Wills World Cup 1996 – Sri Lanka Conquer The World

By ScoreLine Desk - June 1, 2019

There were 12 participants in the 1996 World Cup- the nine from 1992 (Zimbabwe was now a Test-playing country) plus Kenya. The Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates. The teams were split into two groups of six, each team to play the five others in their group, the top four in each group to play in the quarter-finals of the knockout stage. The whole tournament lasted 33 days in which 35 matches were played. The schedule consisted of 37 matches, but both Australia and the West Indies forfeited their matches against Sri Lanka.

The group produced one of cricket’s biggest shocks when Kenya defeated the West Indies. With only one professional in the side, Kenya made 166 and dismissed the West Indies for 93. The result caused a crisis meeting of the West Indian Board, and Richie Richardson was lucky to retain the captaincy. However, 93 not out in the West Indies’ final match, helping them beat Australia and qualify for the quarter-finals proved his character.

In Group B, South Africa was impressive in winning all five matches, but there were real surprises.

In the first quarter-final, Sri Lanka confirmed their form with an exciting victory over England. Jayasuriya made 82 in 44 balls, including 22 in one over from De Freitas.

The sub-continent would have liked to see India play Pakistan in the final, but the two met at Bangalore in the quarters. With Pakistan’s skipper, Wasim Akram unfit, India won by 39 runs, after Pakistan had forfeited an over of their innings for a slow bowling rate.

The new favorites, South Africa, were beaten by 19 runs by a rejuvenated West Indies, for whom Brain Lara made 111, while Australia beat New Zealand.

World Cup Semi Final India v Sri Lanka Calcutta 1996 Fire in stands lit by Indian spectators after the match 66627-23 (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Patrick Eagar via Getty Images)

At Calcutta, India put in Sri Lanka. Both openers were out in the first over, caught at third man. In fact, the first three batsmen contributed two runs, but Aravinda de Silva continued attacking, reaching 53 in 32 balls, and Sri Lanka recovered to 251 for eight. India reached 98 for one, but Sanath Jayasuriya then dismissed both Tendulkar (65) and Manjrekar (25) and India collapsed in disarray. At 120 for eight after 34.1 overs, the 110,000 crowd began throwing bottles on the pitch, and referee Clive Lloyd took the teams off for a 20-minute cooling-off period. However, when the players returned, the bottle-throwing resumed, and Lloyd awarded the match to Sri Lanka by default.

In the other semi-final, Australia began disastrously and were 15 for four before Stuart Law (72) and Michael Bevan (69) squeezed the total to 207 for eight. At 165 for two, with Chanderpaul (80) and Richie Richardson established, the West Indies needed 43 in seven overs to win, but Shane Warne (4-36) inspired a panic. The last eight wickets went for 37 in 50 balls, leaving Richardson stranded on 49 not out and the West Indies five runs short of Australia.   

Australia started well in the final, had 82 up in the first 15 overs and reached 137 before the second wicket fell, but Sri Lanka’s bowlers then bowled very well and kept the final total down to a manageable 241 for seven. When Sri Lanka batted, brilliant innings of 107 by Aravinda de Silva took his country to a convincing victory with runs and wickets in hand.

By ScoreLine Desk

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