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Cricket Match Predictions: When a Sri Lankan team sans Test status beat India at Prudential World Cup 1979

Sunil Gavaskar

In our new feature series - Who would have predicted that? – we are looking back at matches where there were big upsets or extraordinary individual performances that turned matches on their head.


In the June of 1979, eight teams arrived in the UK for the Prudential World Cup. West Indies, India and New Zealand were placed alongside Sri Lanka in Group B.


Quite interestingly, this match was scheduled to be held on June 16, but due to bad weather conditions, it was then played on June 18 - as June 17 was a Sunday and gentlemen don't play (but rest) on Sundays!


This was the time when Sri Lanka, a small island nation, did not punch above its weight regularly. They were up against relatively tough opponents in India. Playing without injured captain Anura Tenekoon, Sri Lanka caused an upset.


Match Summary


Sri Lanka 238/5(60 Overs) - Duleep Mendis64 (57), Sunil Wettimuny67 (120); Mohinder Amarnath3/40 (12), Kapil Dev1/53 (12)


India 191(54.1 Overs) - Anshuman Gaekwad33 (52), Dilip Vengsarkar36 (57); Somachandra De Silva3/29 (11), Tony Opatha3/31 (10.1)


Result - Sri Lanka won by 47 runs


Sri Lanka were off to a good start against an Indian bowling line-up which had greats like Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bishan Bedi, Mohinder Amarnath and Kapil Dev. They added close to 100 runs for the second wicket partnership between Sunil Wettimuny and Roy Dias.


Duleep Mendis then played the match-defining knock of 64 from just 57 deliveries, laced with three sixes, at a strike rate of over 110, which was excellent at that time. This pummelled Sri Lanka to 238/5 from their quota of 60 overs - a pretty decent score.


Mohinder Amarnath was the pick of the bowlers for India with figures of 12-3-40-3.


Fall of wickets: 1-31 (Bandula Warnapura), 2-127 (Sunil Wettimuny), 3-147 (Roy Dias), 4-175 (Ranjan Madugalle), 5-227 (Duleep Mendis)


India started well with a 60-run opening stand between Sunil Gavaskar and Anshuman Gaekwad, but kept losing wickets thereafter. Dilip Vengsarkar (36) and Gundappa Viswanath (22) got going, but just like the openers, they also failed to convert.


Last five Indian batsmen could add just 34 runs as the team was all out for 191.


While all Sri Lankan bowlers bowled well, Somachandra De Silva picked three wickets at an economy of just 2.63. Tony Opatha and Stanley De Silva also shared five wickets between them while being stingy.



 Fall of wickets: 1-60 (Sunil Gavaskar), 2-76 (Anshuman Gaekwad), 3-119 (Gundappa Viswanath), 4-132 (Brijesh Patel), 5-147 (Dilip Vengsarkar), 6-160 (Kapil Dev), 7-162 (Mohinder Amarnath), 8-170 (Karsan Ghavri), 9-185 (Surinder Khanna), 10-191 (Bishan Bedi)


Both India and Sri Lanka failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 1979 Prudential World Cup.




Sri Lanka - Bandula Warnapura, Sunil Wettimuny, Roy Dias, Duleep Mendis, Ranjan Madugalle, Sudath Pasqual, Somachandra De Silva, Sunil Jayasinghe, Tony Opatha, Stanley De Silva, Ranjan Gunatilleke


India - Sunil Gavaskar, Anshuman Gaekwad, Dilip Vengsarkar, Gundappa Viswanath, Brijesh Patel, Kapil Dev, Mohinder Amarnath, Karsan Ghavri, Surinder Khanna, Srinivas Venkataraghavan, Bishan Bedi


Match Details


Match: Sri Lanka v India, 9th Match, 1979 Prudential World Cup

Date: Jun 16-18 1979

Toss: India won the toss and opt to bowl 

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester

Umpires: Ken Palmer, Alan Whitehead


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