World Cup Countdown: West Indies choke, Australia enter 1996 final
Shane Warne claimed 4/36 in the 1996 World Cup semi-final in Mohali. © Getty

In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World CupCricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the tournament over the years – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 55 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown, we rewind to March 14, 1996 when a stunning collapse from West Indies put Australia into the World Cup final.

At the PCA Stadium in Mohali, Mark Taylor’s Australia met Richie Richardson’s West Indies in the 1996 World Cup semi-final. Taylor won the toss and chose to bat, and Australia found themselves in early trouble.

On a Mohali pitch of uneven bounce and with an outfield on which the ball stopped, West Indies rocked Australia inside the first eight overs by dismissing Mark Waugh (0), Taylor (1), Ricky Ponting (0) and Steve Waugh (3).

But in a stunning comeback from the depths of 15/4, Stuart Law and Michael Bevan got down and dirty and resuscitated the innings to 207/8.

The pair played Courtney Walsh with care and the middle overs saw Law and Bevan milk the bowlers smartly. Both batsmen raised their respective half-centuries before Law (73) was dismissed at 151/5 in the 41st over. (World Cup Countdown: South Africa run into Brian Lara)

Damien Fleming bowls Courtney Walsh to put Australia in the World Cup final.
Damien Fleming bowls Courtney Walsh to put Australia in the World Cup final. © Getty

Bevan fell for a career-best 69 when he cut Roger Harper to point, after which Ian Healy hit his way to 31 off 28 balls. Australia’s 207 was far cry from the total that had looked likely during the first hour of match.

Defending 207, it all looked like going pear-shaped for Australia as West Indies cruised to 165/2 in the 42nd over, needing 63 from the last nine. But then that crafty magician Shane Warne got into the act, plucking three wickets from nowhere in three mesmerising overs. (REWIND: West Indies choke royally against Australia)

West Indies folded spectacularly, losing eight wickets in the final 50 minutes.  Brian Lara fell for 45, Harper and Ottis Gibson failed to fire, Jimmy Adams and Keith Arthurton appeared overawed. Richardson hung on with the last man Walsh until the last over, bowled by Damien Fleming, with West Indies needing six runs.

It wasn’t to be, and West Indies had lost eight wickets for 37 runs in 50 balls. After the match, Taylor candidly stated that West Indies had won 95 per cent of the match.