On this day in 1996: Brian Lara’s century knocks South Africa out of the World Cup

Brian Lara is considered among the greatest ever players to have featured in the game. He was part of the West Indies squad for more than 17 years and scored 10000-odd runs in both ODI and Test formats. On this day in 1996, i.e. 11 March, Lara smashed a brilliant hundred in the World Cup quarter-final which helped in knocking South Africa out of the tournament.

The whirlwind knock

The West Indies captain Richie Richardson won the toss earlier and decided to bat first in the crucial encounter. West Indies had a pretty decent start as their opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit a fine half-century scoring 56 runs off 93 balls with the help of 4 fours. The most important innings played for them was from Brian Lara who came to bat at number 3 and added 138 runs for the second wicket with Chanderpaul.

Lara slammed 111 runs off only 94 balls and hit 16 fours in his wonderful knock. West Indies posted a challenging total of 264/8 in their 50 overs. For South Africa, Brian McMillan, Pat Symcox and Paul Adams picked two wickets each.

South Africa falter

In response to this total, South Africa were once in a comfortable position having scored 186 runs for the loss of three wickets. However, they soon collapsed to 198/7 and eventually got bundled for 245 runs in 49.3 overs thus losing the match by 19 runs. Roger Harper played a vital part for West Indies in the bowling department as he took four wickets for 47 runs in 10 overs. Lara was awarded player of the match for his magnificent knock.

The West Indies side lost to Australia in the semi-final of the tournament. The Aussie side then lost to Sri Lanka in the final match played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Brian Lara scored 269 runs in this World Cup at an impressive average of 53.80 and strike rate of 105.08.