2003 World Cup:- The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the most significant international championships of One Day International (ODI) cricket. The event is organized by world’s most popular sport’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), conducts once in every four years, along with qualification rounds which lead up to a final’s tournament. The tournament is one of the most viewed and cherished sporting events and is termed as the flagship event of international cricket.
In England, the first World Cup was organized in the month of June 1975. The next ODI cricket match was played in the next four years. A Women’s Cricket World Cup had been conducted only two years before the first men’s tournament and competition. This tournament had multiple international teams that were held in the year 1912 when a tournament of Test matches was played between Australia, South Africa, and England. All the first three World Cups were held in England. It started in the year 1987 tournament onwards, the countries have taken turns hosting, and they come under an unofficial rotation system, with about fourteen ICC members having hosted a minimum of one match in the tournament.
The Cricket World Cup is wide open to all the members that belong to the International Cricket Council (ICC). Even though the highest-ranking teams receive an automatic qualification, all the remaining teams are chosen through the World Cricket League (WCL) and the ICC World Cup Qualifier. A whopping total of twenty teams have competed in eleven editions of the ICC tournament, with around fourteen competing in the latest version in the year 2015; the next edition in 2019 will, unfortunately, have just ten teams. Australia has taken the tournament trophy five times, with the West Indies winning twice, India also winning twice, Pakistan and Sri Lanka both winning one each. The best performance in the entire ICC World Cup Cricket History came by a non-full-member team came when Kenya made it to the semi-finals of the 2003 tournament.
The 2003 world cup
The 2003 World Cup was held in the beautiful countries South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. It was the eighth version of this fabulous tournament. Australia came into this tournament as the previous champions, having beaten Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final which was thrilling and amazing. The event consisted of 14 teams, which was a surprise cause the previous seven editions did not have these many teams.
Fifty-four matches were played in total during the 2003 World Cup. The teams were divided into two groups, and the qualified top three teams from each group played the Super Sixes tournament. The tournament had many downsides as the hosts that were South Africa were eliminated in the group stage itself as they had, unfortunately, misread the Duckworth Lewis method and lost a significant group match by only one run against the country Sri Lanka.
The top teams like England, West Indies, and Pakistan, were also removed in the group stage. Australia defeated India in the final to retain their winning title. The 2003 tournament is still and will continue to be the best World Cup ever played, both in terms of quality as well as in entertainment.
What Made the 2003 Cricket World Cup so Great and Memorable?
The cricket World Cup has over the years helped the game grow very well at an international level as well. The popularity of cricket had increased tenfolds, and even more, countries started taking up the sport. The eighth World Cup, in 2003 hosted together by South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, saw fourteen teams participating. It was the preliminary time that four ICC Associate members, Netherlands, Canada, Kenya, and Namibia were part of the very same tournament. Netherlands and Namibia were put together in group A along with the countries Australia, India, England, Zimbabwe, and Pakistan. Group B comprised Kenya, Canada, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zeland, and West Indies.
Each team was to play the other teams in its group in the first stage and the top teams of each group moving into the super-six, taking forward the points earned in the league against the other qualifying teams. The teams would, later on, go on to play against the qualifying teams from the other group in the super six leagues, with the top four teams of this stage going into the semi-finals.
The Defending champions, Australia had been dominating world cricket for the past couple of years, and they were named as the hot favorites to retain their title. The Hosts South Africa was expected to be hard competitors at home while India and Pakistan too had great squads on paper. Australia had lost Shane Warne due to a failed drug test which happened hours before the start of the tournament, but they continued to live up to the tag of favorites and lifted the World Cup, winning all 11 matches.
Australia eased defeated most of their opponents easily in the group stage. There were difficult situations that required a lot of agility against Pakistan and England, but Andrew Symonds here up, and he came to the rescue regarding the first occasion with a huge143 while against England. It was the two great players Michael Bevan and Andy Bichel taking the Aussies home with a 73-run ninth. Australia ended the group stage with a hundred percent win record, and they topped the group A.
Pakistan also lost their matches against Australia and England by significant margins, they were also defeated quite easily by their arch-rivals India. They still could have made it to the semis, but their match against Zimbabwe was unfortunately drowned in the rain. Hence that ended their World Cup ambitions. They maximized benefitted the Zimbabweans who were, fortunately, able to make it to the super-six for the second time in the World Cups. What helped them is that England refused to play due to the safety reasons and the fact that ICC decided to award the match to the home team.
India started getting scared, recording an unimpressive win over the Netherlands before being crushed by the Australian team. But Sourav Ganguly’s men took themselves up and led by the star batsman Sachin Tendulkar; the Indians went on to win in the next four group matches to take the second spot. England’s decision to not tour Zimbabwe cost them dearly as they now had beat two out of Australia, Pakistan, and India to ensure progress into the super six stages. They then defeated Pakistan and has Australia on the rocks, but Bevan denied England. A loss against India means that England had to return home after the group stage. The people in the group, Netherlands and Namibia lost all the matches against the top sides by comfortable margins. The Netherlands also started making their second World Cup appearance after 1996, after managing to beat Namibia to take the sixth spot in the group.
Hosts South Africa had a horrible World Cup campaign despite Herschelle Gibbs’ fantastic form at the top of the order. They started with a close three-run loss at the hands of West Indies too. A poor bowling performance that can lead to a defeat against the New Zealand team. A terrible calculation means that their match against Sri Lanka ended in a tie. The South African dressing-room sent word of the batsmen. But unfortunately for the Proteas, they had tied the game. West Indies were not lucky side as their match against the country Bangladesh was washed off by rain.
The biggest story is the fact that they are from the group stage was Kenya. New Zealand’s did not play in Nairobi due to security reasons gave Kenya full points for the match without even a ball that was being bowled out. The Leg-spinner Collins Obuya’s five-wicket taken gave them a victory over the Sri Lankan team, and another win against Bangladesh to follow it. This showed them through to the super six. Despite missing out on this fantastic series and possibly been a comfortable victory against Kenya, New Zealand also went on to make it to the next stage.
They were, unfortunately, opening match against the Lankans but they went on to play against South Africa, and the country West Indies were enough to take them through the game. Canada’s supporters too had a few moments to cheer about as their team unexpectedly played an incredible win over Bangladesh. John Davison provided more happiness as he struck the fastest World Cup century ever against West Indies. The Bangladesh team had a very sad campaign, and they went on to go and get defeated in all their matches to end, which put them at the bottom of the table.