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Why the 2003 World Cup was the most thrilling tournament ever

The 2003 world cup was the glimpse of the invincible Australia Cricket Era had begun. The 2003 world cup is considered one of the most thrilling tournaments in cricket history.

Last updated: 14.02.2021
2003 World Cup the most thrilling tournament ever | Sports Social Blog

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The 2003 world cup was the glimpse of the invincible Australia Cricket Era had begun. Although, Australia has won the previous world cup of 1999 but it was during the 2003 world cup, when Ricky Ponting has rocket launched the ruthless brand of cricket which was not witnessed before in cricket. The way Ricky Ponting's team has played with opposition teams and their minds made the people watch their performances on the loop.


The 2003 world cup tournament was hosted by South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe, following the format of the 1999 world cup with two groups consisting of 7 teams in each group. The top three teams from the two groups qualified for the super six stage round. India, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Zimbabwe have qualified for the super six stage while the teams like South Africa, England, Pakistan and West Indies have knocked out of the tournament at the group stage.



It was the same world Cup during which the non-test playing nation has reached the semi-final for the first-time ever. Kenya has entered the semi-final with the most points and better run-rate from New Zealand in the super six stage. This was the first time in the history of the World Cup when the four ICC Associate nations were featured in the tournament Namibia, Netherlands, Canada and Kenya alongside the world heavyweights of cricket. Australia, South Africa (hosts) and India were the highly favourites of the tournament.


Over the course of the tournament, the matches were filled up with amazing performances either from the bowlers or batsman rather being the one-sided contest over the years in cricket or like in the modern era of cricket. 

Chaminda Vass and Brett Lee became the only two bowlers from the same world cup 2003 to take Hattrick where Vaas Hattrick came up on the first three deliveries of the match against Bangladesh. While, Brett Lee Hattrick came up against Kenya in the super six stage game where Kenya has almost defended the total 175 when at one stage when they have restricted the invincible Australia 117 runs for 5 wickets by the end of 18th over. But thanks to Andrew Symonds and Ian Harvey to rescue the team from the collapse and guide themselves to the 5-wickets victory.


Here is that Brett Lee Hattrick against Kenya –

Here is that Chaminda Vass Hat trick against Bangladesh –


Like the tournament so far was thrilling but the semi-final matches were pretty much sided where Australia defeated Sri Lanka by Duckworth-Lewis method of 48 runs. During the match one surprising incident was witnessed when Adam Gilchrist walked out without being declared out by on-field umpire for which he was faced criticisms by his own teammates later. Batting first Australia has scored 212 runs for the loss of 7 wickets in their allotted 50 overs with the unbeaten knock of 91 runs off 118 balls by Andrew Symonds.


As it was looked Sri Lanka could chase down the possible target, but Australia's dream pace attack Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Andy Bichel and Brad Hogg destroyed the Sri Lanka line-up to 76 runs for the loss of 7 wickets by the end of 25th over. Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vass fought back to not lose another wicket before rain interrupted the play and Sri Lanka was well short of Duckworth Lewis method. Eventually Australia was declared the winners and was the first team to qualify for the final at Johannesburg.


While in the second final, team India has defeated the non-test playing nation Kenya to finally end their campaign in the tournament by 91 runs. It was the second time when team India has qualified for the finals after the 1983 world cup final (where they have defeated West Indies to become the world Champions for the first time). Like the semi-final matches, the final was also one-sided where team India decided to bowl first backfired when Australia scored 359 runs for the loss of 2 wickets in their allotted 50 overs. The captain Ricky Ponting produced one of the best knocks of the tournament in the final where he scored 140 runs off 121 balls while remaining unbeaten alongside Damien Martyn who scored 88 runs off 81 balls.


In response, team India lost the major wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in the first over to almost make the target look out of reach. Virender Sehwag has tried his best and counter attack with 82 runs off 81 balls but never received any support from other players except Rahul Dravid (47). Eventually team India has lost the final by 125 runs and bowled out at 234 runs in the 40 overs. Ricky Ponting was awarded with Man of the Match for his brilliant match-winning century. Australia became the only team after West Indies to win the two back to back world cup finals.


Here is that final between India vs Australia at Johannesburg -

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