4 reasons why the 2003 ICC World Cup is the best ever cricket tournament
The 2003 World Cup was held in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya. It was the eighth edition of this blockbuster tournament. Australia came into the tournament as the defending champions, having beaten Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final. It was a 14-team event. The previous seven editions did not have as many teams.
54 matches were played in total during this World Cup. The teams were split into two groups and top three teams from each group played the Super Sixes. The tournament had many upsets as the hosts South Africa were eliminated in the group stage itself as they misread the Duckworth Lewis method and lost a crucial group match by one run against Sri Lanka.
Top teams like England, Pakistan and West Indies were also eliminated in the group stage. Australia defeated India in the final to defend their title. The 2003 tournament is still the best World Cup ever played, both in terms of quality and entertainment. Here are four reasons why.
#4 The Sachin Tendulkar show
The iconic Indian batsman probably had his best World Cup during the 2003 edition. The Little Master's batting was one of the key reasons why the tournament caught the attention of everyone’s eyes. Sachin Tendulkar had a dream run in the tournament.
Tendulkar smashed 81 runs off 91 balls against the host Zimbabwe and followed that up with 151 runs against Namibia which is his highest ever score in the World Cup. Thereafter, he scored a half-century against England and a match-winning knock of 98 runs against Pakistan, which was his best innings of the World Cup.
Tendulkar ended up scoring four consecutive 50+ scores. He also scored 97 runs against Sri Lanka in a Super-six game and 83 runs against Kenya in the semifinals. He almost single-handedly took India to the final. The champion batsman won the player of the tournament award for his 673 runs in the tournament. It is still the record for the most runs ever scored by a batsman in a single World Cup edition.