Exactly three and a half decades ago, former Indian skipper, Kapil Dev scored his first ODI century against Zimbabwe in the 20th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 1983 at Tunbridge Wells. Apparently, it remained his last ODI century and the highest ODI score for quite some time.
In which was India’s fifth match of the tournament, they came on the back of two defeats and two losses. On the other hand, Zimbabwe had won a solitary match out of their fourth matches, losing already to India by 5 wickets at Leicester in their second match.
Kapil Dev, the then Indian captain, had won the toss and chose to bat. In what came as astounding scenes for the Indian team, India lost half its side at the score of 17. Opener Sunil Gavaskar and Krisnamachari Srikkanth failed to score. Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil, and Yashpal Sharma, the next three batsmen, scored 5, 1 and 9 respectively as India looked out of sorts in Tunbridge Wells.
Kapil Dev, who came in to bat at No. 6, played a historic inning, an innings which rued all prospects of the match getting over by lunchtime. Such was the trouble in which the Indian team had gotten itself into. India had eventually moved out of a situation where they could have created a record which was to be against their likes. However, at 147-8, a lot was still to be done.
It was at this point in time that Kapil Dev stitched a 126-run partnership for the ninth wicket with wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani (24*). In the process, he played a sort of innings which was never seen before. He ended up scoring an inspirational 175* (138) with the help of 16 fours & six sixes as India put on board 266-8 in 60 overs. He had completed his century off 72 balls, something which was very rare in those times.
In the second innings, the Indian bowlers bundled out the opposition just in time. Zimbabwe scored 235-10 in 57 overs. Kevin Curran, who came in to bat at No. 7, top-scored with 73 (93). With bowling figures of 11-2-42-3, Madan Lal was the pick of the bowlers for India.