Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foreword: Spotlight on World Cup 2003

By Jalaluddin

The ICC World Cup Cricket Tournament 2003 was a massive event. It was for the first that the World Cup was being held in Africa. South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya hosted the tournament jointly and together they did a nice job.

It was not the fault of the hosts if England refused to play their match in Harare or New Zealand decided not to appear in their game at Nairobi. England and New Zealand had to pay heavy price of forfeiting their respective games. While England could not even reach the Super Sixes, New Zealand fell short of points in qualifying for the semifinals.

Zimbabwe and Kenya were the beneficiaries as they gained valuable points without being required to take the field. Zimbabwe advanced to the Super Sixes from Group A, ahead of England and Pakistan, while Kenya proceeded to the second round, leaving behind South Africa and the West Indies.

Kenya made most of the opportunity that came their way and they stormed into the semifinals against all odds. The Kenyans had played well no doubt but they were also helped by the untidy performances of their opponents and the generosity of the New Zealanders.

Australia were the deserved winners of the World Cup. They had encountered some turbulence while capturing the trophy in 1999 but they remained invincible in 2003. They were the best team to have entered he competition and they came good even in the absence of some of their star performers.

The World Cup 2003 was certainly won by the best team, who overcame all the pressures on and off the field. The Australians were the most confident side, who had fierce determination to succeed. Even their newcomers came up with terrific performance whenever needed.

The all-conquering Australians were truly magnificent throughout the competition. They had a balanced outfit and all their guys knew their job. Ricky Ponting led the team by example and his devastating century in the final helped them retain the crown in style.

There were odd moments when the Australians were brought under pressure by their opponents but they managed to fight their way and emerged triumphant in all their outings. In two matches at least, against England and New Zealand, they snatched victory from jaws of defeat.

Australia proved the point that they stood head and shoulders above all the teams in terms of consistency. Their approach to the game has been totally professional and their standard has been raised with the passage of time. Their cricket administrators deserve to be complimented for having evolved a system which enables them to rule the world.

The unpredictable Indians, who ended runners-up, had started their campaign tamely but they peaked at the right time. Their pace trio of Jawagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, exploited the conditions in South Africa and the consistency of master blaster Sachin Tendulkar helped their cause enormously.

Pakistan and South Africa were the two biggest disappointments of the tournament. The failure of the South Africans in the league matches saw them crash out of the event before the Super Sixes, much to the disgust of the home fans.

Pakistan’s supporters also had to endure depressing time. There were reports of differences between some key players which didn’t allow the team to settle down and play to their potential which was indeed very sad.

Pakistan, after having defeated Australia in Australia in the one-day series earlier in the season, were expected to perform much better that they did in the World Cup. They showed flashes of brilliance but they were far too inconsistent to challenge their main rivals.

Spotlight on World Cup 2003 is another worthy compilation from Syed Khalid Mahmood who has carved a niche for himself in cricket journalism.

***For further details about Spotlight on World Cup 2003, please write to or call Asad Raza at 0333-2304024

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