History of the ICC cricket World Cup: Australia’s legacy (Part 2)
In the final, the Kangaroos won the toss and opted to bat. They put in a steady batting performance and scored quick runs towards the end of the innings, which helped them reach a competitive total of 253 for five in 50 overs. With the ball in hand, Australia
got off to the best possible start, by taking a wicket off the first delivery of the English innings. After a closely contested match, England ended up requiring 17 runs off the last over. Australia managed to restrict the opposition and secured their first
World Cup trophy.
1992 ICC World Cup
Australia were looking to defend their title in their own backyard, as the 1992 World Cup was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia. However, the Australian fans dream of seeing their team secure consecutive World Cups was shattered in
the group stages. In the 1992 World Cup, all nine participating teams were brought together in one group, with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals. After playing 8 games, the home team managed just four wins and failed to make it to the semi-finals.
They managed to secure 8 points in the group stage, while eventual winners Pakistan made it to the semi-finals after securing 9 points.
1996 ICC World Cup
The 1996 World Cup was again played in Asia, where Australia managed to lift their first World Cup in 1987. This time around a new knockout stage was incorporated into the tournament; the quarter-finals.
Australia faced New Zealand in a high scoring quarter-final. New Zealand managed to post an impressive total of 286 for nine wickets. However, Australia cruised to reach the target in under 48 overs.
In the semi-final, Australia were up against the once mighty West Indies. Australia managed to score only 207 for eight wickets, and it was expected that the West Indies team would ease past the total. The run chase started well and Australia seemed to be
heading out of the tournament. However, a sudden West Indies batting collapse, triggered by the legendary Shane Warne gave Australia a five-run win and a spot in the final.
Australia contested the final against co-hosts Sri Lanka. The Kangaroos were on course for a big total at one stage when Ricky Ponting and Mark Taylor shared a 101-run second wicket partnership. In the end they managed to put up a fighting total of 241 for
seven, after the Sri-Lankan spinners forced a middle-order collapse.
The Sri Lankan chase did not start well as their feared openers failed to make any real impact on the game. The innings was than consolidated by arguably Sri Lanka’s best-ever batsman Aravinda de Silva. He scored an unbeaten centaury to lead his country
to their first-ever World Cup title.
Australia’s loss in the 1996 final is blamed by many on the side’s uncannily poor fielding display. A number of catches were grounded at crucial stages of the match which proved costly.
1999 ICC World Cup
The 1999 World Cup is widely considered by many as the beginning of Australian dominance in the cricketing world. The seventh edition of the World Cup was once again hosted by England. Australia eased through the group stages of the tournament
and booked their place in the Super Six round. The Kangaroos eventually finished second on the Super Six table, which ensured a semi-final match against the much fancied South Africans.
The semi-final encounter between the two sides was destined to go down as one of the most thrilling matches in World Cup history. Batting first, Australia struggled to break the shackles and kept losing wickets at regular intervals. They were eventually
bowled out for 213 runs. The pitch proved to be difficult for South Africa as well, and the Proteas struggled to keep pace with the required run-rate, as wickets kept falling regularly.
Continued in Part 3