Australia reached the final by defeating South Africa while Sri Lanka reached the final by defeating New Zealand in the semifinals.
Eventually Australia defeated Sri Lanka in the rain-affected match. They defeated Sri Lanka by 53 runs (DL method) to lift their 4th World Cup trophy and 3rd in succession. They received a grand welcome at their home when more than 10,000 fans erupted to welcome their team.
This was the first World Cup final to be a repeat – the sides previously met in the 1996 World Cup Final, which Sri Lanka won. Australia has won every World Cup match against Sri Lanka apart from that loss. The match was Sri Lanka's second World Cup final appearance and Australia's sixth, their fourth in a row.
Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat. However, the start of play was delayed due to rain, and the match was reduced to 38 overs per side. Adam Gilchrist played an incredible innings of 149 - the highest for an Australian in a World Cup final - to give Australia an imposing total going in at to break.
A large crowd of over 10,000 fans welcome the Australian team on completing the first World Cup hat-trick - Martin Place, Sydney.
While Sri Lankan batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya were adding 116 for the second wicket, the contest was alive, but after the pair got out, Sri Lanka's chances slowly washed way. Further rain forced the reduction of Sri Lanka's innings to just 36 overs, with the target revised to 269. At the culmination of the 33rd over, with Sri Lanka still trailing the adjusted Duckworth-Lewis target by 37 runs, the umpires suspended the game due to bad light. While Australia's players began to celebrate their victory (since the minimum 20 overs had been reached), the umpires incorrectly announced that because the match was suspended due to light and not rain, the final three overs would have to be bowled the following day. With Sri Lanka needing 61 runs from 18 deliveries, Mahela Jayawardene agreed there was no need to return the following day, and instructed his team to resume batting, with Ricky Ponting agreeing to play only spinners. Umpires later apologized for their error, and that the match should have ended then with Australia winning by 37 runs. The last three overs were played in almost complete darkness, during which Sri Lanka added nine runs, giving Australia a 53-run victory via the DL method, as Sri Lanka had batted 2 overs fewer than Australia.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting
Australia won the tournament undefeated, concluding a streak of 29 World Cup games without a loss. Australian bowler Glenn McGrath was named 'Player of the Series'.