Winner: Sri Lanka

Singer Akai Cup, 1996/-97

Sri Lanka returned to their World Cup winning form as they claimed their second trophy in 14 visits to Sharjah. One man dominated the competition from start to finish: Aravinda de Silva, who scored 410 runs at 102.50 when no other batsman totalled 200. It was a satisfying return after the disappointment of their last visit, for the Singer Champions Trophy the previous November, when they could not reach the final and De Silva, after scoring 47 in his first game, managed only five in his last three innings.

Pakistan won that November tournament, but this time they were weakened by the absence of Saeed Anwar, suffering from a virus, and Aamir Sohail, banned for making allegations about match-fixing. They lost all their games with Sri Lanka, though they beat Zimbabwe twice.

The Zimbabweans' confidence in this form of the game was growing and they pulled off a surprise win over Sri Lanka, whom they caught off their guard. That meant that, for the second time in 1997, Zimbabwe entered the last qualifying match of a triangular tournament with a chance of reaching the final. In South Africa, two months earlier, India had squeezed them out on net run-rate; this time, Pakistan beat them comprehensively.

Beneficiaries of the tournament were Waqar Younis and Saeed Ahmed, who were awarded $US35,000 each by the Cricketers' Benefit Fund, and Aslam Khokhar, Israr Bhatti and Zulfiqar Ahmed, with $US10,000 each.

Match reports for

1st Match: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, Apr 3, 1997
Report | Scorecard

2nd Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, Apr 4, 1997
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3rd Match: Pakistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, Apr 6, 1997
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4th Match: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, Apr 7, 1997
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5th Match: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, Apr 8, 1997
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6th Match: Pakistan v Zimbabwe at Sharjah, Apr 9, 1997
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Final: Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Sharjah, Apr 11, 1997
Report | Scorecard

© John Wisden & Co