India would seek World Cup, and also retribution for 1996 loss
Mumbai: When the Indian team will clash with Sri Lanka in the World Cup final tomorrow, it will not just aim to win the second trophy in 28 years.
The side would be also keen to erase the sad memories of the 1996 event at the Eden Gardens, when India had to swallow the humilation of being the only side ever to concede a World Cup semi-final match, against Sri Lanka.
The bitter memoeies of angry mob and an inconsolable Vinod Kambli in tears, still come to mind when one think of that semifinal.
Sri Lanka were awarded the match as it could not be completed due to the unruly behaviour of the crowd, that went out of control because of India`s sudden batting collapse.
Chasing 252 to win, India faltered badly on a vicious turner after Sachin Tendulkar`s dismissal. From a comfortable 98-1, they collapsed to 120-8.
The crowd threw bottles at the ground and set afire a portion of seating area, forcing Match Referee Clive Lloyd to award the game to Sri Lanka by default.
Now, 15-years on, Tendulkar (who made 65 in that game), off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, and Man of the Match Aravinda De`silva (who is now with the Sri Lankan team as the chief selector), are the only three survivors of that match who would have a role to play in tomorrow`s final.
Muralitharan and De`silva would be strategising to ensure an Indian defeat; while Tendulkar, whose dismissal off Sanath Jayasuriya led to India`s collapse, would seek retribution.
Tendulkar, who has 99 hundreds to his name (48 in ODIs, 51 in Tests), will also be chasing his 100th century at his home-ground in a match he has dreamt of winning his entire career.
If Muralitharan, battling fitness concerns, plays tomorrow, it would be a battle between the highest run-scorer of all-time against the highest wicket-taker of all time.
India would also seek to become the first team win World Cup at home.
Sri Lanka won as co-hosts but in Lahore, Pakistan.