HomeWorld Cup FlashbackWorld Cup Flashback: 1999 Final

World Cup Flashback: 1999 Final

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The 1999 Cricket World Cup saw the tournament returning to its home and 16 years later England got the opportunity to host the World Cup.
Although they did not have the strongest of teams and most of the youngsters in the country was obsessed about football especially after Manchester United’s dramatic win in the Champions League final over Bayern Munich in May.
Like, 1996 it was also a 12 team affair with Bangladesh and Scotland qualifying for their maiden World Cup appearance. South Africa was one of the strongest teams under Hansie Cronje along with Australia and Pakistan.
Unlike the earlier versions in England this time there were 17 different venues in England where the matches were played. There were four venues outside England including one each in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands.

The Show Begins

South Africa top the Group A as their all-rounder Lance Klusener showed his class with both disciplines and proved himself a valuable asset for them. India despite some indifferent form finished the group in the second position, thanks to the young talents Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. However, their loss to Zimbabwe and South Africa meant they went to super six without any point which eventually impacted them badly. Their loss against Zimbabwe was a shocking result as Henry Olonga took three wickets in the 49th over. Zimbabwe also shocked South Africa and went to Super Six with four points. England was eliminated from the group stage. There was controversy early in the tournament when Cronje was found to use an ear-piece to communicate with the coach Bob Woolmer in the dressing room.
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In Group B, Pakistan topped the group despite a shock defeat against Bangladesh. A loss, which later had the shadow of Match-fixing looming large.
Australia and New Zealand were the other teams to qualify for the Super Six. However, Australia’s deliberate go-slow approach in a chase of 110 against West Indies to ensure West Indies’ NRR was not hit badly was heavily criticized.
Such tactics were designed to eliminate New Zealand as they beat Australia earlier in the group.

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The Journey To The Finale

From Super Six, India and Zimbabwe were eliminated. India could only beat Pakistan in a high-tension match at Old Trafford but lost the other two.
Zimbabwe also lost two of their matches and one was no result. Saqlain Mushtaq became the second bowler to take a hat-trick in the World Cup in Pakistan’s win over Zimbabwe.
Australia qualified by just a whisker as they had a very tough win against South Africa in the last match of the Super Six stage. Herschelle Gibbs and Steve Waugh scored a century for their respective teams, however, the biggest turning point came when in the 31st over an over-eager Gibbs started to celebrate a catch of Waugh before getting complete control of the ball and hence dropped it. Finally, Steve remained unbeaten and that win hurt South Africa in the semi-final.
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Australia and South Africa played arguably the best ever One Day International in their semi-final at Edgbaston. Chasing 213 for a World Cup final spot, South Africans top and middle order were blown away by a rampaging Shane Warne, Klusener took them to a potentially winning position.
With nine required in the last over and the last man Allan Donald for company, Klusener hit first two balls for boundaries but on the 4th ball, in a desperate attempt to take the winnings single, Donald hesitated and was run out.
With the match ending in Tie, the Australians qualified for the Final thanks to their win over South Africa in Super Six. The other semi-final was much more one-sided one as a fiery Shoaib Akhtar spell and a century from Saeed Anwar took Pakistan to their second World Cup final.

The Final

It was expected to be a close match. Both teams were more or less equal and it could be anybody’s match. Pakistan won the toss and as was the norm in case of big finals decided to bat first.
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But the Aussies were unstoppable from the very beginning A brilliant grab by Mark Waugh in the slips to get read of Wajahatullah Wasti set the tone.
Glenn McGrath bowled a superb spell of 9-3-13-2 to peg them back. Pakistan recovered somewhat and reached 77 for the loss of three wickets, but then Shane Warne took control and with all his variations and skill finished with four wickets for 33 runs and his wickets included Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan, Shahid Afridi, and Wasim Akram.
For Pakistan, Ijaz Ahmed was the highest scorer with 22 and their total of 132 is the lowest total in World Cup final till date.
During the chase, Adam Gilchrist smashed his way to a 36-ball 54 as Shoaib conceded 37 runs in his four overs. Australia also lost Ricky Ponting after he scored 24 but by them, Australia had reached 112 and the match was all but over.
Australia completed the chase on the first ball of the 20th over as Darren Lehmann hit the winning runs. It was Australia’s second World Cup win and as Steve Waugh lifted the cup in the Lord’s balcony it effectively started the golden era of success in the World Cup.

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