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Tuesday 3 February 2015

Windies Hara Kiri in the Semifinal of 1996 World Cup

Defining Moments of #ICCWorldCup

Aus v WI , 1996, World Cup Semifinal, Mohali

If the first semi final between Sri Lanka and India at Eden Gardens, Kolkata had drama, this second semifinal had its share too! Boy .. what a game!

Again two critical moments in the game

1. The Stuart Law and Michael Bevan partnership

Batting first the Aussies got off to the worst possible start 15/4 (Taylor, Mark Waugh, Ponting, Steve Waugh all come and gone).

The Windies were harboring thought of a 100+ run chase and cantering into the World Cup final. 

The two however had different ideas. Slowly, they started building a solid partnership. Once they got their eyes in, Law took the attack to the opposition while Bevan held fort. A magnificent parttneship of 127 followed before Law was run out but not before laying a foundation for a somewhat fightable score. The Aussies eventually made 207 in their stipulated 50 overs. Something to bowl at...

2. Shivanrine Chanderpaul's wicket
Chasing a modest score, the Windies began cautiously. Chanderpaul and Browne took the score to 25 before Shane Warne got rid off Browne for 10. In came Brian Lara and tore into the Aussie bowling in his inimitable style. 

The two put on a 50+ stand in no time before Lara was bowled by Steve Waugh for 45.

The West Indian captain, Richie Rcihardson joined Chanders and they set about chasing the target like it was a walk in the park. At 165 for 2 in 41 overs, the game seemed done and dusted. 

43 off 54 balls with 8 wickets in hand.

Then tragedy struck for the Windies (just like it had for the Indians when Sachin was out after dominating the opposition bowling). In a rush of blood, Chanderpaul spooned a catch to mid on to be dismissed for 65 and the game turned course dramatically.

Warne claimed 3 wickets in no time after that. The seamers applied run pressure and Windies started collapsing. Richardson was still around and kept pushing the score along. However, he was loosing partners at the other end and fast.

As the last over began and 10 needed to win with two wickets in hand, Richardson smote a boundary followed by a single attempt that led to Ambrose being run out. In walked Courtney Walsh, the batsman with most ducks to his name then.

And what happened, first ball, Damien Fleming castled his off stump.

Windies all out for 202, 5 runs short of the Aussie total.

Extaordinary scenes in Mohali and Aussies celebrated while the West Indian captain sadly walked back unconquered but defeated!

Amazing game of cricket with awesome memories. We were watching this game on Doordarshan (India's TV broadcaster) when there was a power outage in our locality. This is when the Windies fuse went off too. They were coasting at 158 for 2 then and we felt it was a matter of time before they crossed the winning line.

We switched over to All India Radio (India's Radio broadcaster) and the commentary was magical. Hats of Gautam Bhimani and Abhay Chaturvedi for bring the match alive for us. The drama, twists and turns, wickets, runs were so beautifully presented, we felt we were at the stadium.

By the time the power came back, Windies needed 10 in the last over and the rest as they say is all history!!

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