HomeWorld Cup FlashbackWorld Cup Flashback: 2003 Final

World Cup Flashback: 2003 Final

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In 2003, the Cricket World Cup moved to Africa for the first time. The rainbow nation was all excited to deliver a dashing World Cup leaving behind the heartbreak of Edgbaston semi-final four years back.
Along with South Africa matches were hosted in Zimbabwe and Kenya also.

The Show Begins

It was a 14-team event and along with the 10 test playing nations, there were also four Associate nations.
Canada made a return to World Cup after 24 years, the Netherlands had their second World Cup after 1996, Namibia was the first timer and there was Kenya.
Image result for india vs england nehra 2003
There was some political tension which resulted in England forfeiting their match against Zimbabwe and New Zealand doing the same against Kenya.
Also, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga spotted black armband protesting the death of democracy in their country. The duo retired after World Cup and moved overseas.
There was also a huge controversy as Shane Warne was banned for using unauthorized drugs and medicines just before the tournament started.
Australia topped Group A with six wins out of the six matches. After a shaky start, India finished second with five wins including memorable performance against England (Ashish Nehra 6/23) and Pakistan (Sachin Tendulkar 98).
England’s decision to not tour Zimbabwe proved fatal as they missed out on Super Six spot by just 2 points.
Sri Lanka, Kenya and New Zealand were qualified from Group B. This was the first time, a non-test playing nation moved beyond the group stage of the World Cup.
The hosts South Africa were disastrously eliminated after a D/L method miscalculation resulted in them not going for the winning run in a rain-interrupted match against Sri Lanka.

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The Journey to the Finale

Australia continued their dominance with three more wins in the super six. India also showed fine form as they also had three dominating performances and proved themselves as the second-best team after Australia.
Image result for australia vs sri lanka 2003 semi final adam gilchrist walk
The first semi-final was between Australia and Sri Lanka and Australian pace attack ensured an easy win for them. In difficult conditions, Australia scored 212/7 as Andrew Symonds contributed 91 and Adam Gilchrist famously walked.
During the chase, Sri Lankan batsmen could not handle the pace of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath and were 123/7 when the rain arrived and they lost the match by D/L method.
India beat Kenya comfortably in the second semi-final thanks to a century from the captain Sourav Ganguly and 83 from Sachin Tendulkar.
A score of 270/4 was enough as Zaheer Khan bowled a brilliant spell of three for 14 in 9.2 overs. Ashish Nehra and Sachin Tendulkar also took two wickets each.

The Final

23rd March 2003, India played their second world cup final among huge fan fair at the Wanderers Stadium. Indias were getting ready to welcome the trophy after 28 years. But the opponents were unstoppable. They were too strong to bet stopped by Indians.
Image result for 2003 world cup
Australia batted first and Zaheer Khan’s first over went for 15 which literally set the mood. Australia reached 100 within 14 overs and took control of the match.
Harbhajan Singh provided two key wickets to India as he picked up both the openers with the score on 105 and 125. But those two wickets brought the captain Ricky Ponting and Damien Martin in the crease. Ponting played a superlative innings and none of the Indian bowlers were soared.
His 140 was a brilliant knock which took Australia to 359 in 50 overs and virtually put India out of the contest. Martin also played a good supporting hand of 88.
Indian chase had the worst possible start as an in-form Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed in the first over by Glenn McGrath for just four runs.
Virender Sehwag and captain Ganguly took the score to 58 in 10 overs. Another 88 runs partnership Between Sehwag and Rahul Dravid raised few hopes but the target was always out of reach.
Once Sehwag was gone for 82 any chance of a miracle was diminished. Dravid scored 47 as India finally were all out for 234 and lost the match by 125 runs.
McGrath got three wickets for 52 runs and two wickets were taken by both Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds.

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