1996 World Cup: Finally Cup Goes to “Host”

Hyderabad, India: Sri Lanka hosted 4 of the 37 matches. While India and Pakistan hosted 17 matches, the Sri Lankan led by Jayasuriya massacre and supported by senior members of the likes of Aravinda de Silva emerged winner defeating the tournament favorites, Australia.

Amidst walkovers (by Australia, West Indies) and stadium rampage (Indian supporters in Kolkata during semifinal), Sri Lanka appeared mentally determined to win.

Besides walkovers against Sri Lanka, there was uproar against umpire too. Umpire (Bucknor) was replaced by Ian Robinson in the match between Pakistan and South Africa when Pakistan protested against him.

Even public decided the match result too. For the first time ever umpires awarded a cricket match to a team. In the semifinal, while India was in dire state during the run chase against Sri Lanka the spectators at Eden Gardens disrupted the match and umpires awarded the match to Sri Lanka.

Netherlands and United Arab Emirates could not show spine and other teams registered heavy victories against them. India, Sri Lanka, Australia and West Indies reached the semifinals. While India were mauled by Sri Lanka in the semifinal, West Indies succumbed to the magic of Warne and gifted Australia the place in final.

Sri Lankans continued their emphatic confident run and became the first team to win the World Cup final while chasing the total. The opening pair of Kaluwitharana and Jayasuriya followed by Aravinda de Silva and Ranatunga formed the most explosive batting order. Muralitharan and co provided magical spell of bowling. Overall Sri Lanka was the unbeatable team and deservingly emerged as the winner.

Australians lost their second final, but they were ready for a glorious phase ahead.

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