World Cup 1999 moments: Ganguly’s finest innings ever
It was May 26th, 1999. India was playing Sri Lanka, the defending champions, at Tanton, England. Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to bat first. Captain Ranatunga’s decision to bowl seemed justified when in the first over itself, Chaminda Vaas got the wicket of S.Ramesh with a beautiful swinging delivery clipping his off- stump. With Ganguly on the other side, Dravid came to bat now.
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What followed for the next 45 overs or so, was an epic display of a perfect combination of attack and defense on the two sides and two of the most remarkable innings of the world cup. Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly complemented each other so well, even Muttiah Muralitharan couldn’t do anything about the two, going wicket-less in the match for 60 runs in his 10 overs. Dravid played aggressively, pacing the innings, reaching his century at almost run a ball while Ganguli gracefully and calmly went along with the flow of the game. He reached his century in 119 balls but after that only needed 39 more to reach his 183, a score which is till the date the second highest individual score in the World Cup after Gary Kirsten’s 188* in 1996. The two guided the team to a score of 373/6.
Ganguly hit 17 fours and 7 sixes and. His partnership with Dravid of 318 runs still remains the highest partnership for any wicket in the World Cup. Dravid was the master of the innings, playing with fierce aggression despite India losing an early wicket. He got to his half century in just 43 balls with 10 boundaries. Ultimately he got run out in the 45th over, following a direct hit.
Constantly overshadowed by Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliance, this match of the world cup 1999 is one of the many ‘Dravid-Ganguly’ moments that display their talents effectively. There never was and never will be a replacement for these two fine gentlemen who represent one of Indian cricket’s finest.
Scores in brief: India 373/6(Ganguly-183, Dravid 145,Wickramasinghe 3-65) beat Sri Lanka 216-10(de Silva-56,Ranatunga 42,Robin Singh 5-31)