A history of the ICC Cricket World Cup at County Ground Taunton

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 comes to County Ground Taunton on Saturday.

Afghanistan take on New Zealand, and ahead of the game we are looking back to the previous World Cup clashes that have taken place at the home of Somerset County Cricket Club.

England v Sri Lanka (June 11th 1983)

England won by 47 runs

The first time that the Cricket World Cup came to Taunton was in 1983 when England took on Sri Lanka.

England went into the game at a packed venue on the back of a big win over New Zealand in their opening fixture of the tournament whilst Sri Lanka lost their opener against Pakistan. The home nation also boasted two huge local favourites in their line up in the shape of Ian Botham and Vic Marks.

England Captain Bob Willis won the toss and decided to bat, and his side posted a total of 333 for nine from their 60 overs. David Gower top scored with 130 from 120 balls in an innings that included five sixes and 12 fours, which saw him receive the man of the match award on the day. Allan Lamb also impressed with 53 from 51 balls.

Graham Dilley took two early wickets as Sri Lanka found themselves in trouble at 17 for two before half centuries from Duleep Mendis and Guy de Alwis gave the visitors hope. However, local favourite Vic Marks ripped the heart out of the middle order on his way to five for 39 as Sri Lanka were all out for 286 to give England victory by 47 runs.

Whilst Gower and Lamb excelled that day, the expectant Somerset faithful failed to see Ian Botham hit the heights that he so often did for the County.  Somerset’s talisman was run out without troubling the scorers and also finished wicketless much to the surprise of everyone including Gower.

“That was a huge disappointment for the crowd and also Ian that day,” he said. “Ian had a lot of fans down there that day, which is hardly surprising given how he played his cricket. It was a rarity for Taunton to have an international match like that and he was keener than anyone to mark the event with something special. I don’t feel the least bit guilty about steeling his thunder though! It would have been great for him and for all the Somerset fans to see him in full flow, but it just wasn’t to be that day.”

Kenya v Zimbabwe (May 15th 1999)

Zimbabwe won by 5 wickets

Zimbabwe surprised many by reaching the Super Six stage of the Cricket World Cup in 1999, coming incredibly close to booking a spot in the Semi-Final, and they got their campaign off to a winning start against Kenya in Taunton.

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Zimbabwe were well placed after keeping Kenya to 87/4 after 20.4 overs. However, a half-century from Alpesh Vadher helped Kenya reach a respectable total of 229/7 from their 50 overs.

Zimbabwe got off to a solid start in their chase, with openers Neil Johnson (59) and Grant Flower (20) putting on 81 for the first wicket. Runs continued to come with ease, and they reached their target with nine overs and five wickets to spare.

India v Sri Lanka (May 26th 1999)

India won by 157 runs

A Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid masterclass helped India hit the highest total of the Cricket World Cup in 1999 against Sri Lanka in Taunton.

Ganguly and Dravid scored 183 and 145 respectively, hitting Sri Lanka to all parts as India thrashed their neighbours by 157 runs.

Bowling first, Sri Lanka took the early wicket of Sadagoppan Ramesh, before Ganguly and Dravid put on a staggering 318 – the then highest partnership in Cricket World Cup history.

Ganguly finished on 183 from 158 balls and Dravid on 145 from 129 balls as India smashed 373/6 in their 50 overs.

Despite a half-century from Aravinda de Silva and 42 from captain Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka didn’t come close to chasing down India’s mammoth score. Robin Singh claimed a five-for as India bowled Sri Lanka out for just 216.

We spoke to Rahul Dravid at County Ground Taunton last year and discussed that innings:

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09/07/2022 19:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground