Anil Kumble finishing as the leading wicket-taker was not surprising, but finishing with most catches astonished even his biggest fans © Getty Images
Anil Kumble finishing as the leading wicket-taker was not surprising, but finishing with most catches astonished even his biggest fans © Getty Images

Willis World Cup 1996 was dominated by leg-spinners, with Shane Warne, Anil Kumble, and Paul Strang all making their marks. Sri Lanka’s phalanx of slow off-spinners (Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Dharmasena, and Aravinda de Silva, with the left-arm spin of Sanath Jayasuriya) prevailed over others, while fast men (Waqar Younis or Allan Donald), accurate meanies (Curtly Ambrose) and those with the ability to move the ball around under lights (Damien Fleming and Chaminda Vaas) thrived.

Having said that, World Cup 1996 was the edition that took quick hitting to the next level; Sri Lanka, led by Jayasuriya at the top, petrified the bowlers, while Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, already hailed as all-time greats, made the most of the conditions. Other class acts like Mark Waugh (who became the first to score three hundreds in a single World Cup) and Saeed Anwar stamped their authorities as well.

Batting records: Though Mark Waugh scored three hundreds, the tournament was dominated by Tendulkar (who scored 523), who became the first batsman to reach the 500-mark in a single edition of the World Cup. Five hundred would not be crossed again till 2003, when a new record (a whopping 673) was set by, well, Tendulkar.

Most runs                    
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Sachin Tendulkar 7 7 1 523 609 137 87.17 85.9 2 3
Mark Waugh 7 7 1 484 563 130 80.67 86.0 3 1
Aravinda de Silva 6 6 1 448 416 145 89.60 107.7 2 2
Gary Kirsten 6 6 1 391 434 188* 78.20 90.1 1 1
Saeed Anwar 6 6 2 329 343 83* 82.25 95.9 3

As in 1987, Arjuna Ranatunga topped the batting averages. While his achievements were overshadowed by Aravinda and Jayasuriya, he averaged more than Jayasuriya (more than thrice of what Jayasuriya did) and outdid Aravinda in terms of both average and strike rate.

Highest batting averages (150 or more runs)
M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Arjuna Ranatunga 6 6 4 241 210 75* 120.50 114.8 1
Aravinda de Silva 6 6 1 448 416 145 89.60 107.7 2 2
Sachin Tendulkar 7 7 1 523 609 137 87.17 85.9 2 3
Saeed Anwar 6 6 2 329 343 83* 82.25 95.9 3
Mark Waugh 7 7 1 484 563 130 80.67 86.0 3 1

Jayasuriya won the Man of the Series despite scoring only 221 runs at 36.83, and there was a reason for that. Not only did he decide only two matches with his ruthless hitting, but he also instilled fear in the hearts of opposition bowlers: no longer were they safe, even during the first over. The fact that Ranatunga and de Silva occur at Nos. 2 and 3 tells a lot about Sri Lanka’s reasons for success.

Highest strike rates (150 or more runs)            
  M I NO R BF HS Ave SR 100s 50s
Sanath Jayasuriya 6 6 221 168 82 36.83 131.5 2
Arjuna Ranatunga 6 6 4 241 210 75* 120.50 114.8 1
Aravinda de Silva 6 6 1 448 416 145 89.60 107.7 2 2
Brian Lara 6 6 1 269 256 111 53.80 105.1 1 1
Andrew Hudson 4 4 275 271 161 68.75 101.5 1 1

The relatively flatter tracks meant that the century count rose through the roof, reaching a staggering 16. Mark Waugh scored three of these and Aravinda and Tendulkar two each, while Gary Kirsten went past Richards’ 181 to register the highest score in World Cup cricket. His 188 remains the record.

Hundreds
Score Against Venue
Gary Kirsten 188* UAE Rawalpindi
Andrew Hudson 161 Netherlands Rawalpindi
Aravinda de Silva 145 Kenya Kandy
Sachin Tendulkar 137 Sri Lanka Kotla
Mark Waugh 130 Kenya Visakhapatnam
Chris Harris 130 Australia Chepauk
Sachin Tendulkar 127* Kenya Cuttack
Mark Waugh 126 India Wankhede
Aamer Sohail 111 South Africa Karachi
Brian Lara 111 South Africa Karachi
Mark Waugh 110 New Zealand Chepauk
Aravinda de Silva 107* Australia Lahore
Vinod Kambli 106 Zimbabwe Green Park
Graeme Hick 104* Netherlands Peshawar
Ricky Ponting 102 West Indies Jaipur
Nathan Astle 101 England Motera

Bowling records: Six bowlers managed to take 12 or more wickets, of whom four were spinners (and three leg-spinners). Kumble led the way with 15, while Waqar came second with 13.

Most wickets                
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Anil Kumble 416 281 15 3/28 18.73 27.7 4.05
Waqar Younis 324 253 13 4/26 19.46 24.9 4.69
Paul Strang 253 192 12 5/21 16.00 21.1 4.55 1
Roger Harper 348 219 12 4/47 18.25 29.0 3.78
Damien Fleming 272 221 12 5/36 18.42 22.7 4.88 1
Shane Warne 411 263 12 4/34 21.92 34.3 3.84

Despite the presence of Kumble and Warne, Strang led the averages chart. One must remember that he did not get to play Zimbabwe, which made his performance even more incredible. Ambrose’s brilliance put him at second.

Best averages (10 or more wickets)        
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Paul Strang 253 192 12 5/21 16.00 21.1 4.55 1
Curtly Ambrose 339 170 10 3/28 17.00 33.9 3.01
Roger Harper 348 219 12 4/47 18.25 29.0 3.78
Damien Fleming 272 221 12 5/36 18.42 22.7 4.88 1
Anil Kumble 416 281 15 3/28 18.73 27.7 4.05

Strang also led the strike rates chart, and though Fleming came second, Rajab Ali at third was a surprise package. Rajab claimed three three-wicket hauls, the most famous of them during Kenya’s historic win against West Indies at Pune. He also claimed three against Australia.

Best strike rates (10 or more wickets)
B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Paul Strang 253 192 12 5/21 16.00 21.1 4.55 1
Damien Fleming 272 221 12 5/36 18.42 22.7 4.88 1
Rajab Ali 248 190 10 3/17 19.00 24.8 4.60
Waqar Younis 324 253 13 4/26 19.46 24.9 4.69
Anil Kumble 416 281 15 3/28 18.73 27.7 4.05

As expected, Ambrose and Allan Donald ranked quite highly in terms of economy rate, while Bryan Strang and Aasif Karim made surprise entries.

Best economy rates (100 or more balls)      
  B R W BB Ave SR Econ 5WIs
Brian McMillan 258 127 6 3/11 21.17 43.0 2.95
Curtly Ambrose 339 170 10 3/28 17.00 33.9 3.01
Aasif Karim 288 171 4 1/19 42.75 72.0 3.56
Bryan Strang 108 66 3 2/24 22.00 36.0 3.67
Allan Donald 204 126 8 3/21 15.75 25.5 3.71

While 1987 had a solitary fifer and 1992 none, 1996 was certainly an improvement. Fleming became the only one to do it against a Test-playing nation (India); Strang’s haul came against Kenya, while Shaukat Dukanwala, the ex-Baroda off-spinner, claimed five against Netherlands.

Five-wicket hauls      
  Figures Against Venue
Paul Strang 5/21 Kenya Patna
Shaukat Dukanwala 5/29 Netherlands Lahore
Damien Fleming 5/36 India Wankhede

Fielding and wicket-keeping: The usual suspects — Ian Healy, Rashid Latif, Steve Palframan, Jack Russell, and Nayan Mongia — topped the charts, though it was somewhat surprising that Romesh Kaluwitharana did not make it to the top five.

 

Most dismissals as wicket-keeper
M C S D D/M
Ian Healy 7 9 3 12 1.71
Rashid Latif 6 7 2 9 1.50
Steve Palframan 6 8 8 1.33
Jack Russell 6 7 1 8 1.33
Nayan Mongia 7 4 3 7 1.00

The most surprising feat of the World Cup was perhaps Kumble finishing with eight catches — the most in the tournament. Not only did he top the chart, no one else took more than five.

 

Most catches as fielder
  M C C/M
Anil Kumble 7 8 1.14
Alastair Campbell 6 5 0.83
Chris Cairns 6 5 0.83
Sanath Jayasuriya 6 5 0.83
Graham Thorpe 6 5 0.83

Record partnerships: The Waugh twins put up a 207-run stand for the third wicket against Kenya, which remained the best in the tournament for any wicket. Stuart Law and Michael Bevan played out of their skins to add 138 in the semi-final at Mohali, while the seventh-wicket stand of 44 between Hitesh Modi and Thomas Odoyo was instrumental in Kenya’s triumph over West Indies.

 

Highest partnerships
Wicket Runs Batsman 1 Batsman 2 Against Venue
1 186 Gary Kirsten Andrew Hudson Netherlands Rawalpindi
2 138 Shivnarine Chanderpaul Brian Lara South Africa Karachi
3 207 Mark Waugh Steve Waugh Kenya Visakhapatnam
4 168 Lee Germon Chris Harris Australia Chepauk
5 138 Stuart Law Michael Bevan West Indies Mohali
6 80* Saleem Malik Wasim Akram New Zealand Lahore
7 44 Hitesh Modi Thomas Odoyo West Indies Pune
8 62 Dermot Reeve Darren Gough Sri Lanka Faisalabad
9 80* Arshad Laeeq Shaukat Dukanwala South Africa Rawalpindi
10 17 Craig Matthews Fanie de Villiers England Rawalpindi
Craig Matthews Paul Adams West Indies Karachi

Team aggregates: Sri Lanka broke the One-Day International (ODI) record with a whopping 398 for five against Kenya at Kandy, but there were several other scores in excess of 300. South Africa did it twice, both times at Rawalpindi, against UAE at Netherlands.

 

Highest team scores
Team Score Against Venue
Sri Lanka 398/5 (50) Kenya Kandy
South Africa 328/3 (50) Netherlands Rawalpindi
South Africa 321/2 (50) UAE Rawalpindi
New Zealand 307/8 (50) Netherlands Vadodara
Australia 304/7 (50) Kenya Visakhapatnam

Not only was West Indies’ humiliation against Kenya at Pune an all-time low in their World Cup history, it was also the only two-digit score of the tournament. The next-lowest score by a Test-playing nation was by England, who were blown away by South Africa at Rawalpindi, their favourite hunting ground.

 

Lowest team scores (excludes rain-reduced matches)
Team Score Against Venue
West Indies 93 (35.2) Kenya Pune
Kenya 134 (49.4) Zimbabwe Patna
UAE 136 (48.3) England Peshawar
England 152 (44.3) South Africa Rawalpindi
Zimbabwe 154 (45.3) Australia Nagpur

Biggest margins of victory

By runs: 169

South Africa 321/2 (50) beat UAE 152/8 (50)

By wickets: 9

UAE 109/9 (30) lost to Pakistan 112/1 (18) — 33-over match

By balls to spare: 123

Zimbabwe 151/9 (50) lost to West Indies 155/4 (29.3)

Smallest margins of victory

By runs: 5

Australia 207/8 (50) beat West Indies 202 (49.3)

By wickets: 4

Australia 229/6 (50) lost to West Indies 232/6 (48.5)

By balls to spare: 7

Australia 229/6 (50) lost to West Indies 232/6 (48.5)

World Cup Cricket 1996: A history, matches, numbers, trivia, and key players of 6th cricket World Cup