Africa were the hosts for the first time as the most valuable trophy in the game of cricket, the World Cup, was held jointly in South Africa / Zimbabwe and Kenya in 2003. This tournament witnessed the exit of the major nations in the preliminary round which some how lessened the enthusiasm that people shared in following the tournament moving forward.
With the hosts South Africa and other teams like Pakistan, West Indies and England crashing out of the tournament early, the cricketing experts in a state of shock. Playing without any prior test experience, Kenya seemed to have gelled in well as a unit and advanced to the super sixes round with relative ease. The tournament also saw the return of Canada, Netherlands and first timers Namibia who were all subjected to a thorough battering by the big boys of the game. Australia seemed to be in a ruthless mood as they won all their games in their group and subsequently topped it while on the other hand Sri Lankans who had a dismal 1999 tournament, topped their group. After a scintillating string of matches in the super sixes, Australia, Sri Lanka, India and to everyone's surprise Kenya, made it to the semi finals.
The first semi final between Australia and Sri Lanka seemed to be a mismatch eventually since Ricky Ponting and his boys even after being restricted to a modest total batting first tamed the Sri Lankans and never let them get close to the target. Australia moved on to their third consecutive final at the cricket world cup. The other semi final final off as anticipated with India putting an end to the Kenyan dream by scoring an easy 91 run victory to set up themselves against the mighty Aussies in the final.
The final at the 2003 world cup would always be remembered for the merciless batting display that the Australians put first up and piled on the highest ever total in a WC final. Thanks to a magnificent unbeaten century from Ricky Ponting, Australia ended up scoring 359/2 in their allotted 50 oversided with an innings full of finesse by Damien Martin as well. India got off too a good start courtesy calculated hitting from Virender Sehwag but at the end the Aussie total proved just too much and they lifted their second consecutive and a third world cup trophy over all. Chaminda Vaas (SL) with his 23 wickets and Sachin Tendulkar (IND) for his 673 runs were the highest wicket taker and run scorer in the tournament respectively.
Credit To Maira Sarfraz