March 14, 1996 – The great Australian comeback

March 14, 1996 – The great Australian comeback

West Indies needed 47 runs in the final 10 overs with eight wickets in hand for making it to the final.

Shane Warne
Shane Warne of Australia is congratulated by team-mates after taking the wicket of Courtney Brown. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

The 1996 World Cup semi-final between Australia and West Indies was one of those games of uncertainty and an example of why the results are tough to predict until the final ball of the match. Those were days when Australia could rescue themselves out from any situation and hit back at their opponent. The bowlers dominated the first ten and the final ten overs of the game which had an impact towards the result in the thriller at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

Australia elected to bat first in the knockout fixture and were off to one of the worst of starts. Curtly Ambrose used the seam off the pitch to trap Mark Waugh and Ricky Ponting for ducks. Ian Bishop cleaned up Mark Taylor (1) and Steve Waugh (3) to reduce the Aussies to 15/4 by 10th over. At this point, Stuart Law and Michael Bevan scripted a crucial partnership to put their team out of the crisis. The pair added 138 runs for the 5th wicket in about 30 overs. The stand came to an end after Stuart Law got run out for a 105-ball 72.

Bevan also departed for a 110-ball 69 trying to up the ante in the death overs. Ian Healy made a quick 28-ball 31 to push Australia’s total to 207/8 in the 50 overs. West Indies lost Courtney Brown (10) in the 208-run chase before Brian Lara counter-attacked the Aussie bowlers along with Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Lara scored 45 off 45 balls with four boundaries before getting deceived by a slower one from Steve Waugh. Chanderpaul anchored the innings with a 126-ball 80 by putting on 72 runs for the 3rd wicket with their skipper Richie Richardson.

The game that ended Richardson’s career:

Australian Team
Damien Fleming of Australia celebrates with teammates. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

West Indies needed 47 runs in the last 60 balls with eight wickets in hand to enter the final. A tight bowling spell of Glenn McGrath was rewarded with Chanderpaul’s wicket that gave an opening in the game for Australia. Promoting Roger Harper (2) and Ottis Gibson (1) ahead of their specialist batsmen backfired for West Indies as both got out and put pressure on the team. Jimmy Adams was trapped by Shane Warne while Keith Arthurton bagged a duck as the Caribbean team found themselves at seven down for 187.

Warne sent back Ian Bishop (3) as West Indies needed ten runs from the final over with their skipper standing between Australia and a CWC Final. Richardson hit a boundary on the first ball and tried for a risky single on the next delivery which brought an end to Ambrose’s innings as he was found short of the crease. Damien Fleming cleaned up Courtney Walsh on the very next ball to take his side into final. The Windies lost their last eight wickets for just 38 runs to fall short of Australia’s total by five runs.