Twenty years ago this month, Arjuna Ranatunga got the better of Shane Warne and won a World Cup
March 2, 2016
The only regret Mark Taylor had in his captaincy career was when Ranatunga walked in at 148 for 3. At mid-off, urging his players not to misfield anymore, Taylor forgot he'd wanted to move to first slip for the new batsman as Glenn McGrath began bowling. "… not wanting to stop the game, I stayed where I was," Taylor recalled. "The very first ball caught the edge and flew low, but catchable, through where first slip should have been - and down the fence for four."
Despite (or maybe because of) Arjuna Ranatunga's Aussie-style confrontational attitude, there was no love lost between him and the Australians. Before the final he had said that Warne, soon to undergo his first finger surgery, was no threat to subcontinental batsmen. Before the 1999 World Cup, Warne wrote, "I don't like him, and I'm not in a club of one." Ranatunga responded: "I come from a 2500-year-old culture… you all know where they come from."
A shot from Ranatunga in the 44th over popped straight out of Shane Warne's hands, possibly because of the dew, and raced off to the long-on boundary. A bemused and annoyed-looking Warne, who had taken 4 for 36 in the five-run win in the semi-final against West Indies, threw the next one up - a high full toss. Ranatunga swatted it behind square for six and reportedly stuck his tongue out at Warne.
While Ian Healy had contributed crucial lower-order runs in the narrow semi-final win, he didn't have a great final. Bowled for 2 by Aravinda de Silva, Healy then dropped a catch off de Silva early in the chase. It proved to be the turning point of the game when de Silva scored an unbeaten 107 off 124 balls, the third hundred in a World Cup final. Sri Lanka became the first team to win the World Cup chasing.