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3 instances when an underdog team stunned India in the World Cup

Dhruvo Das
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Top 5 / Top 10
3.89K   //    Timeless

#2 Sri Lanka - 1996 World Cup

Sri Lanka after their win against India in the 1996 World Cup semi-final
Sri Lanka after their win against India in the 1996 World Cup semi-final

Sri Lanka were labelled the underdogs before the start of the tournament. However, they played an aggressive brand of cricket and stormed into the semifinals.

Sri Lanka had defeated India earlier in the tournament, but as the match was going to be played in Kolkata and Sri Lanka had never been a part of a knockout game before, India were considered clear favorites to win the match.

India won the toss and elected to field first. It was a dream start for them as Sri Lanka lost both their openers in the very first over of their innings.

At one stage Sri Lanka were tottering at 36 for 3 and it looked like it was going to be an easy win for India.

But Aravinda de Silva had other plans, and he soon started dismissing the ball to all parts of the ground. He brought up his 50 in no time and was threatening to take the game away from India when Anil Kumble was brought into the attack and he bowled De Silva for 66.

Roshan Mahanama was joined by captain Arjuna Ranatunga and the pair put on 83 runs for the 6th wicket. Sachin Tendulkar was then given the ball and he dismissed the Sri Lankan skipper for 35 runs.

Some useful cameos down the order by Hashan Tillakaratne and Chaminda Vaas helped Sri Lanka reach a competitive score of 251.

India lost their first wicket with only 8 runs on the board, but Tendulkar was once again in magnificent touch. He found an ally in Sanjay Manjrekar and together they put on 90 runs for the third wicket.

The Little Master completed his half century and looked good for a century, before Sanath Jayasuriya got the ball to trickle down the leg side off his legs. Tendulkar lost his bearings for a minute and Romesh Kaluwitharana quickly gathered the ball and whipped the bails off.

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Mohammad Azharuddin got out cheaply without disturbing the scorers. India were choking, and were soon reduced to 120 for 8.

That was when the crowd went berserk and the match referee had no option but to call off the match and award Sri Lanka the game by default.

They eventually went on to defeat Australia in the final and lift the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

Sri Lanka: 251 for 8 wickets (50 overs), India: 120 for 8 (34.1 overs) (CWC 1996)




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