World Cup Moments: Eden Gardens Goes Berserk

Published 02/17/2015, 7:39 AM EST
World Cup Eden Gardens


It was the night of the 1st semi-final between India and Sri Lanka, and the Eden Gardens was packed to rafters. As Ravi Shastri would say ‘Not a single seat in the house was vacant’.  India had beaten Pakistan in an emotionally charged quarter-final at M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, while Sri Lanka had beaten England comprehensively in the 1st quarter final at Faisalabad.

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Indian Captain Mohammed Azharuddin had won the toss and opted to field first on what he thought will be a true wicket. India started well with the ball as Javagal Srinath knocked down the threatening pair of Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana early and the score was 1-2. It soon became 35-3 as Gurusinha was dismissed. While the other batsmen were struggling to middle the ball on the dusty Eden Gardens wicket, Aravinda De Silva was batting like a dream, and had it not been for his wrong judgement of Kumble’s delivery, Sri Lanka would have scored much more than the eventual score of 251/8. De Silva made 66 of 47 and was the top scorer. Contributions from Roshan Mahanama(58), Arjuna Ranatunga(35) and Chaminda Vaas (23) made sure that Sri Lanka crossed the 250 run mark.

India didn’t start well either as Navjot Singh Sidhu was dismissed for 3 by Vaas and the scoreboard read 8-1. Sanjay Manjrekar then came out and started building a partnership with Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin Tendulkar was batting really well and looked set to take India home when out of nowhere he was stumped off on Jayasuriya’s delivery. What followed was a ‘pack of cards’ like batting collapse by India. Wickets fell in a tearing hurry, the plot was completely lost and he score went from 98-1 to 120-8.

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On witnessing such poor performance, the gathering of around 1,00,000 spectators at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens lost their cool and started throwing bottles and fruits on the ground, along with setting posters to fire in some stands. The ‘sport-loving’ populace in the stadium could not digest the fact that the Indian team had lost. The players fielding in the deep were getting affected and the match refree, Clive Llyod was in no mood to tolerate such behaviour and decide to hand the match to Sri Lanka who went on to play their first World Cup Final and win the 1996 World Cup Final.

Match Summary:

Sri Lanka 251/8, 50 overs (Aravinda De Silva 66, Srinath 3-34) beat India 120/8 34.1 overs (Tendulkar 65, Jayasuriya 3-12) by Default

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Gurkirat Singh Gill

168 articles

A sports enthusiast since 2003 with my first experience of connecting with sports being the Cricket World Cup 2003. Studying Engineering in Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, University of Delhi, but pretty sure will not become an Engineer.

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