The 1996 cricket world cup was filled with two things: controversy and cricket. While the world wanted to witness a good game of cricket during the biggest cricketing event, the year 1996 witnessed the darkest moments in the history of the game. There were matches that were called off, and winners were announced without even a ball being bowled.
Cricket is all about good action between two teams, and while the game is called the gentleman’s game, this year wasn’t the same. On 17th March in 1996, Sri Lanka won the Cricket World Cup, but to everyone’s dismay.
Here’s how this all turned out to be:
The 1996 cricket world cup was held in the Asian subcontinent with India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan hosting the biggest event in the game. A total of 12 teams participated in the event and were divided into two groups of 6 each where UAE, Netherlands, and Kenya debuted on the cricket ground.
While everything went according to schedule, the issues occurred when Sri Lanka played hosts to Australia and West Indies. It was a time of instability in the country as 90 people were killed by Tamil protestors, thus creating a state of unrest in the country. The lack of security, and moreover security concerns raised by the two teams ensured that Sri Lanka wins the matches without a ball being bowled. The ICC played the decision maker, and thereby Sri Lanka topped the group stage.
If this wasn’t good for Cricket, what happened in Eden Gardens added more fuel to the controversy during this world cup. It was the semi-final match between India and Sri Lanka, and when the outcome of the match didn’t seem like India would win; the spectators took the law into their own hands. They threw water bottles at cricketers and also set sections of the stadium on fire. This state of unrest caused India to lose to the match, as the referee awarded the win to Sri Lanka, which meant that they were in the finals now.
It was the day of the finals, and Australia put up a score of 241 runs for the loss of 7 wickets which Sri Lanka won with just three wickets down. Aravinda de Silva was the man of the hour as he scored a match-winning hundred and also picked up 3 wickets for his team.
With Cricket World Cup 2019 fast approaching, the fans hope this year would be much calmer than it was in 1996.