Written by Staff Writer
17 Mar, 2014 | 7:03 pm
Today (Monday, March 17) marks eighteen years since Sri Lanka won the cricket World Cup. It is a day that Sri Lankans cannot forget. Sri Lanka achieved this laudable victory under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga.
Sports 1st takes a look back at this momentous occasion.
The Sri Lankan team defeated the Australian cricket team led by Mark Taylor, in the finals. The day-night match was played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan. The tournament was hosted by Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
India hosted 17 matches at 17 different venues; while Pakistan hosted 16 matches at 6 venues and Sri Lanka hosted 4 matches at 3 venues.
The Sri Lankan cricket team, which depicted an extraordinary performance throughout the tournament, became champions, disproving several predictions.
Arjuna Ranatunga who won the toss in the final match decided to field first. Batting first, Australia scored 241 in their allotted 50 overs, losing 7 wickets.
The Sri Lankan bowlers displayed excellent bowling skills and did not leave any Australian batsman to establish them selves in the pitch.
In the final match, vice captain Aravinda de Silva who usually stuns the bowlers of the opponent with his masterly batting, shined in bowling arena, taking 3 wickets.
Chaminda Vass, Muthaiah Muralitharan, Kumara Dharmasena, and Sanath Jayasuriya bagged one wicket each.
Sri Lanka which needed 242 runs for the historic victory sent the most popular opening duo of Sri Lankan cricket Sanath and veteran wicket-keeper-batsman, Romesh Kaluwitharana to the pitch expecting a solid base.
The expectation was shattered when the reliable partnership was broken for a tiny score of 12. Gurusinha and Aravinda who came to bat next carrying hopes of thousands of Sri Lankans showed some class at the pitch.
The pair displayed patient yet powerful batting show which rejuvenated the hopes of Lankan cricket fans.Both players shared 125 runs between them which frustrated Australian players which reflected in their fielding.
Gurusinha who scored 65 runs lost his wicket to Paul Reiffel.
Arjuna who joined Aravinda following the dismissal of Gurusinha led Sri Lanka to a historic win. Aravinda hit an unbeaten 107 runs, which is still considered as most vital century Sri Lanka needed. Skipper Arjuna scored his name in the history scoring an unbeaten 47 runs.
Aravinda who shone in both bowling and batting department was adjudged the Man of the Match. The 1996 Cricket World Cup is still considered to be the most valuable trophy Sri Lanka cricket as ever won.
The trophy not only pleased fans: it raised Sri Lanka’s status to World champions.
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