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5 worst collapses in World Cup history

Batting collapses – they are not the easiest things to watch, whether you’re out in the middle or sitting in the stands. This is especiall ...

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Top 5 / Top 10 24 Jan 2015, 22:02 IST
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Batting collapses – they are not the easiest things to watch, whether you’re out in the middle or sitting in the stands. This is especially true if it’s your favourite team that’s caught up in this unfortunate predicament. While there have been instances where men have dug their sides out of this gaping hole, resulting in thrilling finishes, the majority of cricketing folklore is littered with stories that talk of some of the most humiliating defeats teams have suffered due to such calamities.The term itself is used to describe an event of many batsmen getting out in rapid succession, while only a few runs are scored. Regardless of the format, cricket has witnessed such historical occurrences quite a few times. Although the emergence of Twenty20 cricket has offset such falls to an extent, one still gets goosebumps when any such thing occurs either during a chase or at the beginning of an innings. These often give bowlers hope, given the fact that the recent rule changes have loaded the dice heavily in favour of the willow-wielders. Parity is thus restored to make it an even contest.The World Cup, too, has seen such instances. Here are five of the worst ever falls in the tournament’s forty-year history:

#1 Australia v West Indies, Semi Final 2, 1996 World Cup

Courtney Walsh’s dismissal completed the tragic collapse of the West Indies

The second semi-final was, in essence, a tale of two collapses. The difference, however, remained in the approaches of the opposing teams. While Mark Taylor’s Australians refused to throw in the towel and kept going till the very end, Richie Richardson’s men panicked, to put it simply. It was eerily similar to the first semi-final, which ended one of the host nations’ hopes.

Mohali’s tricky pitch saw the experienced Curtly Ambrose, along with Ian Bishop, take out the first four Australian wickets with less than twenty on the board. However, Stuart Law and Michael Bevan batted with grim determination, and some quick hitting from the lower order pushed the final total to 207. It wasn’t considered to be a winning total by most experts, especially in light of the fact that the PCA stadium heavily favoured the side batting second. Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brian Lara’s alliance, followed by Richardson’s calm batting down the order, were all ominous signs for the Kangaroos.

But Taylor, who hadn’t given up yet, brought Glenn McGrath back into the attack, and the lanky seamer prised out Chanderpaul (Lara having fallen to Steve Waugh earlier). This triggered the floodgates – big hitters Roger Harper and Ottis Gibson were dispatched back to the hut in quick succession, followed by the rest of the batsmen. Richardson continued to wage a lone battle, but against the wiles of Shane Warne and Damien Fleming, the tail was just slaughtered – enabling Australia to run out winners by a mere seven runs and gain a place in the final.

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