Winner: Sri Lanka

Pepsi Independence Cup, 1996-97

R. Mohan

India staged a quadrangular one-day tournament in the unusually late month of May to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the country's independence. They evaded the worst of the intense summer heat by starting the games in the afternoon and playing on under floodlights, now erected at most of the major grounds thanks to the profits of the World Cup.

But India were not able to celebrate on the field. They won only one match, against New Zealand, before being swept away by their neighbours, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Sri Lanka added another trophy to their growing list, hitting peak form in the finals, where they passed 300 in both games, thanks to the offensive set up by Sanath Jayasuriya and elegantly sustained by Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga.

But Pakistan - whose bowling was severely weakened by the absence of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed, all in England with their counties - would long remember their victory over India in the final group match. Left-hander Saeed Anwar scored the highest innings ever made in a one-day international, plundering 194 off the Indian bowling to beat Viv Richards's 13-year-old record. It was his 12th century in this form of the game; Tendulkar had also reached 12 during the tournament, and only Desmond Haynes, with 17, remained ahead of them. One well-known name was not around: Mohammad Azharuddin, the former Indian captain, was left out of the squad after his poor tour of the Caribbean.

Match reports for

1st Match: New Zealand v Pakistan at Mohali, May 9, 1997
Report | Scorecard

2nd Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Gwalior, May 12, 1997
Report | Scorecard

3rd Match: India v New Zealand at Bangalore, May 14, 1997
Report | Scorecard

4th Match: India v Sri Lanka at Mumbai, May 17, 1997
Report | Scorecard

5th Match: New Zealand v Sri Lanka at Hyderabad (Deccan), May 20, 1997
Report | Scorecard

6th Match: India v Pakistan at Chennai, May 21, 1997
Report | Scorecard

1st Final: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Mohali, May 24, 1997
Report | Scorecard

2nd Final: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Kolkata, May 27, 1997
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co