Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sri Lanka in 1999

Well that was the world cup where the defending champions Sri Lanka had evoked a lot of interest and expectations among the fans and among the board as well after they had not only won the championship in 1996 but also had done so without losing a single match en route to the final triumph. Sri Lanka was the second nation to do so after the mighty West Indies led by Clive Lloyd in the 1975 and 1979 editions. Sri Lanka was led by Arjuna Ranatunga who was the captain in 1996 world cup as well needless to be said.

In the 1999 world cup all that the Sri Lankans were able to extract from the more or less world cup winning squad was a win against Zimbabwe and Kenya, the least that any test playing nation can be expected to do. Worst come, in the match against Kenya at Southhampton, though Sri Lanka managed a win in that inconsequential match after losing to England, South Africa and England, the man of the match was awarded to Maurice Odumbe of Kenya for scoring 82 runs from 95 balls. In the game against Zimbabwe, Sri lanka lost 6 wickets en route to their successful chase of 198.

Luckily, the man of the match was awarded to a Sri Lankan batsman Marvan Atapattu for reasons not so important here. Going back, in the 1st game the Sri Lankans faced against England, Sri Lankans were the favorites not only against England but also against any opposition but for RSA. Sri Lankans were bowled out for 204 and the English batsmen chased down the target in 46.5 overs losing just 2 wickets en route. In the next game against South Africa, though not rated as favorites, Sri Lanka would have had it share of betters after RSA was bowled out for 199 with Klusner remaining unbeaten on 52.

But, forget about winning, the Sri Lankans should have thanked their Gods for not having them all out for a score less than 100. A margin of 89 runs chasing 199 on board is just unforgivable. Then comes the game against India where once again, Sri Lanka were termed as favorites but once again thumbs down. Sri Lanka started off on a positive note after scalping the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Sadagoppan Ramesh not before handing themselves to the hands of Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. The two contributed together 328 runs with extras apart. Sri Lankans slogan might have been "Welcome to My World"

Sri Lanka were left with no choice but to end up on a winning note in their inconsequential match against Kenya with a lot of compromise.

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