Sunday, March 23
Australia crush India to win World Cup
Prem Panicker,, March 23, 2003

593 runs were scored in what, after bowlers had ruled the roost till date, ended up as a batsman's final -- and despite that, defending champions Australia kept its grip on the World Cup by a whopping margin of 125.

The game was characterized by some spectacular batting -- but the really fascinating part of the final contest between a resurgent India and a rampant Australia was the tactical cut and thrusts, the moves and countermoves that this game was full of.

Australia made one change, omitting the all-rounder Ian Harvey and bringing in Damien Martyn into the number four slot. India, for its part, kept an unchanged line-up.

Ricky Ponting called wrong and Sourav Ganguly elected to bowl first. It is a decision that is going to come in for some analysis; ditto flak. At this same ground, on April 16, 2000, Australia had made 205 batting first, and lost to South Africa.

In 71 matches since then, Australia has never failed to defend any score in excess of 200; in that period, it has lost only 14 times and on 11 of those occasions, it lost chasing. Looked at another way, India, after its famous 1998 triumph in Sharjah chasing a big Australian score, had won only four of 15 encounters -- and on each occasion, India had batted first and put up scores of 307, 265, 315 and 279. [...]
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