2003 Cup: Heartbreak for India as Aus juggernaut rolls on

first_imgCaptain Ricky Ponting led from the front, scoring a breezy century in the final against India, to ensure Australia win their second straight – and third overall – World Cup. But the final in Johannesburg will be remembered as much for Sourav Ganguly’s debatable decision to bowl after winning the toss.The Aussies celebrate their victory over India in the final.Australia thrashed India by a whopping 125 runs in the final and that gave Ganguly’s critics ammunition to fire over his decision.They opined that he opted to bowl not due to any cricketing acumen but for the fear of the sharp Aussie pace attack.To be fair to the India captain, when the captains went out for the toss there was a heavy cloud cover over New Wanderers Stadium and the ground was damp. Even Ponting had said that had he won the toss, he would have bowled first.Boosted by Ponting’s 121- ball unbeaten 140 ( 8x6s, 4x4s), Australia posted a challenging 359 for two wickets in 50 overs, with Damien Martyn being the second highest scorer with an 88 not out (84 balls, 7x4s, 1×6).They were associated in an unbeaten third- wicket partnership of 234 that took the stuffing of Indian attack and ensured that the first prize worth $ 2m was Australia’s.Opener Adam Gilchrist chipped in with a half- century while Harbhajan Singh was the only Indian to take wickets.India began the chase abysmally, losing Sachin Tendulkar for four in the first over bowled by Glenn McGrath and they were never in the hunt for the rest of the innings, despite an 81- ball 82 from Virender Sehwag (10x4s, 3x6s).advertisementRahul Dravid’s was the only other significant contribution as he scored 47 off 57 balls.When India were 103 for three, rains forced players off the field. But the game resumed after 25 minutes and no overs were deducted.The win, a thoroughly deserved one, was Australia’s 17th consecutive ODI win.Tendulkar, who tallied 673, was adjudged the man of the tournament.The contentious Super Six stage, the second of the four stages of the tournament, was retained despite its criticism in the previous tournament. In the semi- finals, Australia defeated Sri Lanka by 48 runs by Duckworth & Lewis method and India thrashed Kenya by 91 runs in a rather easy outing.Barring the ignominy of losing Shane Warne to a positive drug test – he was tested positive for banned diuretics hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride and was banned for one year – before the tournament started, Australia were easily the best team. That Australian juggernaut rolled on despite losing pacer Jason Gillespie too, due to a heel injury, says volumes about their professionalism.Except for the defeat in the final, India had a dream run, especially considering that they were mauled on the tour of New Zealand just preceding the World Cup. The team, however, started tentatively as they struggled against the Netherlands before overcoming them, and gradually gained confidence.The tournament fetched a profit of $ 194 million – a huge increase on the $ 51 million earned in 1999 in England.Highlights of 2003Sachin Tendulkar was the highest run scorer of the tournament with an aggregate of 673 runs, which is most by a batsman in any World Cup so far.Just before the start of the World Cup, Shane Warne was handed a one- year ban for failing a dope test.The Aussie leg-spinner tested positive for banned diuretics hydrochlorothiazide and amiloride.India lost just two matches and both the losses came against Australia, who remained unbeaten throughout the tournament.The tournament saw the last Cup appearance of Jonty Rhodes, Allan Donald, Gary Kirsten, Wasim Akram and Aravinda de Silva.last_img

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