India primed for shock to the system

Published on Mar 18, 2003 08:05 PM IST

World Cup shocks don't come around very often but, when they do, the effect can be seismic.

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HT Image
PTI | ByAgence France-Presse, Durban

World Cup shocks don't come around very often but, when they do, the effect can be seismic.

So India should beware when they face Kenya in Thursday's semi-final in Durban - especially since they've already had first hand experience.

They were on the receiving end of the first ever World Cup shock in 1979 when they faced Sri Lanka at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Like Kenya now, Sri Lanka were then a non-Test playing nation but that didn't prevent them from pulling off a stunning 47-run win.

Due to the infamous Manchester climate, the game took two days to complete but it must have seemed like a lifetime for India as the Lankans, inspired by Sidath Wettimuny's 67, and man of the match Duleep Mendis' 64, made 238-5.

India reached 119-2 but then collapsed to 191 all out.

For their part, Kenya have already knocked over Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe in the 2003 tournament; they've been there, done that in the past as the West Indies found out to their cost in the 1996 tournament in India.

A disorganised and disunited Windies were ripe for the picking when they came up against the Africans in Pune on February 29, 1996, having moped from venue to venue and having started their campaign in controversial circumstances by refusing to play in Colombo.

Kenya struggled to make just 166 off 49.3 overs with top scores from Steve Tikolo (29) and Hitesh Modi (26) - both are due to play Thursday - but even that meagre target was too much for a bickering and ill-disciplined Caribbean side as they were all out for 93.

Maurice Odumbe, another survivor in the 2003 team, did the damage with 3-15 from 10 overs in a defeat which was enough to eventually drive Windies skipper Richie Richardson into despair and retirement.

Mightier shocks have happened since with Zimbabwe stunning Australia in Nottingham in the 1983 finals to win by 13 runs.

Captain Duncan Fletcher, now the England coach, made 69 in his team's 239 for six but despite fifties from Kepler Wessels and Rodney Marsh, the Aussies fell behind the required rate as Fletcher's four for 42 made him man of the match.

India's win by 43 runs over the double champions West Indies in the final at Lord's that year was also a stunner as in two previous tournaments they had managed just one win and that had been in 1975 against East Africa.

They had won one and lost one against the West Indies on the way to the final but had almost lost to Zimbabwe before victories over Australia and England gave them a place in the final.

India could only make 183 with Mohinder Armanath and Madan Lal both taking three wickets to win India's first and, so far, only title.

In 1999, it was India's neighbours Pakistan who came unstuck losing by 62 runs to Bangladesh in Northampton although they recovered to make it to the final.

The match, however, was and still is clouded by allegations of match-fixing. Bangladesh made 223 before Khaled Mahmud took 3-31 as Pakistan crashed to 161 all out.

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