66 days to go: Mad Max sends India down Fury Road

It was a World Cup classic that silenced the hosts and sent Sri Lanka on their way to a fairytale finish.

Published: 25th March 2019 09:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th May 2019 05:26 PM   |  A+A-

Aravinda de Silva

It was magical how he was able to render fielders redundant | AFP

Online Desk

Transcendence is not so easily achieved. To go where few have ever been or will be, isn't easy but in the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup, Aravinda de Silva managed it.

With 66 days to go before World Cup 2019, let us take a look at a World Cup classic that silenced the hosts and sent Sri Lanka on their way to a fairytale finish.

ALSO READ | 96 days to go: Maiden hosts, maiden World Cup - A Sri Lankan fairytale 

After India won the toss and elected to field, Sri Lanka lost both openers, Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, who swung the game in their favour in the group stage. 

That brought Mad Max to the crease with the game, with a spot in the World Cup final up for grabs. While he had a great tournament so far, in front of a partisan crowd and the pressure firmly on the visitors, it would have been easy to crumble.

Mad Max magic

Instead, he batted as if it was a practice match in his backyard, unperturbed by the gravity of the situation he found himself in. Every shot was crisp, clean and caressed to the exact spots where there were no fielders.

Even as Asanka Gurusinha continued to soak up dot balls, de Silva was galloping at the other end and the run rate was well over 6. Gurusinha's dismissal brought no change in Mad Max's approach.

It was magical how he was able to render fielders redundant. He took just 32 balls to get to his fifty, which already included 11 fours and left both the viewers and the fielders in a trance.

Although he could only add three more fours and was dismissed for 66 on the stroke of the 15th over, the damage was already done even though the score was still only 85/4. 

Sri Lanka got to 251 courtesy of a fifty from Roshan Mahanama and useful cameos from Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tillakaratne on a pitch that was only going to get more difficult to bat on.

And so it proved to be as India's chase, much like the Coldplay song, went "up in flames" following Sachin Tendulkar's dismissal. From 98/1, India crawled their way to 120/8 before crowd trouble meant that the inevitable came early and Sri Lanka won the game.


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