I have wondered for 20 years on what basis the great Clive Lloyd as match referee awarded the 1996 Cricket World Cup Semifinal to Sri Lanka 'by default' when crowd violence ended the game with India at around 130/8 chasing 250 odd runs: Duckworth-Lewis Method had not yet been adopted by ICC and in any case the rain rule was not supposed to be applied to matches stopped by any reason other than bad weather (I think) -- so I cannot assume that Sri Lanka was awarded the match due to any calculation that they were statistically 'ahead' and therefore more likely to win.

What was the specific regulation followed by the match referee in awarding the match to Sri Lanka 'by default?'

It seems the officially recorded result of the match (mode of Sri Lanka's victory) has been since changed -- what is the official result now?

1 Answer 1


Rules and regulations are never intended to cover every circumstance - that's why we have match officials to deal with exceptional circumstances like this. Particularly here:

  • It's incredibly clear the Sri Lankans were winning. The Indians needed just about 9 an over for 15 overs with two wickets remaining. That would be an amazing escape in today's game, let alone 20 years ago. For what it's worth, the Duckworth-Lewis par score is around 220, so the Indians were 100 runs short.
  • It was Indian supporters who caused the match to be stopped. Giving any advantage at all to the Indians for the awful behaviour of their fans would be a horrible precedent for the future: "oh we're losing, let's burn some stuff and we might get a replay".
  • Thank you! That is what I thought. To be precise, you seem to be saying that this type of extraordinary circumstance not being specifically covered by the tournament regulations, the match referee was already authorised to take the most appropriate match decision under the circumstances, at his discretion. In that case, might we not conclude that the decision was made here on the basis of the regulation/ doctrine of "match referee's discretion" meant to be used in an extraordinary situation? Jun 22, 2017 at 21:12
  • I'd say so, yes. Some sports go so far as to make this explicit - for example, the volleyball rules include the statement that "[the 1st referee] has the power to decide any matters involving the game, including those not provided for in the rules.", whereas in others such as cricket it's implicit in the fact that somebody needs to make a decision when something outside the rules happens.
    – Philip Kendall
    Jun 22, 2017 at 21:33
  • I appreciate your clarification. I was 16 years old in 1996 and (although Indian myself) a big new fan of Sri Lanka's excitingly solid cricket. I remember feeling slightly uneasy when that semifinal got stopped by crowd violence with SL so close to victory, as in, will this brilliant team get denied now? But 'match referee's discretion' ensured that justice was done, and Sri Lanka gave it full value by winning the World Cup! Jun 22, 2017 at 22:10

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