The moment of devastation had to be faced. It was the moment of losing.
The West Indies were in their third World Cup final after having won the first two but on this occasion it was to be third time unlucky.
This time the fight for the Prudential Cup was against India pure and simple. Certainly, our readers are right if they have concluded that we are about to dig up the old story of India trouncing the West Indies in the 1983 final against every predictable odds. It is understandable if people dare to take a look at the two World Cup finals prior to 1983.
In the first one against the Australians, West Indies had a wash of batsmen. Yet in all of this, only three of the batsmen made any sort of representation- and they were Clive Lloyd and his score of 102, Rohan Kanhai with his 55, and Keith Boyce’s 34.
Of course for courtesy sake, we may add Bernard Julian’s 26.
In the second World Cup final it was Richards’ 138, and Collis King with his 86.
How merciful was Desmond Haynes’s input of 20 to that innings.
Clive Lloyd, in the first of final had taken the game by the scruff of the neck, to borrow Richard’s words.
But he only contributed the unlucky 13 in this final.
Even against India, more than two batsmen were needed to score runs.
Even though the bowlers had dismissed India for a mere 183, in the words of Vivian Richards, although the Indian batting had proved to be fragile in the light of the West Indian attack, the Indians had much in their favour that caused them to wander into the path of victory.
Richards conceded:” Things had changed a bit by the time the third World Cup came around in 1983 but we still approached the contest not just as champions, but as champions who fully expected to retain our crown. We knew we were still the best one-day team in the World and perhaps importantly, our supporters knew it as well. They were united in the belief that the World Cup was ours by right and I think most of our team believed that.”
Richards had not forgotten that in the lead up to final, India had beaten the West Indies.
“Even though India had beaten us in the first match, we thought our confidence had returned after we had beaten the Australians and Pakistan and having to face the Indian team once again,” he said.
By the time the West Indians had occupied the crease a different tale began to unfold.
The Indians were most determined to win the World Cup.
Sunil Gavaskar, who had been relieved of the captaincy, was freely involved in setting the field – a field that proved disastrous with Larry Gomes and Faoud Bacchus reaching outside their off stumps and being given out subsequently.
New Captain, Kapil Dev, and others, accepted Gavaskar’s placement of the field and again this helped a great deal in making India win the World Cup
In fairness to Richards, in his statements of the loss of the 1983 Final, he never once mentioned that Lloyd’s early entry had any negative effect on his batting or on his concentration although it was the belief by some of his supporters in Guyana that his early departure had to do with Lloyd’s early entry.
It was widely believed that the reason why Lloyd, with his painful groin, had come to the wicket was to give support to Richards because Lloyd felt that the batsmen were failing at the other end.
One other point that must be noted was that Richards could not help but praise the Indian Board for its generosity in rewarding the Indian players for winning the game.
The West Indies Board never saw any wisdom in upping the rewards for the West Indian players for winning two World Cups in succession.