1999 ICC World Cup

It was a scratchy route to the final but Australia stamped their authority in the final against Pakistan. The emphatic win for Steve Waugh's men started a decade of domination for the Aussies.

Last updated on Friday, 04 February, 2011 23:10 IST
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Hosts: England
Winners: Australia
Runners-up: Pakistan
Most runs: Rahul Dravid (IND) 461 runs
Most wickets: Geoff Allot (NZ), Shane Warne (AUS) 20 wickets

The World Cup returned to its place of origin with England as hosts and a few matches played in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Holland. The format though was really confusing with the introduction of the Super series stage after the round-robin matches.

In this format, the top three teams from each group would move to the Super Six stage and carry with them the points they had won against the other two qualifiers. Then they play the three teams from the other group after which a final table would establish the 4 semi-finalists. Confusing would be an understatement for sure.

In Group A, Zimbabwe sprung two surprises by beating India and South Africa and eventually qualified for the next round. South Africa finished at the top after beating India, Sri Lanka, England and Kenya. India managed to get in to the second place by beating the rest which resulted in defending champions Sri Lanka and hosts England getting knocked out.

In Group B, favourites Australia lost to both New Zealand and Pakistan but came back with 3 consecutive wins to progress. Pakistan and New Zealand beat the rest of the competition to enter the Super Six stage.

The point system meant Zimbabwe were at the top by the virtue of beating India and the Proteas earlier. But they failed to win against the other three teams and were eventually dumped out. India beat Pakistan but a loss to Australia ended their hopes. Pakistan topped and eventual group and Australia needed a late win (thanks to a drop catch by Herschelle Gibbs) against South Africa to qualify for the semis.

In the first semi-final, Pakistan managed to bundle out New Zealand for 241 and then a stunning century by Saeed Anwar (113) took Wasim Akram's side to their second World Cup final.

The second semi-final between Australia and South Africa is arguable one of the most memorable and dramatic matches ever played in the World Cup. A five-wicket haul by Shaun Pollock wrecked Australia but another trouble-shooting act by Michael Bevan (65) took the total to 213.

The South Africans started in steady fashion but two unforgettable deliveries by Shane Warne sent both the openers, Gibbs and Kirsten back to the pavillion. He then scalped Cronje for a duck and a struggling Cullinan ended up being run-out to put the match in balance. Jacques Kallis (53) and Jonty Rhodes (43) started a rearguard but Warne came back to remove Kallis and the match tilted in Australia's favour again. Useful contributions were made down under but Australia nosed ahead. It is at this juncture that Lance Klusener, whose destructive batting had won quite a few matches for the Proteas in the tournament came into his own. Needing 9 to win off Damien Fleming's last over, the left-hander smashed two boundaries of the first two balls to take his side to the brink of history. And then suicide was committed. Klusener called for a quick single, Allan Donald failed to respond and was run out to end the match in a tie. The Australians though were joyous as they knew that a higher placing in the Super Six table had sent them through to the final.

The final at Lord's was the most lopsided title clash ever as Warne's genius was on show again. Another 4-wicket haul for the master leg-spinner with some lethal bowling from Glenn McGrath helped reduce Pakistan to a paltry 132 all-out.

An attacking 54 by Adam Gilchrist laid the foundation of an emphatic win for Steve Waugh's men who would go on to rule world cricket for another decade.

Story first published on: Thursday, 20 January 2011 19:05 IST

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