World Cup 2007: After establishing global dominance in the field of cricket, Australia were all set to defend their title yet again with a clear intent of winning their third-consecutive world cup. The 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup was held from 13 March to 28 April, in West Indies. There were 16 teams altogether and 51 matches were played in the tournament.
Doing away from 2 groups, this edition featured 4 groups with 4 teams each. The two best performing teams will then move ahead to play the “Super 8” stage, which was “Super 6” earlier.
The tournament was surrounded by a few controversies, with the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer under suspicious conditions. The event was also marred with other controversies in terms of faulty umpiring and Andrew Flintoff’s sacking from the role of Vice-captain, after his infamous act of falling from a boat under the influence of alcohol.
With 16 teams divided into groups of 4, each team played each other in their respective groups. The top two teams from each group then move ahead to play Super 8, with the Points Carry Forward system. The group stage saw some major disappointments with some of the strongest teams like India and Pakistan getting knocked out in the first stage itself, paving way for minnows, Bangladesh and Ireland to qualify from their groups respectively.
8 teams had qualified for Super 8 where a total of 24 matches were played. Though the fixtures was decided as a round-robin method, each team only played 6 matches but not 7. The points were carried forward from their respective group-counterpart, in this stage. After some high-octane matches, 4 teams qualified for the semi-finals. The hosts West Indies had to face disappointment after getting ousted from the tournament in Super 8 stage. England, Bangladesh and Ireland also joined the bandwagon along with the Windies. Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand & South Africa advanced further to play the semis.
Semi-Final 1: Sri Lanka vs New Zealand
A confident Sri Lanka were facing a strong New Zealand in the first semi-final. In their previous fixture in the Super 8 stage, the Lankans had defeated the Kiwis comfortably by 6 wickets. While New Zealand were looking to avenge their loss, Sri Lanka were focused enough to disappoint them yet again. Jayawardene won the toss and chose to bat first. Despite losing their power-hitter Jayasuriya at just 1, Lankans managed to score 289/5 at the end of the innings.
In response, the Kiwis had a poor start by losing captain Fleming in the second over. Fulton tried his best to keep the team afloat but they kept losing wickets. In fact, they also lost 4 wickets for just 2 runs and were eventually bowled out for 208. With this, Sri Lanka had reserved their berth in the finals.
Semi-Final 2: Australia vs South Africa
This was one of the low-scoring semi-finals of the world cup. The Proteas won the toss and chose to bat first. This would have been one of their most disappointing starts ever, after putting up a score of 5-27. It looked as if the Proteas were inching towards scoring the least score ever in the tournament, but they somehow managed to score 149/10. The Aussies came onto bat and had a resembling start to their innings by losing the deadly Adam Gilchrist in the 2nd over. However, the team did bounce back and comfortably won over South Africa by registering their fourth consecutive world cup final appearance.
THE FINALS OF THE WORLD CUP 2007
The 1996 world cup finalists had again clashed with each other in this edition of the world cup. This was the first time that the previous finalists have met again in world cup history. While Sri Lanka were looking to repeat the similar result this time around, Aussies were looking to add another feather in their cap, with their third consecutive world cup victory. Australia won the toss and chose to bat first. The match was delayed a bit due to rain and was revised to 38 overs per side.
THERE WAS NO STOPPING ADAM GILCHRIST
The delay did not affect Australia as they had a power-packed start. Adam Gilchrist set himself loose and was hitting the ball all across the stadium. He scored a record-breaking individual score of 149, which is the highest score in a world cup final for any batsman. Australia finished their innings at 281/4. The target, however, was further revised to 269 in 36 overs.
Sri Lanka got out to bat and started their innings by losing the wicket of Upul Tharanga. However, Jayasuriya and Sangakkara stabilized the situation and put up a great second wicket partnership of 116 runs. However, after they both got dismissed, the Lankans were in deep trouble as none of their batsmen were able to convert their innings into a match-winning one. Eventually, Sri Lanka finished their innings at 215/8, and the Aussies yet again proved their prowess over cricket by being the first and only team to win the world cup thrice and that too consecutively.
2 IN A ROW FOR RICKY, 3 FOR AUSTRALIA
It was under Ricky Ponting’s valiant leadership that Australia won the tournament undeterred without facing a single defeat. With 4 world cup titles with them, and Ricky Ponting still strong enough to lead them to the upcoming 2011 world cup, it seemed like only magic could stop them now, from winning another one. Little did they know that it would be the boy from Ranchi, who would stun the world by winning the biggest title of his career.
FACTS FROM THE WORLD CUP 2007
The Aussies held every possible record in the World Cup 2007.
Most runs – Matthew Hayden(659 runs)
Highest Wickets – Glenn McGrath(26 wickets)
Most dismissals – Adam Gilchrist(17, 12 catches & 5 stumpings)
Highest Partnership – Brad Hodge & Michael Clarke(204 vs the Netherlands)
Australia went undefeated for the 2nd time in a row.
Lasith Malinga picked 4 wickets in 4 deliveries. The only hattrick in World Cup 2007.
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