Pakistanis have decided to support Sri Lankans in the Saturday Cricket World Cup Final after being bruised by India in the semi-finals in Mohali. Sri Lankans and Indians will naturally support their respective teams. The rest of the world including cricket experts, gamblers and even astrologers are high on India. But the jury remains out on which team has an edge.
Will India be able pull another spectacular victory? Will Sachin Tendulkar get his 100th century? Will the Lords of India, Wankhede Stadium be the witness of India winning Cricket World Cup for the second time? Will it happen?
The one thing we can do now is to pray for India and draw the stats. First part is for you. For the second, here are some interesting observations with respect to World Cup clashes between the two:
The Bad Stats:
• India and Sri Lanka have faced each other 7 times in a Cricket World Cup so far. India has won 2 times and Sri Lanka 4 times. One match was washed away by rain.
• The last World Cup face off between the two teams happened in a group match in the last World Cup in 2007. India lost by 69 runs. Captain Rahul Dravid top scored 60 chasing Sri Lanka’s 254. Tendulkar and Dhoni were out for duck.
• Sri Lanka thrashed India at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 1996 World Cup semi-finals on March 13, 1996 in front of 110, 000 strong home crowds with 131 runs. Actually the match couldn’t be completed since the crowd went mad when 8th wicket of the Indian innings fell at 120 on the first ball of the 35th over.
• Just 10 days ago on March 2, 1996 Sri Lanka had handed India 6 wicket defeat again in front of the home crowd in Feroz Shah Kotla. India had scored a respectable 271 but Sri Lanka started its innings with 42 runs off their first 3 overs. Sri Lanka won the match with 8 balls remaining.
The Good Stats:
• India defeated Sri Lanka in two consecutive World Cups in 1999 and 2003 after the humiliating semi-final defeat in 1996 World Cup at the Eden Gardens.
• India defeated the Lankans in 1999 group match by 157 runs at the County Ground, Taunton in England. Saurabh Ganguly hit a whirlwind 183 off 158 balls which included 7 sixes. Even Rahul Dravid hit 129 ball 145. India put a total of 374 in 50 overs. Lankans were all out at 216 in 42.3 overs.
• The 1999 Sri Lankan team had the same 8 players who played in 1996 semi-final clash led by the same captain Arjuna Ranatunga. All the stars of 1996 Sri Lankan team namely Jayasuria, Murlidharan, Arvinda de Silva and Chaminda Vaas were there.
• India again defeated the Sri Lankans in 2003, this time by a bigger margin of 183 runs in the Super Six match played at New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa. India put a total of 292 with Tendulkar scoring 97 and Sehwag 66. The Lankans were all out at a measly 109 in 23 overs. Ashish Nehra and Jawagal Srinath took 4 wickets each.
Despite the above stats, the fingers will remain crossed. Lankans are not underdogs; Indians are not dominating cricket like Australia and West Indies did once. As Harsha Bhogle wrote on his blog, “The two best teams in the tournament, and by no coincidence led by the two finest captains, will contest the final. Nothing can be better for what has been an outstanding event…. Now it has a dream final.”
Over to you. Cheer for India tomorrow!!!
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