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When Swapping Paul Adams With Allan Donald Proved Costly

This article talks about the 1996  World Cup Quarterfinals When Swapping Paul Adams With Allan Donald Proved Costly For South Africa

Last updated: 11.03.2019
Brian Lara outplayed England with his Masterclass in 1996 World Cup

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Lara’s World Cup Masterclass

On 11th March 1996, South Africa and West Indies faced each other for a spot in the Cricket World Cup semi-final. South Africa had a wonderful tournament winning all their five matches in the group stage. Overall they were in a ten-match winning streak coming to this game. West Indies had a mixed tournament. They started with beating Zimbabwe, then were beaten by India, forfeited their match against Sri Lanka and lost to Kenya in one of the biggest upsets in the World Cup’s history. Requiring a win to qualify the knock out stage they beat Australia and qualified as the fourth team from their group and hence met South Africa in the Quarterfinal.

South African think tank of Bob Woolmer and Hansie Cronje decided to use spin as a primary weapon against the West Indians in Karachi. Pat Symcox was their regular spinner with Paul Adams in the reserve. In this match, they decided to play both. To include Adams in their line up they had to drop one of their fast bowlers and they shocked the cricketing world by retaining Shaun Pollock, Brian McMillan, and Craig Matthews and dropping Allan Donald!


West Indies had a good start and added 42 in the first wicket. Brian Lara came at number three and looked in complete control. He hit all the pacers and spinners alike and did not let anyone settle. He was particularly severe on Symcox and hit him for 22 runs in the 28th over of the match. It was a masterful inning and in the absence of Donald, no South African bowler could stop the ‘Prince of Trinidad’ on that day. Lara got his 100 and except Chandrapaul in the top, there was not much support from the lower order. But the damage has been done. West Indies ended with 264 for 8. Adams even did not finish his quota. In the 50th over he conceded 16 runs and in total the spinners bowled 18 overs for 109 runs and four wickets which all came during the slog overs.

Although West Indies had only one spinner in Roger Harper and two part-timers in Jimmy Adams and Keith Arthurton they bowled well as a pack and never let South Africa went away with the match. There were good innings from Hudson, Cullinan, and Cronje but at 196 for four, they lost three wickets in one Roger Harper over and never recovered. West Indies won the match by 19 runs. The spinners combined to bowl 26 overs for 129 runs and 8 wickets. Harper got four and Adamas got three.

It was a memorable win for West Indies and for South Africa it was a strategy which backfired.

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