Cricket World Cup’s Greatest Moments – A Collapse That Sparked Fire




Cricket India

Cricket India

India will remember the first semifinal of the 1996 edition as a rollercoaster ride – a ride that never reached its end. One moment the crowd went berserk as Tendulkar cut, drove, pulled and lofted with ease. Half an hour and a dramatic collapse later, the same crowd began to riot and ensured that the match couldn’t continue. Sri Lanka won by default.

India already had their thoughts on the final after beating Pakistan in a pulsating quarterfinal. The media had almost forgotten that there was another match to be won before the final and Sri Lanka made sure India was made to pay for the complacency.

A few eyebrows were raised when Azharuddin decided to field after winning the toss. However openers Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana were back in the hut by the end of the first over and Srinath also removed Gurusinha to reduce Lanka to 35/3. A counter attacking innings by Aravinda De Silva, who scored 66 of 47 deliveries, and valuable contributions by Mahanama, Ranatunga and Tillakaratne helped Sri Lanka post 252/6, a total the Indian batsmen would have expected to overhaul easily.

Although Sidhu fell early, Tendulkar was in the zone that day. He spanked 9 boundaries as India raced away to 98/1, 65 of those coming of Sachin’s bat. And then it all began when Jayasuriya was introduced into the attack! Trying to sweep a ball down the legside, Sachin slipped momentarily and Kaluwitharana whipped the bails off in a flash. Manjrekar was bowled round his legs and Azharuddin offered a simple return catch to Dharmasena. Srinath, Jadeja and Ashish Kapoor followed soon after. 98/1 had become 120/8 – an unbelievable 7 wickets had fallen for 22 runs.

The crowd could not believe what was happening and began throwing bottles on to the ground and setting fire to the stands making it impossible to continue play. The match referee called off both the teams and a few minutes later awarded the match to Sri Lanka to default.

Vinod Kambli, who had come in at No. 5 and saw partners come and go, walked off the field in disappointment. The tears in his eyes captured the anguish and disappointment of every cricket lover in the country. 13th March, 1996 will be one day that the Indian cricket team and its supporters would want to erase from their memories.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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