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2003 Cricket World Cup Final

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2003 ICC Cricket World Cup Final
Event 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup
Australia India
Australia India
359/2 234
50 overs 39.2 overs
Date 23 March 2003
Venue Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
Umpires Steve Bucknor and David Shepherd
Attendance 31,779

The 2003 Cricket World Cup Final was a One Day International (ODI) match played between Australia and India on 23 March 2003 at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa. It marked the culmination of the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the eighth edition of the tournament. It was the first time that these two teams had met at this stage of a World Cup. For the defending champions, Australia, it was their fifth World Cup final, where as for India it was their second appearance after their 1983 victory. Australia won the match by 125 runs to claim the title for the third time.

Both teams had progressed through three stages to reach the final. Australia had won all its previous games, where as India lost a match against the former in the first stage. Australia, led by Ricky Ponting, entered the match as firm favourites, which was watched by a crowd of around 32,000. After winning the toss, India captain Sourav Ganguly decided to field first. The Australian opening pair, Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden, added 105 runs in 14 overs. Ponting (140 not out) and Damien Martyn (88 not out) were involved in a partnership of 234 runs, a then Australian record. The pair took the team's total to 359 runs at the end of the innings. Harbhajan Singh took both of the Australian wickets, conceding 49 runs. In response, India lost their "star batsman", Sachin Tendulkar, at the start of the innings. There was a brief interruption by rain after the 17th over, but no overs were lost. Once play had resumed, India began to lose wickets at regular intervals. Virender Sehwag top-scored for India with a 81-ball 82. India were eventually bowled out for 234 runs in the 40th over. Australia's Glenn McGrath took three wickets for 52 runs, while Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds claimed two wickets each. Ponting was adjudged "Man of the match" for his 140 while India's Sachin Tendulkar, the tournament's leading run-scorer (673 runs), was awarded the "Man of the Series" title.

With this victory Australia registered a record 17 consecutive ODI wins, and became the first team to win three World Cup tournaments. Ganguly's decision to bowl first was criticized by former cricketers and journalists.


The 2003 Cricket World Cup was the eighth World Cup, organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The competition took place between 9 February and 23 March 2003, lasting 43 days. The matches were restricted to 50 overs per side.[a] Co-hosted by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, the World Cup was the first to be played in Africa.[2] The competition had 14 teams, the largest number of participants in a World Cup until then. Apart from the 10 Test-playing teams, four associate teams were qualified to participate in the competition. Kenya, by virtue of its ODI status, automatically qualified for the tournament while Canada, Namibia and Netherlands, the top three teams of the 2001 ICC Trophy, formed the rest.[3]

The structure of the tournament was similar to the 1999 World Cup. The 14 teams were assigned to two different groups of seven each. The top three contestants from each group qualified for the Super Sixes stage,[3] a format which was introduced in the 1999 tournament.[2] The teams carried forward their results in their group stage, where each qualifier from either of the groups played each qualifier of the other group exactly once. The top four teams of the Super Sixes qualified for the semi-finals, and the winners of those matches contested the final. All in all, there were a total of 54 matches played in the tournament.[4]

Having won 15 out of their 18 ODIs prior to the start of the tournament, the defending champions Australia, along with South Africa and Pakistan, were deemed favorites for the semifinals.[5][6] They had previously won the 1987 and 1996 tournaments. On the contrary, India was doubtful as to whether it would qualify for the "Super Sixes" stage. They had won the competition once, in 1983, and lost the ODI series against West Indies at home, and were defeated heavily in their tour of New Zealand.[7][8]

Australia announced its squad for the competition on 31 December 2002. A month later, Shane Watson was ruled out of the tournament following a stress fracture; he was replaced by Ian Harvey.[9] A day before the start of the tournament, Australia's key spinner Shane Warne was found guilty of using a banned diuretic drug during the ODI series which was held prior to the competition in Australia. He was sent home after he was found positive in the drug test, and the Australian Cricket Board banned him from playing cricket for one year.[10][11] Following that, the fast bowler Jason Gillespie was ruled out from the tournament following a tendon injury.[12] Warne and Gillespie were replaced by Nathan Hauritz (on 24 February 2003) and Nathan Bracken (on 5 March 2003), respectively.[13][14]

Route to the final[edit]

Group stage[edit]

India's Sachin Tendulkar (pictured in 2008) was the tournament's top-scorer with 673 runs.

Australia and India were both grouped under "Pool A" of the competition. Australia won all their matches in the group stage. Except for the win against England, where they recovered from 135 for 8 to reach the target of 205 runs, they won all the matches comfortably.[12]

India had a "shaky" start to the tournament.[12] In their opening match, against the Netherlands, they were bowled out for 204 runs before winning the game by 79 runs. Despite winning the game, the team received severe criticism as their batting order collapsed before the completion of 50 overs.[15] In the next match against Australia, they were dismissed for 125 runs and lost the match by eight wickets. This led to angered fans in India burning the effigies of Indian players. Mohammad Kaif's house and Rahul Dravid's car were vandalised. Following the incident, India's Tendulkar issued a press statement requesting the fans to be calm and patient. India won all the remaining games—against Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Namibia and England. India found a new opening pair in Tendulkar and Sehwag in the match against Zimbabwe.

Australia, India and Zimbabwe finished the group as the top three teams and qualified for the "Super Sixes" from Pool A.[7] In "Pool B", Sri Lanka, Kenya and New Zealand qualified for the next stage.[12]

Super Sixes[edit]

In the first match of the "Super Sixes" against Sri Lanka, Australia made 319 runs for five wickets. Ricky Ponting and Adam 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.[16] In the next match against New Zealand, Shane Bond's spell of six wickets for 23 runs reduced Australia to 84 runs for seven wickets. However, Michael Bevan and Andrew Bichel took the total to 208 runs. In reply, New Zealand were bowled out for 112 runs, their lowest total in a World Cup match. Lee claimed five wickets for 42 runs as Australia won the match by 96 runs.[17] Australia won their final game by five wickets after bowling Kenya out for 174 runs.[18]

After losing the toss against Kenya in their first match, India were given a target of 226 runs. Despite an initial collapse, Sourav Ganguly's 107 not out and Yuvraj Singh's 58 not out ensured India's victory.[19] In the next game against Sri Lanka, India made 292 runs . Tendulkar (97) and Sehwag (66) top-scored for the team. India won the match by a margin margin of 183 runs as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 109 runs.[20] In their final match of the stage, India played New Zealand. Zaheer Khan took career-best 4 wickets for 42 runs, and New Zealand were dismissed for 146 runs. India lost three wickets for 21 runs, before Dravid and Kaif added 129 runs and ensured a seven-wicket win. The match marked the seventh consecutive victory for India in the tournament.[21]


First semi-final[edit]

The first semi-final was played between Australia and Sri Lanka on 18 March at St. George's Park, Port Elizabeth. Australia won the toss and opted to bat first. They managed 212 runs for the loss of 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.[22] With 213 runs needed for victory, Sri Lanka lost both the openers after which the play was interrupted by rain. The target was revised to 172 runs from 38.1 overs using the Duckworth–Lewis method. Sri Lanka managed to score only 123 runs in the allotted overs. Kumar Sangakkara and Vaas made 47 runs together for the eighth wicket, the highest partnership of the innings. Australia progressed into the final as Sri Lanka fell 48 runs short of the target.[23]

Second semi-final[edit]

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.[24][25] India won the toss and made 270 runs for 4 wickets. Ganguly and Tendulkar made 111 not out and 83 respectively.[26] In reply, Kenya were bowled out for 179 in 46.2 overs. Steve Tikolo, their captain, top-scored with 56 runs. Zaheer ended with bowling figures of 3 wickets for 14 runs. Ganguly was adjudged the Man of the match.[27]

Build up[edit]

The match was the first of its kind to be played at the Wanderers Stadium. Writing for the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, Simon Wilde called the venue as one of the "most bountiful" grounds for batsmen. Having been undefeated throughout the tournament, Australia was unanimously called by many journalists as the firm favourite.[28][29]

The Indian industrialist Vijay Mallya organised special flights, including a few chartered ones, to transport film actors, politicians and businessmen to Johannesburg.[30] "Australia must not win" was the "out cry" among most of them. Even a few South African airlines' extended their support to India.[31] The air tickets from Mumbai to Johannesburg were completely sold out as soon as India entered the "Super Sixes" stage.[30] Although most critics and analysts unanimously favoured Australia, Pakistan's Imran Khan said, "Dice in India's favour." Former Australia cricketer Greg Chappell opined that, barring Brett Lee no bowler is a serious threat to the Indian batsmen, and said, "[the] duel between Lee and Sachin [Tendulkar] will be crucial".[32]

In the mandatory press conference that was held a day prior to the final, Ganguly acknowledged that Australia was the best side in the world but was assertive that they are not "unbeatable".[33] Australia's only concern was to contain Tendulkar, the tournament's top-scorer and who the Indian fans had high expectations.[12] Ponting hinted about their bowlers, Lee and McGrath, devising "special" plans to do the same.[33] He also told the press that on crucial matches his team "tries to reach another level".[34]

It was Ganguly's 100th ODI as a captain. On the eve of the match, he released a statement saying that team is honoured to play the World Cup final. He cited India's victories at the 1983 World Cup and the 1985 World Championship of Cricket as his inspirations.[35]

Prior to the match, the two teams had faced each other eight times in World Cups; Australia had won six of these matches.[36] In the 2003 tournament, Australia had won all their matches up until this point while India managed to win all their matches except the one against Australia in the group stage.[b][34] For the Indian players it was the first World Cup final, where as for Australia six players had appeared in this stage of a World Cup before.[37]



Ricky Ponting
Sourav Ganguly
(top to bottom) Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his India counterpart Sourav Ganguly

The final was played on 23 March 2003 at the Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. It was the third World Cup Final for both umpires—David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor.[38]

Ganguly won the toss and elected to field first. India played seven batsmen and excluded leg spinner Kumble from the playing XI.[7] Zaheer 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.[39] Gilchrist in particular hit both Khan and Srinath for a lot of runs. As soon as he reached his 50 (off 40 balls), Ganguly turned to his spin bowlers as early as 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.[39] Gilchrist (57 off 48 balls) along with Matthew Hayden scored 105 runs for the first wicket.[40] Hayden was dismissed by Harbhajan soon afterwards, having made 37 runs off 54 balls. The score was 125 runs for 2 wickets in the twentieth over.[39] Ponting was accompanied by Damien Martyn after Hayden's departure. Martyn scored at about a run-a-ball rate and completed his half-century in 46 balls.[40] Ponting on the other hand scored at a slow rate reaching his 50 off 74 balls with one four. After that he started attacking the Indian bowlers. He started off by hitting Harbhajan Singh for two sixes, and Ashish Nehra for a "one-handed" six.[40] 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.[40] At the end of the innings, Australia scored 359 runs for 2 wickets;[c] Ponting and Martyn made 140 not out (off 121 balls; four fours and eight sixes)[d] and 88 not out (off 84 balls; seven fours and pne six) respectively. As of the 2015 competition, Ponting's innings remains the highest individual score by a captain in a World Cup final,[42] and Australia's total remains the highest by a team in a World Cup final. The 234-run stand between Ponting and Marytn was a record partnership for Australia in ODIs at that point.[e] The Indian bowlers conceded 37 extras. Srinath conceded 87 runs without taking a wicket—the most expensive figures in his career—in what was ultimately his last international game.[39]

India came out to bat with Tendulkar and Sehwag. Glenn McGrath opened the bowling for Australia. Tendulkar hit a boundary off the fourth ball of the over but was dismissed off the next delivery.[39] 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, was dismissed in the same over with the score reading 59 runs for 3 wickets. Dravid and Sehwag scored steadily from then on until the seventeenth over,[45] when rain interrupted play with the score at 103 runs.[39] After the play resumed, Ponting brought in Australia's 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 second fiddle to Sehwag pushing for singles often. However, both were dismissed in quick succession after making 82 (off 81 balls) and 47 (off 57 balls) respectively.[39] Following that, India began to lose wickets at regular intervals. Except for Yuvraj Singh (24) and Dinesh Mongia (12), the rest of the players got out for single-digit scores.[39] India were bowled out for 234 runs in 39.2 overs. Australia won the match by 125 runs, the largest margin of victory by runs in a World Cup final.[46] It was their second successive World Cup trophy and their third overall.[47] Ponting was given the "Man of the match" honour for his 140 not out.[48]


1st innings
 Australian Batting[41]
Player Status Runs Balls 4s 6s Strike rate
Adam Gilchrist c Sehwag b Harbhajan Singh 57 48 8 1 118.75
Matthew Hayden c Dravid b Harbhajan Singh 37 54 5 0 68.51
Ricky Ponting not out 140 121 4 8 115.70
Damien Martyn not out 88 84 7 1 104.76
Darren Lehmann
Michael Bevan
Andrew Symonds
Brad Hogg
Andy Bichel
Brett Lee
Glenn McGrath
Extras (b 2, lb 12, w 16, nb 7) 37
Total (2 wickets; 50 overs) 359

Fall of wickets: 1–105 (Gilchrist, 13.6 ov), 2–125 (Hayden, 19.5 ov)

 Indian Bowling[41]
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
Zaheer Khan 7 0 67 0 9.57
Javagal Srinath 10 0 87 0 8.70
Ashish Nehra 10 0 57 0 5.70
Harbhajan Singh 8 0 49 2 6.12
Virender Sehwag 3 0 14 0 4.66
Sachin Tendulkar 3 0 20 0 6.66
Dinesh Mongia 7 0 39 0 5.57
Yuvraj Singh 2 0 12 0 6.00
2nd innings
 Indian Batting[41]
Player Status Runs Balls 4s 6s Strike rate
Sachin Tendulkar c & b McGrath 4 5 1 0 80.00
Virender Sehwag run out (Lehmann) 82 81 10 3 101.23
Sourav Ganguly c Lehmann b Lee 24 25 3 1 96.00
Mohammad Kaif c Gilchrist b McGrath 0 3 0 0 0.00
Rahul Dravid b Bichel 47 57 2 0 82.45
Yuvraj Singh c Lee b Hogg 24 34 1 0 70.58
Dinesh Mongia c Martyn b Symonds 12 11 2 0 109.09
Harbhajan Singh c McGrath b Symonds 7 8 0 0 87.50
Zaheer Khan c Lehmann b McGrath 4 8 0 0 50.00
Javagal Srinath b Lee 1 4 0 0 25.00
Ashish Nehra not out 8 4 2 0 200.00
Extras (b 4, lb 4, w 9, nb 4) 21
Total (all out; 39.2



Fall of wickets: 1–4 (Tendulkar, 0.5 ov), 2–58 (Ganguly, 9.5 ov), 3–59 (Kaif, 10.3 ov), 4–147 (Sehwag 23.5 ov), 5–187 (Dravid 31.5 ov), 6–208 (Yuvraj Singh 34.5 ov), 7–209 (Mongia (35.2 ov), 8–223 (Harbhajan Singh 37.1 ov), 9–226 (Srinath 38.2 ov), 10–234 (Khan 39.2 ov)

 Australian Bowling[41]
Bowler Overs Maidens Runs Wickets Econ
Glenn McGrath 8.2 0 52 3 6.24
Brett Lee 7 1 31 2 4.42
Brad Hogg 10 0 61 1 6.10
Darren Lehmann 2 0 18 0 9.00
Andy Bichel 10 0 57 1 5.70
Andrew Symonds 2 0 7 2 3.50

Match officials


Australia became the first team to win three World Cups, and registered a record 17 consecutive ODI wins. It also became the first team to win all the matches in a World Cup tournament.

At the post-match press conference, Ponting said the Indians showed no signs of winning the match at any point in time. On Australia's win, he said "It's not that we think we are ahead of the others. It's just the way we play." Further, he added that India and Australia were the best two teams in the tournament and complimented the Indian players by saying that they "deserved to be in the final".[34]

Ganguly's decision to bowl first was criticized by the media; The New York Times, for instance, said it "backfired horribly".[47][49] Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan while denouncing Ganguly's decision, also criticized his idea of going into the match with an unchanged side. He further stated that India should have played Kumble as the ball was "gripping [in] the surface".[50] 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 that they had played like "real champions".[51] On the other hand, Ponting said that he would have opted to bat first had they won the toss.[52] 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".[53]

The implementation of the Duckworth–Lewis method in certain matches during the tournament was severely criticized by many players.[12] Indian journalist Boria Majumdar in his book Cricketing Cultures in Conflict (2004), remarked about the possibility of Australia losing the rain-interrupted final, if the result were to be decided by this method. Even Ganguly called such a result would be "tragic".[54]

Australia were rewarded with a prize money of US$2,000,000, while India received US$800,000.[24][55] Tendulkar's aggregate of 673 runs in the tournament fetched him the "Man of the series" accolade.[f][12] Ponting's innings of 140 not out was placed among the "Best Innings" of the tournament by Rediff,[57] and among the "Top 10" Performances in a World Cup Final by the ICC.[58] Tendulkar and Hayden were included among the "highest impact World XI", a World Cup team released by the India edition of Wisden Cricketers' Almanack.[59] Srinath, who was India's leading wicket-taker in ODIs then, retired a few months after the competition.[60] The match also marked the end of India coach John Wright's contract.[61] However, on his request the Board of Control for Cricket in India retained his position which he continued to serve until 2005.[62][63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Until the 1987 tournament, One Day International matches used to have 60 overs per innings.[1]
  2. ^ India's winning streak included eight consecutive victories.[15]
  3. ^ This was Australia's highest total in ODIs then.[34]
  4. ^ Ponting's eight sixes in the innings was the most by a batsman in a World Cup match then.[41]
  5. ^ As of April 2015, it is the highest third-wicket partnership for Australia and the fifth-highest for any wicket for them in ODIs.[43][44]
  6. ^ Tendulkar's aggregate is a record for any player in a single World Cup as of the 2015 tournament.[56]


  1. ^ Hignell, Andrew (11 January 2013). Rain Stops Play: Cricketing Climates. Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-136-33896-0. 
  2. ^ a b "2003 Cricket World Cup – in numbers". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Pal 2015, p. 159.
  4. ^ "The Format". Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Majumdar 2004, p. 228.
  6. ^ "Shane Warne's World Cup shame". ESPNcricinfo. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Bhattacharya, Rahul (6 February 2011). "It all began in South Africa". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "India v Netherlands preview". BBC. 11 February 2003. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Ian Harvey". BBC. 25 January 2003. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
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  13. ^ "Hauritz replaces Warne in World Cup squad". The Age. 24 February 2003. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "ICC Event Technical Committee accepts replacement of Gillespie with Bracken". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "World Cup Blog: Parthiv finds similarity between 2003 team and current squad". 11 March 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Austin, Charlie (7 March 2003). "Ponting and Lee star in emphatic Australia win". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 27 February 2015. 
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  30. ^ a b Wadhwaney 2003, p. 283.
  31. ^ Wadhwaney 2003, p. 244.
  32. ^ Wadhwaney 2003, p. 245.
  33. ^ a b Wadhwaney 2003, p. 246.
  34. ^ a b c d Joseph, Manu (31 March 2003). "In The Shadow Of The Superpower". Outlook. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  35. ^ Wadhwaney 2003, p. 247.
  36. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / One-Day Internationals / Team records". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  37. ^ Majumdar 2004, p. 227.
  38. ^ "Shep completes Cup hat-trick". BBC. 21 March 2003. Retrieved 9 September 2016. 
  39. ^ a b c d e f g h Vasu, Anand (23 March 2003). "Australia rout India to win third World Cup". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 February 2015. 
  40. ^ a b c d "Ponting leads another Australian juggernaut". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 February 2015. His belligerent innings left India hapless in the 2003 final 
  41. ^ a b c d e "ICC World Cup, Final: Australia v India at Johannesburg, Mar 23, 2003". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  42. ^ "Ponting blazes Australia to World Cup glory". International Cricket Council. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
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  52. ^ Deb, Sandipan; Joseph, Manu. "Nevermind, Saurav". Outlook. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  53. ^ "World Cup: Andrew Symonds picks his top four teams in tournament". India Today. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  54. ^ Wadhwaney 2003, p. 225.
  55. ^ "ICC announce World Cup prizemoney hike". ESPNcricinfo. 20 April 2010. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
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  61. ^ Gupta, Manak (24 March 2003). "Wright looks for longer term". BBC. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
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  63. ^ Vasu, Anand (20 May 2005). "Greg Chappell is India's new coach". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 


External links[edit]