The year 1985 marked a historic moment in cricket history as India emerged victorious in the Benson and Hedges World Championship of Cricket. This tournament, held in Australia, showcased the prowess of the Indian team as they dominated their opponents and claimed the championship title. Despite being considered underdogs, the Indian team displayed exceptional skill, teamwork, and determination throughout the tournament. In this article, we will delve into the details of India’s triumph, highlighting the key players and memorable moments that led to their resounding victory.
The Format and Teams
The Benson and Hedges World Championship of Cricket in 1985 featured all seven Test-playing nations: Australia, England, India, Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. The teams were divided into two groups, Group A consisting of Australia, England, India, and Pakistan, while Group B comprised West Indies, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. The top two teams from each group would progress to the semi-finals, setting the stage for intense competition.
Group Stage Dominance
India’s journey in the tournament began with a clash against arch-rivals Pakistan. Led by the aggressive batting of Krishnamachari Srikkanth, India registered a convincing victory, setting the tone for their campaign. Srikkanth’s explosive innings of 57 runs from just 53 balls showcased his attacking prowess and laid the foundation for India’s success.
In their subsequent matches, India continued their dominant form, defeating England and Australia with ease. Srikkanth once again played a crucial role, scoring a match-winning 93 against Australia, displaying his ability to perform under pressure. The Indian team’s strong batting lineup, combined with their disciplined bowling attack, proved to be a winning formula in the group stage.
Having secured their place in the semi-finals, India faced New Zealand in a highly anticipated clash. The match witnessed the emergence of two young talents – leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and all-rounder Ravi Shastri. Sivaramakrishnan, making his ODI debut, showcased his skill with the ball, tormenting the New Zealand batsmen and ending the match as the leading wicket-taker of the championship.
Shastri, on the other hand, displayed his all-round brilliance, picking up crucial wickets and contributing with the bat. His defiant knock of 53 runs in the semi-final played a pivotal role in India’s successful chase of 206 runs. The partnership between Shastri and Srikkanth in the semi-final highlighted the team’s resilience and ability to perform under pressure.
The Final Showdown
March 10, 1985, marked the culmination of the tournament with a high-stakes final between India and Pakistan. The match held tremendous significance, as it showcased the intense rivalry between the two nations. India entered the final as clear favorites, having dominated throughout the tournament, while Pakistan aimed to upset their rivals and claim the championship title.
The Indian team’s bowling attack, led by the legendary Kapil Dev, proved to be a nightmare for the Pakistani batsmen. Kapil Dev’s swing bowling troubled the openers, Mohsin Khan and Mudassar Nazar, who succumbed to his skill within the first 30 runs. Supported by Chetan Sharma and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, Kapil Dev dismantled the Pakistani batting lineup, restricting them to a modest total of 176 runs.
India’s chase began with a bang, as opening batsmen Srikkanth and Shastri launched a blistering attack on the Pakistani bowlers. The duo’s explosive partnership of 103 runs demoralized the Pakistani team and put India in a commanding position. Srikkanth’s aggressive strokeplay and Shastri’s composed innings propelled India towards victory. The calm and experienced heads of Mohammad Azharuddin and Dilip Vengsarkar ensured that India reached the finishing line with ease, securing an emphatic eight-wicket victory.
The Heroes of India’s Triumph
Kris Srikkanth – The Aggressive Opener
Kris Srikkanth’s batting prowess was the highlight of India’s campaign in the World Championship of Cricket. His aggressive style of play set the tone for the team, demoralizing the opposition bowlers. Srikkanth’s innings of 238 runs in the tournament showcased his ability to score quickly and put pressure on the opponents. His knock of 67 runs in the final against Pakistan played a crucial role in India’s victory.
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan – The Rising Star
Debutant Laxman Sivaramakrishnan emerged as a key player for India in the tournament. His leg-spin bowling proved to be a potent weapon, baffling the batsmen with his variations and flight. Sivaramakrishnan’s 10 wickets in the championship made him the leading wicket-taker, displaying his talent and potential at a young age. His performance in the semi-final against New Zealand, where he picked up three important wickets, showcased his ability to deliver under pressure.
Ravi Shastri – The All-Rounder Extraordinaire
Ravi Shastri’s exceptional all-round performance was instrumental in India’s triumph. His contributions with both bat and ball played a crucial role in the team’s success. With 182 runs and eight wickets in the tournament, Shastri showcased his versatility and skill. His unbeaten innings of 63 runs in the final against Pakistan solidified India’s victory and earned him the accolade of Player of the Series.
The Legacy of India’s Triumph
India’s victory in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket marked a turning point in Indian cricket history. It instilled a sense of belief and confidence in the team, proving that they were a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. The triumph laid the foundation for future successes, including India’s historic win in the 1983 World Cup.
The performance of players like Srikkanth, Sivaramakrishnan, and Shastri inspired generations of cricketers and showcased the depth of talent in Indian cricket. Their contributions, along with the collective effort of the entire team, established a legacy of excellence and set the stage for India’s rise as a cricketing powerhouse.
The 1985 World Championship of Cricket will forever be etched in the annals of Indian cricket history. India’s triumph in the tournament showcased their dominance and skill, as they overcame strong opposition to claim the championship title. The performances of Srikkanth, Sivaramakrishnan, and Shastri exemplified the team’s talent and determination. This victory set the stage for future successes and solidified India’s status as a cricketing force to be reckoned with. The memories of this historic triumph continue to inspire and motivate players, fans, and cricket enthusiasts around the world.