5 iconic matches played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Sharjah Cricket Ground – One of cricket’s most iconic venuesIt has been said of the famed Lord’s cricket ground in England that countless great deeds have found a resting place on its hallowed field over time. While the distinction of being the Mecca of cricket is a fitting epithet to the iconic stadium, a similar moniker could also apply to the oft-reviled Sharjah Cricket Association stadium in the UAE. For there have been many memorable events that unfolded on that ground – a testament to the vast improvements that have been done since its establishment in 1982. It provided sanctuary to a beleaguered Pakistan Cricket Board when international tours in the troubled nation were called off many times, often playing the role of a neutral venue until recently.While the current crop of youthful fans would recollect the match centre as being the host of the first half of the 2014 Indian Premier League, long-time observers of the game still recall fondly some of the greatest feats achieved under its aegis.Here are five such games that have carved their own places in the glittering annals of cricketing folklore due to some outstanding individual achievements.
#5 Humiliation at Sharjah - India vs Sri Lanka, Coca Cola Champions Trophy Final, 2000
Abject surrender and utter humiliation – the two phrases were used most frequently at the end of a completely one-sided final of the Coca Cola Champions Trophy in 2000. It did not look like the Indians were in any mood to go down fighting. Such was the psychological hold exerted by three of Sri Lanka’s celebrated cricketers that the 1983 world champions fell to their worst defeat in a long time.
Sanath Jayasuriya, captaining the side, led a revival after the Emerald Islanders had fallen to 116/4. Pacing his innings well in the company of Russel Arnold, the left-hander opened up towards the end of the innings with his brutal strokeplay, as he smashed his way to a magnificent 189, steering his team to a competitive 299 in the allotted 50 overs.
And what followed could only be described as a brain freeze. Chaminda Vaas & Muttiah Muralitharan ran through the Indian batting without so much as a whimper of fight from anyone. Only Robin Singh, with 11 runs, managed to enter double figures, as the Men in Blue fell for a paltry 54. 245 runs is too large a margin of defeat, and even 15 years down the line, old-timers still look pained when recalling this nightmare of a game.