Cricket at the 1998 Commonwealth Games

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Cricket was included in the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Malaysia. This is the only time cricket was played at a Commonwealth Games. Matches were played over 50 overs, and had List A status, although they were not full One Day Internationals. As is normal at the Commonwealth Games, the Caribbean islands that entered participated as separate nations, not as the combined West Indies team. Indeed, the Games were the first occasion on which an Antigua and Barbuda side competed at a senior level. Northern Ireland also entered, this occurrence being noteworthy because Irish cricket is usually represented by an all-island Irish cricket team.

Sixteen teams entered the competition, including seven of the nine then Test-playing nations: West Indies did not enter as mentioned above, while England declined to send a team at all, on the grounds that the September date chosen clashed with other fixtures such as the end of the County Championship.

The strength of the teams that were entered varied somewhat. Strong squads including seasoned Test and ODI players were fielded by the three nations that eventually won medals: Bronze medalists New Zealand with Stephen Fleming and Daniel Vettori, silver medalists Australia with Steve and Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting, Damien Fleming and Darren Lehmann and gold medalists South Africa with Shaun Pollock, Jacques Kallis, Makhaya Ntini, Mark Boucher, and Herschelle Gibbs.[1][2][3] India and Pakistan sent weakened teams as a result of a clash with the 1998 Sahara Cup, although India still named Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman to its Commonwealth team while Pakistan included Shoaib Akhtar. Other notable cricketers who took part in the Commonwealth tournament included Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene, Zimbabwe's Andy Flower and the West Indies' Curtly Ambrose and Richie Richardson, playing for their home country of Antigua and Barbuda under the Commonwealth format.

Competition format[edit]

All matches were played at one of six grounds in Kuala Lumpur. The 16 teams were divided into four groups of four on a seeded basis. Each team played the other three once in matches packed into a single week between 9 September and 15 September, scoring two points for a win, one for a no-result and none for a loss. The top team in each group went forward to the knock-out stages of semi-finals and final (plus a third-place play-off). Teams with equal numbers of points were separated on net run rate, but in the event this rule was only needed to decide the minor placings.


Group stages[edit]

Group A[edit]

Sri Lanka won all three of their games to qualify for the semi-finals. A straightforward seven-wicket victory over Malaysia (who collapsed from 87/3 to 109ao; Sri Lanka reached 112/3) was followed by a 67-run win over Jamaica with Gunawardene hitting 107 (Sri Lanka 211/5; Jamaica 144/8), before a thrilling decider against Zimbabwe. The Africans reached 265/7 (Campbell 82, Goodwin 55), in reply to which Sri Lanka stumbled to 110/5 before Hathurusingha (60) and de Saram (75*) brought them close to victory at 258/6. Streak then took three quick wickets, but the last pair survived to give Sri Lanka a one-wicket win.

In the other Group A games, Zimbabwe (144/4) beat Jamaica (142ao) by six wickets thanks in large measure to an unbeaten 55 from Evans, then piled up 309/9 (Flower 70, Evans 59, Goodwin 53) as they crushed a poor Malaysia side (88ao; Nkala 3–6) by 221 runs. The wooden spoon game saw Malaysia crumble to 83ao thanks to 4–13 from Cunningham and lose by six wickets to Jamaica (87/4).

Group B[edit]

Australia scored three wins out of three in this group. First came a nine wicket demolition of Canada who could muster just 60 all out (Fleming 4–17); the Australians made 61/1 in 14 overs. The best Canadian batsman was "extras". Then followed another Fleming masterclass: he took 5–24 as Antigua and Barbuda were dismissed for 99; Australia made 101/3 in reply. Finally came the heavyweight clash against India, but despite the Indians reducing their opponents to 84/5, 100 from Steve Waugh and 78* from Moody contributed to a total of 255/5 that proved far too much as India stuttered to 109ao.

Antigua and Barbuda put up 164/9 (a recovery from 77/7) in a 41-over match against India, but the rain fell again with India 30/2 in reply and the match was declared a no-result. India were dependent on Khurasiya's 83 against Canada – no other batsman passed 22 – but their 157/9 turned out to be well sufficient as their opponents fell apart, Kumble claiming 4–11 as the Canadians were humiliatingly dismissed for 45. Antigua and Barbuda (256/7) beat Canada (135ao) thanks to a fine all-round display from Lake, who made 54 before retiring hurt and then took 4–17; Walsh also made 51 for the Antiguans.

Group C[edit]

Honours in this group went to South Africa, who started off against Northern Ireland. The Irish had reached 89/5 from 38.1 overs when it rained, and the Duckworth–Lewis method was used to calculate a target of 131 from 38 overs for the South Africans, who won by making 133/6. South Africa then bowled out Bangladesh for a paltry 79 and made 80/5 for a five-wicket victory, before rounding things off against Barbados. The Barbadians set a useful 254/6 (Wallace 74), but 71 from Kallis and 54 from Gibbs saw their opponents through to 257/6 with ten balls remaining.

Barbados (160/6 in 41.3ov) beat Bangladesh (144/7 in 47ov, Shahriar Hossain 70*) under the Duckworth–Lewis method, then destroyed Northern Ireland by 176 runs. Scores of 92 from Wallace, 66 from Griffith and 60 from Campbell contributed to a daunting 296/5 which the Irish never got anywhere near despite Smyth's 58, instead crawling to just 120/7. However, Northern Ireland came back well to beat Bangladesh by 114 runs: the Irish made a creditable 177 (McCallan 53) before Cooke ran through the Bangladeshi order, taking 5–35 as they were dismissed for 63.

Group D[edit]

One-day specialists New Zealand won all their matches in Group D, beginning with a comfortable five-wicket win over Kenya (Kenya 144/8; New Zealand 145/5) before an even more straightforward success against Scotland. The New Zealanders amassed 278/6 (Fleming 102, Parore 87), then Harris took 4–25 as Scotland could manage only 101 all out. Finally the Kiwis won the crunch match against Pakistan by 81 runs: New Zealand's 215/8 was boosted by 66 from Fleming despite Shoaib Akhtar's 4–47, but only three Pakistanis (and Extras) reached double figures as they lost their last six wickets for 21 runs, being bowled out for 134 to slide to an 81-run defeat.

Pakistan had earlier been frustrated by rain against Scotland; they had scored 201/5 from their 50 overs (Akhtar Sarfraz 66*) and had reduced the Scots to 31/3 when the weather intervened. The Pakistanis did beat Kenya, however: Odoyo's 4–39 had restricted them to 189/8, but Arshad Khan's 4–14 and Javed Qadeer's five catches behind the stumps helped Pakistan to a 129-run win as they dismissed the Africans for only 60. Odumbe took 5–38 as Kenya kept Scotland down to 156/8; they then made 157/5 to win with 12.3 overs in hand.

Final group tables[edit]

Teams highlighted in yellow qualified for the semi-finals.

Group A
Pos Team P W L NR RR Pts
1 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 3 3 0 0 1.581 6
2 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 3 2 1 0 1.887 4
3 Jamaica Jamaica 3 1 2 0 −0.122 2
4 Malaysia Malaysia 3 0 3 0 −3.736 0
Group B
Pos Team P W L NR RR Pts
1 Australia Australia 3 3 0 0 3.299 6
2 Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda 3 1 1 1 0.079 3
3 India India 3 1 1 1 −0.340 3
4 Canada Canada 3 0 3 0 −2.558 0
Group C
Pos Team P W L NR RR Pts
1 South Africa South Africa 3 3 0 0 1.443 6
2 Barbados Barbados 3 2 1 0 1.433 4
3 Northern Ireland Northern Ireland 3 1 2 0 −0.943 2
4 Bangladesh Bangladesh 3 0 3 0 −1.649 0
Group D
Pos Team P W L NR RR Pts
1 New Zealand New Zealand 3 3 0 0 1.799 6
2 Pakistan Pakistan 3 1 1 1 0.480 3
3 Kenya Kenya 3 1 2 0 −0.697 2
4 Scotland Scotland 3 0 2 1 −2.401 1

Knockout stage (Medal round)[edit]

Semi-finals Final
16 September – Kuala Lumpur (PKNS)
  South Africa  131/9  
  Sri Lanka  130  
19 September – Kuala Lumpur (PKNS)
      South Africa  184/6
    Australia  183
Third place
17 September – Kuala Lumpur (Tenaga) 18 September – Kuala Lumpur (Tenaga)
  Australia  62/1   Sri Lanka  161
  New Zealand  58     New Zealand  212/7


South Africa v Sri Lanka[edit]

A low-scoring game produced a thrilling climax. Gunawardene's 53 held the Sri Lankan innings together after they had been put in to bat by the South Africans, but Boje's 4–16 kept the Sri Lankans' score down to a distinctly unimpressive 130 as they were bowled out in 44 overs. In reply, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals, with the highest score being opener Rindel's 25. At 96/9 all looked lost, but then Boje (20*) and Dawson (15*) compiled an unbroken stand of 35 for the last wicket to lead their team to 131/9 and a one-wicket victory.

Australia v New Zealand[edit]

A totally one-sided trans-Tasman clash saw New Zealand collapse to a feeble 58 all out after being sent in, with only captain Fleming reaching 20. Australian slow left-armer Brad Young took a hat-trick to finish with an exceptional analysis of 4–2–4–4. In reply, the Australians rattled along at nearly six an over, losing only Mark Waugh as they raced to 62/1 in 10.5 overs with Gilchrist smashing three sixes as he hit 42 from 36 balls.

Bronze Medal Match[edit]

New Zealand recovered from the trauma of their semi-final thrashing to beat Sri Lanka by 51 runs. 56 not out from Harris and 56 from Astle were the main elements of a final total of 212/7 that included three run-outs. The Sri Lankans struggled to 77/7 in their innings, and though they added 53 for the eighth wicket thanks to Perera's 45, it was never likely to be enough and they were bowled out for 161.

18 September
New Zealand 
212/7 (50 overs)
 Sri Lanka
161 (44.4 overs)
Chris Harris 56*
Russel Arnold 1/27 (10 overs)
Suresh Perera 45
Daniel Vettori 3/33 (10 overs)
New Zealand won by 51 runs
Tenaga National Sports Complex, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Umpires: Rudi Koertzen (SA) & Saleem Badar (PAK)
  • Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field.

Gold Medal Match[edit]

Put in by South Africa after losing the toss, the Australians were indebted to captain Steve Waugh's unbeaten 90 as they recovered from 58/4 to post a still below-par 183 all out. Opposing captain Pollock was the chief destroyer for South Africa, with 4–19 from nine tight overs to remove Mark Waugh, Ponting, Gilchrist and Lehmann. South Africa got off to a good start in their reply with an opening partnership of 73 between Rindel (67) and Hudson (36). A burst of wickets from Lehmann (3–14) saw the South Africans wobble as they fell from 158/2 to 183/6, but the Proteas did not lose another wicket and Kallis' watchful 44 from 96 balls saw South Africa through to 184/6 and the gold medal with four overs to spare.

19 September
183 (49.3 overs)
 South Africa
184/6 (46 overs)
Steve Waugh 90* (109)
Shaun Pollock 4/19 (9 overs)
Michael Rindel 67 (106)
Darren Lehmann 3/14 (4 overs)
South Africa won by 4 wickets
Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor Sports Complex, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Umpires: Steve Bucknor (WI) & KT Francis (SL)
  • South Africa won the toss and elected to field.
  • The crowd of 7,532 was the largest recorded crowd for a cricket match in Malaysia.
  • This marked the first championship for South Africa at an ICC global event or a global multi-sport event.

Final standings[edit]

  1. South Africa South Africa
  2. Australia Australia
  3. New Zealand New Zealand
  4. Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
  5. Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
  6. Pakistan Pakistan
  7. Barbados Barbados
  8. Antigua and Barbuda Antigua and Barbuda
  9. India India
  10. Jamaica Jamaica
  11. Kenya Kenya
  12. Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
  13. Scotland Scotland
  14. Bangladesh Bangladesh
  15. Canada Canada
  16. Malaysia Malaysia


Gold medal-winning South African captain Pollock praised the Commonwealth experience while recalling his time at the Games for Cricinfo.[4]

The success of the IPL, is leading to a T20 tournament in the Commonwealth Games being considered.[5] The president of the Commonwealth Games federation wants to bring cricket back into the games, and the Glasgow bid for the 2014 games had indicated that they would include cricket, but it was not confirmed. It is known, however, that the inclusion will occur no sooner than 2022 after the ICC rejected an offer for cricket to feature in the 2018 games on the Gold Coast.[6]

In the meantime, Fleming, Gilchrist, and Steve Waugh, who all won medals in Kuala Lumpur, along with various others including Kumar Sangakkara and Sourav Ganguly, are also pushing for inclusion of cricket in the Olympic Games under a Twenty20 format, beginning with the 2020 Games in Tokyo, as a bid to help globalise cricket.[7]


Event Gold Silver Bronze
Men's cricket South Africa
 South Africa
Adam Bacher
Alan Dawson
Andrew Hudson
Dale Benkenstein
Derek Crookes
Henry Williams
Herschelle Gibbs
Jacques Kallis
Makhaya Ntini
Mark Boucher
Michael Rindel
Nicky Boje
Paul Adams
Shaun Pollock
Steve Elworthy
Adam Gilchrist
Andy Bichel
Brad Young
Brendon Julian
Damien Fleming
Damien Martyn
Glenn McGrath
Darren Lehmann
Gavin Robertson
Mark Waugh
Michael Bevan
Michael Kasprowicz
Ricky Ponting
Steve Waugh
Tom Moody
New Zealand
 New Zealand
Adam Parore
Alex Tait
Chris Drum
Chris Harris
Craig McMillan
Daniel Vettori
Dion Nash
Geoff Allott
Mark Bailey
Matthew Bell
Matt Horne
Nathan Astle
Paul Wiseman
Shayne O'Connor
Stephen Fleming


  1. ^ "Australia Squad". Cricinfo. 1998. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. 
  2. ^ "New Zealand Squad". Cricinfo. 1998. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "South Africa Squad". Cricinfo. 1998. Archived from the original on 23 July 2014. 
  4. ^ The Commonwealth Games Experience by Shaun Pollock ESPN Cricinfo
  5. ^ "Cricket unlikely at 2010 Games". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  6. ^ "Cricket still a chance for future Games". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  7. ^ "Waugh joins Olympic Twenty20 push". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 

External links[edit]