Top 5 ICC Cricket World Cup finals
There have been 10 World Cup finals until now, with the inaugural edition having been held back in 1975. Naturally, we’ve had five winners, four of whom have also been runners-up on other occasions. And then there is England which has played as many finals as India and West Indies, but is yet to win a single edition. While a World Cup final is always a special occasion, not all finals have been as exciting and engrossing as one would’ve hoped.Some haven't even been remotely interesting. Come to think of it, Australia's hat-trick of World Cup wins from 1999 to 2007 had been ruthless from a cricketing perspective, but boring from an audience's perspective. The World Cup still awaits a nail-biting final, the kind that goes down to the last ball or wicket. However, there have also been a few interesting contests; some even managed to throw up surprising results.Here are the top 5 World Cup finals of all-time:
#5 1996 - Sri Lanka vs Australia
It was a tough call between 1996 and 1975. On the basis of the scorecard, the ‘75 final looks closer. But on a closer look, you’ll notice that a lot of runs in the run chase were scored by the last wicket pair of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson when there was not much to lose. On the other hand, the ‘96 final in Lahore was tense almost right throughout.
Australia, who had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the West Indies in the semi-finals, posted a decent 241 on the board. More importantly, they had Sri Lanka tottering at 23/2 with openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, who had set the tournament ablaze with their smashing brand of cricket, back in the hut.
But like Shane Warne in ‘99, Aravinda de Silva owned the finals in ‘96 with an unbeaten century which made sure that the chase was always on track, following on from his half-century in the semi-finals. Asanka Gurusinha and, later, skipper Arjuna Ranatunga supported him ably, ensuring Sri Lanka got home well before time.
Australia had Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming and Warne at their disposal, but they were yet to touch greatness and were very much second-best against a rampant Sri Lankan unit.