball and clung on to the prize.
Wickets began to tumble but Jeff Dujon and Malcolm Marshall tried to make a match of it. Then Amarnath struck, with Dujon playing on to his stumps and Marshall being snapped up by Gavaskar in the slips. Not long after, Amarnath trapped Michael Holding leg-before. Amazingly, India had won the World Cup. Amarnath finished with three for 12 off his 7 overs. He was man-of-the-match again.
Only two others, Sri Lanka’s dashing batsman Aravinda de Silva in 1996, and the Aussie leg-spinning wizard Shane Warne in 1999, achieved this tremendous feat of winning the man-of-the-match award in the semi-final as well as final of the same World Cup.
(Author Indra Vikram Singh can be contacted on email firstname.lastname@example.org).
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