2003 Cricket World Cup Final
|Event||2003 ICC Cricket World Cup|
|Date||23 March 2003|
|Venue||Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa|
|Player of the Match||Ricky Ponting|
|Player of the Tournament||Sachin Tendulkar|
|Umpires||Steve Bucknor and David Shepherd|
The final of the 2003 Cricket World Cup was played between Australia and India on 23 March 2003 at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa. Australia qualified for the finals after defeating Sri Lanka by 48 runs in the first semi-final, while India beat Kenya by 91 runs to meet Australia in the final. After winning the toss, India captain Sourav Ganguly elected to field first. Australia captain Ricky Ponting (140*) and Damien Martyn (88*) made a partnership of 234 runs in the Australian total of 359 runs. India lost wickets in regular intervals to end up losing all the 10 wickets at the end of 39.2 overs scoring 234 runs. Australia won the match—defeating India by 125 runs—to lift their third World Cup trophy and second in succession. Ponting was adjudged "Man of the match", while the tournament's leading run-scorer Sachin Tendulkar (India) was awarded the "Man of the Series".
Route to the final
Australia and India, both were in "Pool A" of the competition. Australia won all its group matches comprehensively except for the match against England, where it had to recover from 135 for 8 to reach the target of 205 runs. In another match against Pakistan, they collapsed to 86 for four before Andrew Symonds' 125-ball 143 took them to a score of 310. Meanwhile, India had a "shaky" start to the tournament. In their opening match, against Netherlands, they were bowled out for 204 runs. Sachin Tendulkar scored India's only half-century. In reply, Indian bowlers Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble took four wickets each to dismiss Netherlands for 136 runs. Despite winning the game, their batting received severe criticism as they were dismissed before the completion of 50 overs. Following that, in their next match against Australia, they were dismissed for 125 runs and lost the match by eight wickets. This led to the angered fans burning the effigies of Indian players back in home. The residences of Mohammad Kaif and Rahul Dravid were vandalised. Following the incident, Tendulkar issued a press statement requesting the fans to maintain "calm and patience". India won their next set of games against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Namibia and England. Australia, India and Zimbabwe finished the group as the top three teams and qualified for the "Super Sixes" from Pool A. In Pool B, Sri Lanka, Kenya and New Zealand qualified for the next stage.
In the first match of the Super Sixes, Australia played against Sri Lanka. Batting first Australia made 319 for 5. Ponting and Gilchrist scored 114 not out and 99 respectively. Sri Lanka in reply, managed 223 runs in 47.4 overs. Aravinda de Silva top-scored with 92 while Brett Lee took three wickets for Australia. India faced Kenya in their first match. Kenya after winning the toss, made 225 for 6 in the first innings. India lost three wickets for 24 runs when Dravid joined with Sourav Ganguly. The two added 84 runs before Dravid's dismissal leaving the score at 108 runs for the loss of four wickets. Ganguly the partnered with Yuvraj Singh and the pair took India to victory in 47.5 overs. They both made 107 and 58 respectively. In the next game against Sri Lanka, India won by a huge margin of 183 runs. Australia played New Zealand in their next match. Shane Bond's spell of six wickets for 23 runs, reduced Australia to 84 for 7. However, Michael Bevan and Andrew Bichel took the total to 208 runs. New Zealand in reply, were bowled out for 112 runs. Lee claimed five wickets for 42 runs as Australia won the match by 96 runs. In their final match of the stage, India played against New Zealand. After winning the toss, India elected to bowl first. New Zealand were dismissed for 146 runs. Zaheer Khan took a career-best figures of 4 wickets for 42 runs. Though India lost three wickets for 21 runs, the 129-run partnership between Dravid and Kaif enabled a seven-wicket win for them. The match marked the seventh consecutive win for India in the tournament. Australia won their final game, against Kenya by five wickets after the latter was bowled out for 174 runs.
The first semi-final was played between Australia and Sri Lanka on 18 March at St. George's Park, Port Elizabeth. Australia after winning the toss opted to bat first. They managed 212 runs losing 7 wickets at the end of 50 overs. Symonds top-scored for Australia with 91 not out, while Chaminda Vaas picked up 3 wickets for 34 runs. With 213 runs needed for victory, Sri Lanka lost both the openers when the play was interrupted by rain. The target was revised to 172 runs from 38.1 overs using the Duckworth–Lewis method. Sri Lanka in return managed to score only 123 runs in the allotted overs. Kumar Sangakkara and Vaas made 47 runs together for the eighth wicket, the highest of the innings. Australia thus progressed through the final.
18 March 2003
212/7 (50 overs)
123/7 (38.1 overs)
The second semi-final was played between India and Kenya on 20 March 2003 at Kingsmead, Durban. Kenya became the first non-Test team to play in a World Cup Semi-final. India after winning the toss made 270 runs for 4 wickets. Captain Ganguly, and Tendulkar made 111 not out and 83 respectively. Kenya in reply, managed 179 runs losing all the 10 wickets in 46.2 overs. Steve Tikolo, Ganguly's counterpart, top-scored with 56 runs. India's Zaheer Khan returned with a bowling figures of 3 wickets for 14 runs. Ganguly was adjudged the Man of the match.
20 March 2003
270/4 (50 overs)
179 (46.2 overs)
Having won won 15 out of their 18 ODIs prior to the start of the tournament, defending champions Australia were called the "favourites" to win the title. Apart form the 1999 tournament, they had won the title in 1987 too. India had once won the competition, in 1983. Prior to the World Cup, India lost the home series against West Indies and one against New Zealand heavily.
The final was played on 23 March 2003 at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. Australia had progressed to the final without losing a match in the tournament, while India's only defeat was the eight-wicket loss against the former in the group stage. Ganguly after winning the toss elected to field first. India went with seven batsmen and excluded Kumble from the playing XI. Zaheer Khan opened the bowling for India along with Srinath. The Australian openers started scoring aggressively right from the beginning of the innings as Khan conceded 15 runs in the first over. Gilchrist in particular was hitting both Khan and Srinath for plenty of runs. As soon as he reached his 50 (40 balls), Ganguly brought in the spinners a little unusually in the tenth over. Gilchrist slowed down his scoring rate as the innings progressed. In the fourteenth over Harbhajan Singh was brought back into the attack. With just two fielders outside the circle, Gilchrist tried hitting him through mid-wicket, but was beaten by the extra-bounce and was caught in the deep by Virender Sehwag. Gilchrist (57 off 48 balls) along with Matthew Hayden scored 105 runs for the first wicket. Hayden soon departed after making 37 runs off 54 balls, dismissed by Harbhajan, leaving the score at 125 runs for 2 wickets in the twentieth over. Captain Ricky Ponting was accompanied by Damien Martyn after Hayden's departure. Martyn scored briskly at a run-a-ball rate and completing his half-century in 46 balls. Ponting on the other hand scored at a slow rate reaching his 50 off 74 balls with one four. Ponting after completing his half-century started hitting the Indian bowlers. He started off by hitting Harbhajan Singh for two sixes, and Ashish Nehra for an "one-handed" six. The pair added 100 runs off 109 balls for the third wicket. He completed his century in quick time as his second fifty came off 29 balls. At the end of the innings, Australia finished with 359 runs for 2 wickets; Ponting and Martyn made 140* (121 balls) and 88* (84 balls) respectively. Australia's total and  the 234-run partnership between Ponting and Marytn was a record for them in ODIs then. The Indian bowlers conceded 37 extras. Srinath conceded 87 runs without taking a wicket, in what happened to be his last international game.
India came out to bat with their openers – Tendulkar and Sehwag. The pressure on Tendulkar, the tournament's top-scorer, was too high as the fans had a lot of expectations. Glenn McGrath opened the bowling for Australia. Tendulkar after hitting a boundary in the fourth ball of the over was dismissed in the next delivery when McGrath had him caught and bowled. Ganguly joined Sehwag and the pair scored at a run-a-ball rate before the former was dismissed by Lee in the tenth over. Kaif, the next man, left the same over with the score reading at 59 runs for 3 wickets. The Indians scored steadily from then on until rain interrupted the play when the score was 107 runs for 3 wickets at the end of the seventeenth over. After the play resumed, Ponting brought in their spinners – Brad Hogg and Darren Lehmann. Sehwag was more aggressive against both, hitting Lehmann for three consecutive fours and Hogg for a four and six. Dravid on the other hand played a second fiddle to Sehwag pushing for singles often. Sehwag and Dravid departed in succession after making 82 (off 81 balls) and 47 (off 57 balls) respectively. Following their dismissals, India began to lose wickets at regular intervals. Except for Yuvraj Singh who scored 24 runs, rest of the players got out without scoring much. India lost all the 10 wickets at 39.2 overs and managed to score 234 runs. Australia, winning the match by 125 runs, won their second successive World Cup trophy and third overall. Ponting was given the "Man of the match" honour for his 140 not out.
23 March 2003
359/2 (50 overs)
234 (39.2 overs)
- India won the toss and elected to field.
Ganguly's decision to bowl first was criticized by the media and experts who called it a "backfire". Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan while denouncing Ganguly's decision to bowl first, also criticized his idea of going into the match with an unchanged side. He opined that India should have included Kumble in the side as the ball was "gripping [in] the surface". Meanwhile Ganguly defended his decision saying that the pitch looked favourable to the bowlers, but they failed to utilize it properly. However, he credited the Australian batting and further added they played like "real champions". On the other hand, Ponting said that he would have opted to bat first had they won the toss. His team-mate Symonds, in an interview later, recalled that India's decision to bowl first gave them an impression that they were not "confident enough to take the fight".
Australia was rewarded with a prize money of US$20,00,000, while India received US$800,000. Tendulkar's aggregate of 673 runs in the tournament fetched him the "Man of the series" accolade. Ponting's 140 was placed among the "Best Innings" of the tournament by Rediff. Tendulkar and Hayden were included among the "highest impact World XI", a World Cup team released by the India edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. Srinath, who conceded 87 runs in the match, retired as India's leading wicket-taker a few months after the competition. The match also marked the end of India coach John Wright's contract. However, he was retained and continued to serve the position until 2005.
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His belligerent innings left India hapless in the 2003 final
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