The 1999 World Cup in England
The 1999 World Cup saw the trophy go back to former World Champions, Australia.
The 12 participating nations were divided into 2 groups of six, from which the best three teams would move up to the ‘Super Six’ level. The best four teams in the Super Six would hence feature in the semis. The idea, however, had major drawbacks as washed-out matches and faulty points system lead to Zimbabwe topping their group ahead of teams like India, Sri Lanka and England.
Zimbabwe’s run, nevertheless, was short lived as they lost all their matches in the Super Sixes, thus, to be eliminated from the tournament. India lost two of their three matches and ended their run in the World Cup. Australia and South Africa won two of their three matches and moved into the semis with Pakistan and New Zealand, both of who qualified with a solitary win.
It was an easy victory for Pakistan against New Zealand in the first semis as Saeed Anwar’s unbeaten 113 and Wajahatullah Wasti’s smashing 84 runs were enough for them to chase down 242-run target. The match between Australia and South Africa, on the contrary, remained a tight one.
South Africa had almost chased down Australia’s 213 as they needed just 9 runs of the last over to claim a victory. Lance Klusener slammed two boundaries off Damien Fleming’s first two deliveries. But unfortunately, a miscommunication between him and Allan Donald in the fourth ball led to the latter being run-out. The match resulted in a draw, but Australia reached the final as they had a better record in the Super Sixes.
The final brought the most expected results as the Pakistani team failed to hold on and were all out for 132 runs, a target which was easily accomplished by a half-ton by Adam Gilchrist (54) and decent partnership between Mark Waugh (37 not out) and Ricky Ponting (24). The Australians, thus, lifted their second World Cup trophy!
India at 1999 World Cup
India were going through a rough patch of sorts when the tournament started in England. Azhar had experience, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly but what he did not have was form or the ability to inspire team-mates out of bad form.
The result was simple, India lost four and won four. We did manage to keep our unbeaten record against Pakistan in World Cups intact, but that was it. The team was last in the Super-6 standings and took the early flight home.
-Australia won the World Cup for the second time with seven wins against two losses, starting their romance with the ultimate cricket trophy and the affair would continue for more than a decade!