We all have heard about the stories of fairy tales at some point of time in our lives. But do you believe that they ever have any existence with the real life aspects, completely not all? They are the complete illusions actually to give people some amount of excitement and thrill. But I don’t believe like that way, as a cricket fan since the mid 90s era and thanks to god that I was fortunate to witness the last best era ever in the history of cricket way before these overhyped T20l leagues.
On the same thought as I believe these fairy tales do exist in their lives and if not then you might have missed the tournament like World Cup 1996. The tournament was scheduled to take place in the subcontinent for the first-time ever hosted by Sri Lanka (who in the end was the winner after defeating Australia). Apart from Sri Lanka the other two nations India and Pakistan also hosted the tournament in different venues over the course of the 1996 world cup.
It was during the world cup 96, when the former Sri Lanka captain Arjun Ranatunga had experimented his idea of attacking cricket played by their openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana in the fielding restrictions of the first 15 overs. There it was the movie had been very successful over the years in cricket and many captains have followed it for their respective teams.
With this world cup, the golden era of Sri Lanka had begun which had witnessed the players like Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene take Sri Lanka to even great heights. Apart from Sri Lanka, the one cricket side which was unleashed after this world cup were minnows called Kenya. There were three associate teams who made their debut in the world cup 1996 – UAE, Kenya and Netherlands.
Although the major teams were qualified for the knockout round in the end. But the one match in the tournament history of 1996 world cup which is still talked about was the “Kenya Humiliated Two Times Champions West Indies In The Group Game". This victory was very special for minnows called Kenya who had received the ODI status later after this victory of 73-run against West Indies.
Still vivid in the minds of many, Kenya defeating the West Indies was completely surreal at the times when there was hardly an associate nation who could believe in the upsets against best in the business. Over the years in cricket, Kenya was a different side and at last one more time they stunned the world by qualifying for the semi-final in the 2003 world cup as an associate nation.
The leap year 1996 and date was 29th February when the debutants Kenya locked horns with West Indies in the group game at Pune. The two times world champions and the runner ups of 1983 world cup were in the tough times between the boards and players when they have entered the world cup.
Before this game, West Indies had out of his three games only managed to win one game where on the other side, Kenya had lost his first three games and out of the tournament completely. Exactly 25 years ago, When West Indies was almost kicked out of the tournament by Kenya in a low scoring game.
Without any expectations Kenya was playing in the tournament to get to play alongside the greats of the game of various teams. Later in the interaction with Espn the former captain of Kenya Asif Karim recalls the memory of the match against West Indies, It would be good to play against them and hopefully one of us would get Brian Lara's wicket and we could tell our grandsons.
The West Indies Captain Richie Richardson had won the toss and decided to bowl first without any uncertainty about the match. Maybe the result could’ve been different if West Indies had bat first that day. On that note, Kenya had begun their innings with some glorious drives which went for fours. Surviving the early blows, the West Indies have restricted Kenya to 81 runs for the loss of 6 wickets and looked to bowled out before the 100 runs score.
But thanks to lower order kenya batsman and West Indies bowlers who had conceded 37 extras which was the highest score in the kenya scorecard to help them to take the score to 166 runs. Again it was not a heavy task for the team like West Indies who was boosted with the likes of Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
With the start of second innings of West Indies the hopes were the match was all out 25-30 overs for West Indies to register their second victory in the tournament. The mighty champions have reached 18 runs without the loss of any wicket and at this stage it was somewhere believable the West Indies were on the way for victory. But with the addition of 4 runs on the scoreboard what happened was a glimpse of something impossible was about to happen that day.
Both West Indies openers went back to pavilion who were clean bowled with the wickets flying away shockingly. Then walked in Brian Lara to rescue the team from the early hiccups but couldn't make that possible and at the scoreboard of 33 runs was caught by Iqbal the wicket-keeper.
The wicket of Brian Lara was the moment which triggered the collapse for West Indies before they fell like a pack of cards. Only two batsmen from West Indies touched the double digit mark and 17 extras was the third highest runs in the West Indies scorecard. West Indies was all out at the score of 93 runs in just 35.2 overs but eventually they have qualified for the next round after defeating Australia in the last game.
Check out full scorecard here: Scorecard