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2nd Semi-Final (D/N), Mohali, March 14, 1996, Wills World Cup
(49.3/50 ov, T:208) 202

Australia won by 5 runs

Player Of The Match
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Full commentary

So that's the end of that, a stunning and frankly baffling contest comes to an end. I'm not sure West Indies will ever quite come to terms with how they lost that. And I cannot imagine that Australia will ever encounter a more tense finale to a World Cup semi-final. So much at stake, and the men in yellow held firm when in mattered.

They march on to Lahore, where the extraordinary Sri Lankans lie in wait for what promises to be another historic occasion. But that's one for another night. From myself, Andrew Miller, Sid Monga, and the rest of the #RetroLive team, thanks for joining us, and goodnight!

Cronje Fan: "What a thrilling semi-final this is! Difficult to imagine this being topped - given the stature of the teams, and the occasion. "

Lehar Jain: "I think the tie rule should be scrapped as it can be harsh on the losing team. Instead, they should bring something like 1 over eliminator to get the result in case of a tie."


And finally, the Man of the Match. A trophy will be presented by the Governor of the Punjab, and a cheque for £2000 from the director of Wills. And unsurprisingly, for his alchemic tendencies in the tight final throes of the contest, the award goes to Shane Warne.

"I don't think I was too calm out there, but I got a bit lucky, the ball went where I wanted it to go, and we pulled off a good victory. I got a couple of flippers on line for the first time this tournament, so I was pretty happy with them. It was a little bit slow, one would go through and the next would stop so that helps you. You just have to keep maintaining your line and length and keep hitting the wicket."

What were the discussions in your final over, asks Chappelli. "I dunno, I can't remember!" comes the enlightening response. No tricks of the trade being revealed on his watch …


Now then, he comes Mark Taylor, who might be a touch cheerier. He doesn't need a cheque to live his team's spirits.

"It was a great game, West Indies probably should have won it, they won 95% of the game, and we won the last 5%. It was very tense, semi-final of the World Cup and behind all day, but the guys hung in there to their credit, Warnie, and especially Glenn McGrath, who I think got it all started with his spell when he came back on after about 30 overs. That gave us a sniff and Warnie capped it all off with four wickets.

"I thought we fielded a lot better today, it always goes hand in hand when you bowl better. I thought we bowled a lot better today but we batted poorly, and we've got to hope we get it all right for the final."


Thanks Sid ... well cripes. What unbelievable drama that was.

Ian Chappell has the mic to conduct the presentations, and first up, he calls Richie Richardson to the podium to accept a runners-up cheque for £5000 - scant consolation - and to attempt to explain the extraordinary meltdown we've just witnessed. In fact, I'm not sure they can find the cheque in the melee, which seems oddly apt.

"Richie, I guess there's only one question, mate," asks Chappelli. "How. How did you lose it from there?"

"Well, it's unbelievable really. We had them 15 for 4, we relaxed a little bit, they got a very good total but I'm just really disappointed. We should have really won this match. Even though they got away and got 208 but we should have got those runs.

A bit of panic? "Yeah probably so, I was telling the guys, hit it straight, and if it's off-line you go with the swing, but it's not easy, really, in those situations, and the Australians bowled really well."

Aha, they've found the cheque at last. Though they will probably lose it again, just as they managed to lose this game twice.


All the Australian squad is on the field. There is no end to their joy. Richardson cuts a lonely distraught figure as he walks off into the night. West Indies had this game won three times over, but it was just one of those nights where they didn't believe they could win. The last eight wickets have gone for 37 runs. They kept sending big hitters in when they needed four an over. Australia saw that as a sign West Indies were not looking to work hard for this win. They made them work hard, and it has come off for them. Richardson himself dug the team the biggest hole by swinging for the fences; and as he kept missing, the dots kept piling and the belief kept evaporating. Try wiping those smiles off the Aussies' faces. To make sense of all this and to bring you what the captains have to say, I hand over to Andrew Miller

Fleming to Walsh, OUT

it's all over. What a beauty from Fleming. He has hit the top of the stumps, which is what you need to do with tailenders. Richardson is left stranded at the non-striker's end. This is a wicked offcutter. Pitches outside off, turns back in, and beats an expansive drive from Walsh. Might have been better off with a lower back lift. That is an atrocious shot under the circumstances. It doesn't matter now. Australia have won a game that was lost long ago. They just refused to accept defeat

Courtney Walsh b Fleming 0 (1b 0x4 0x6 1m) SR: 0

Last man Courtney Walsh in. Richie Richardson could end up losing this match from here on without having a say. Walsh needs to get him a single somehow. Australia will crowd Walsh. If Walsh gets a single off the next two balls somehow, it is down to Richardson to hit a boundary. Can he? Can he? Or can he get an outside edge for four? Walsh will be the next captain the result tonight notwithstanding. Can he give Richardson a lease of one more night as captain? More importantly, can he give West Indies a shot at winning the World Cup?

Fleming to Richardson, OUT

seems like a slower ball outside off, and Richardson is taking the single off the inside edge. I would have expected Richardson to not go for a single leave alone a tight one. This has gone only slightly to the left of Healy, and they have set off. His underarm flick has even hit the stumps directly, and we are going to the third umpire. And despite his long strides and levers, Ambrose is caught slightly short of his crease. How do you beat a team that refuses to go down? Australia are just not ready to lose this game

Curtly Ambrose run out (†Healy) 2 (2b 0x4 0x6 4m) SR: 100

They knock their gloves, do Richardson and Ambrose. All of a sudden it is a run a ball to qualify. One more boundary, and it is all over. What is Fleming thinking now? He has to get that yorker going. Taylor, from extra cover, has a chat with him. Now Taylor goes back to his mark. Fleming is ready. That margin of error seems minuscule now

Fleming to Richardson, FOUR runs

Richardson, though, is not looking for the singles. He has pulled - and I kid you not - almost a full ball. Last over he did that to a length ball. This one is even fuller, but he hangs back, and the bat comes through at an extraordinary. He is playing for a final spot, he is playing to add one more night to his captaincy, one more night to his career perhaps, and bygawd he is not going down without a fight

West Indies need 10 to win this off the last over. They need only nine to qualify for the final. The problem is, Richardson has to do it all by himself. Ambrose and Walsh are not going to be too much of a help other than perhaps taking the odd single. They have lost their last six wickets for 32 runs. What a cruise this was. What a climb this is. Australia have them where they want them. Fleming will look to get Richardson off strike here, and then look to take wickets or get dots in

end of over 494 runs • 1 wicket
WI: 198/8CRR: 4.04 RRR: 10.00
Richie Richardson45 (81b 3x4)
Curtly Ambrose2 (2b)
Shane Warne 9-0-36-4
Damien Fleming 8-0-44-1
Warne to Richardson, 1 run

slightly short, he goes back to cut, there is a boundary rider there. So they get just the single

What does Richardson do now? Does he look for a single and take on 10 (effectively 9) off the last over? Does he go for a boundary here because they might want to deny him the single?

Taylor, Steve Waugh and Warne have a chat, No easy boundary on offer. They seem to trust Fleming in the last over

Warne to Ambrose, 1 run

shimmies down, beaten in the flight, but he still gets an inside edge onto his pad. That gives them the single they need

Warne to Richardson, 1 run

stays back, mis-hits this to the right of extra cover, takes the single

"I think the tie rule should be scrapped as it can be harsh on the losing team. Instead, they should bring something like 1 over eliminator to get the result in case of a tie." Lehar Jain, don't tell me you will count the number of boundaries if the eliminator also ends up with teams tied

Warne to Ambrose, 1 run

gets a loopy full toss, drives this to long-off. He has done his job here

Oh the tall Curtly Ambrose comes in. He needs to hang in for the sake of his captain, for the sake of all the hard work he himself did with the ball earlier in the day

Warne to Bishop, OUT

Warne stands with arms aloft in the middle of the pitch. He feels like the king of the world right now. After the big ripped legbreak comes the flipper, and Umpire Venkat wastes no time in shooting the index finger up. It hits his pad way before the bat comes down. They are not watching him out of his hand. Trapped in front. Now they have only Ambrose and Walsh to go

Ian Bishop lbw b Warne 3 (3b 0x4 0x6 2m) SR: 100
Warne to Bishop, no run

don't think Bishop knows what is happening here. Warne has ripped a legbreak across him. He is squared up, and it has missed both the edge and the off stump

Now it is just 14 off two overs. Or 13 to tie and progress to the final. West Indies will take 13. They need to bat sensibly here. What can Warne draw from them here, though? What an over coming up. He needs to either take wickets or not concede more than three here. He has Bishop on strike

end of over 4811 runs • 1 wicket
WI: 194/7CRR: 4.04 RRR: 7.00
Richie Richardson43 (79b 3x4)
Ian Bishop3 (1b)
Damien Fleming 8-0-44-1
Shane Warne 8-0-32-3
Fleming to Richardson, FOUR runs

Richardson is not going down without a fight. He finally connects one, and boy when he connects them he hits the skin off the ball. He has stayed rooted on the back foot all innings and kept swinging. Fleming makes the mistake of bowling it short, and Richardson smokes a pull shot square on the leg side. The fielder on the fence has no chance

At least that brings Richardson on strike

Fleming to Bishop, 3 runs

lovely shot from Bishop. Why couldn't they do more of this sooner? Low full toss, swinging in, just timed it in front of cover. All along the ground, goes scorching over this outfield, and Ponting runs to his right and puts in a big diving save. Has he managed to keep it in with the dive or is his body touching the rope and the ball at the same time? Hard to tell from the replays, and they have given the benefit of the doubt to the fielder

And is that the end of an utter horror story of a World Cup for Arthurton? Five innings, three ducks, two runs. In comes Ian Bishop. West Indies will do well to know they don't need all of 21. Even a tie will do for them because they won the league match against Australia

Fleming to Arthurton, OUT

Australia are favourites now. Richardson has no specialist batting allies left. Arthurton backs away - this is the first time he is facing Fleming tonight - to try to swipe him over midwicket. All he manages, though, is an outside edge through to Healy

Keith Arthurton c †Healy b Fleming 0 (4b 0x4 0x6 5m) SR: 0
Fleming to Richardson, 1 leg bye

another big swing. Nearly swings himself off his feet. All for a single off the bottom edge. Or is it just a leg-bye?

Fleming to Richardson, 1 wide

slower ball, Richardson winds up, but it is wide outside off, and called wide too. A harsh call. This is an offcutter that has come back, and Richardson has given up the ghost because he has backed away even before the ball is released. Fleming not happy with the call

Fleming to Richardson, 2 runs

full and wide, he gets the width, he slices it to third man, Richardson takes on the second, and an ordinary throw lets him get back. This is a risky second. Warne will be frustrated he fumbled and let them come back

Fleming to Richardson, no run

starts off with a length ball. Richardson thinks this is the ball, has an almighty go at it, but connects with thin air

Australia have to go to Fleming now. McGrath has done his job, but does the youngster have the calmness now to push on? West Indies need 25 off three overs. How did it get to this point? Is this it for Richardson? Not if he has a thing or two to say about it

end of over 471 run • 1 wicket
WI: 183/6CRR: 3.89 RRR: 8.33
Keith Arthurton0 (3b)
Richie Richardson37 (75b 2x4)
Shane Warne 8-0-32-3
Glenn McGrath 10-2-30-2
Warne to Arthurton, no run

quick shortish legbreak, kept out by Arthurton but that is a great over. Just one run and a wicket

The field relaxes. Australia are happy to give Arthurton the single

Warne to Arthurton, no run

flighted, straight again, pushed towards short midwicket. What an over

Warne to Arthurton, no run

nearly another lbw. Warne has been on fire here. Every ball hitting the stumps. Arthurton caught back to a flipper, looking to pull done in completely, saved by a bottom edge

Keith Arthurton in his white hat comes out to bat. Is there someone in this long West Indies batting line-up who can keep their head?

Warne to Adams, OUT

oh a desperate desperate shot, and Warne is accurate enough to capitalise. He is shaping up to sweep, but realises this is full and fast, so he ends up playing across the line without getting down on a knee. On to him before he realises, and he is trapped right in front. Hit on the toe. Australia believe some more

Jimmy Adams lbw b Warne 2 (11b 0x4 0x6 10m) SR: 18.18
Warne to Richardson, 1 run

flat legbreak again, Richardson goes back to cut, but he can't pierce the gap between point and cover-point. Mark Waugh's dive has saved three runs here

Cover, long-off, long-on, midwicket and fine leg are the men back. Square on the off side is where Richardson wants to go the moment he gets the length to do so

Warne to Richardson, no run

looks to late-cut a length-ball legbreak, and is beaten outside off. This one stays low. Australia believe a little more. West Indies doubt a little more

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