India might not have fared according to expectations in the 1999 ICC World Cup but the tournament gave the team two future superstars. Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid announced themselves on the global stage and took the tournament by storm.
India started the tournament with back to back losses against South Africa and Zimbabwe and needed to win all their group matches thereafter to hold any chance of moving to the Super Six stage.
After an easy win over Kenya they met defending champions Sri Lanka in a crunch encounter in Taunton exactly 21 years ago. India were put into bat by Arjuna Ranatunga and that is a decision he was going to regret.
After the early loss of opener Sadagopan Ramesh, the duo of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid put the innings back on track. They batted patiently at first, getting the bad balls away to keep a healthy run rate up.
The carnage began in the death overs as Ganguly went for the jugular, hitting big sixes. Rahul Dravid too kept the runs flowing with his elegant shots down the ground as both batsmen brought up their respective centuries.
Dravid would eventually be run out for 145, as the 318-run partnership came to an end. He had hit 17 fours and a six in his 129-ball knock.
Ganguly continued the attack and at one point was poised to break Gary Kirsten’s then highest World Cup score of 188* runs. He would eventually be dismissed for 183 runs off 158 balls. Ganguly hit 17 boundaries and 7 sixes in his knock.
India’s total of 373/6 is its second highest total in ICC World Cup history. Azharuddin’s team won the match easily as a five-wicket haul from Robin Singh helped India dismiss Sri Lanka for 216.
The 318-run partnership between Ganguly and Dravid is the fourth best stand in the history of ODI cricket.