SK Flashback : World Cup 2003 Final - A thorn in the heart of Indian cricket fans
Being a die-hard Indian cricket fan, I generally don’t like to write about matches featuring an Indian loss. But then if that match is a World Cup final, then it is worth remembering despite the loss. After all, it’s not every day that a team reaches a World Cup final.
For the records, in the 2003 World Cup; the Indian team had reached the finals of the ODI World Cup after a gap of 20 years. Prior to this, they had a perfect win record in World Cup finals (having reached it only once before in 1983). They had been beaten only once in the tournament by the Australian team, a team which turned out to be their nemesis once again in the finals.
The Australians, on the other hand were playing their fifth World Cup final and had lifted the trophy twice before. They had been unbeaten so far in this edition of the World Cup in South Africa. And not to forget, were also the defending champions.
The euphoria before the match
Most people said that the two best teams were up against each other in the final. While that statement might have been true, Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, who was going to lead for the 100th time in an ODI; knew that he had the toughest of tasks at hand.
Known for giving the Aussies a taste of their own medicine, Ganguly had said that although the Australians were the best side in the world they were not unbeatable. As expected a lot of statements were being made prior to the match. Australian captain Ricky Pointing had famously said that his bowlers, Brett Lee and Glen McGrath had special plans to restrict Sachin Tendulkar who was the tournament’s top-scorer.
So if big plans were being made in the African country, back home the Indian fans were not to be left behind. Few privileged ones had made plans to fly to Johannesburg to watch the match live, while millions of others were praying to watch an Indian captain lift the World Cup.
In fact Industrialist Vijay Mallya also called as the “King of Good Times” had organised special flights, including few chartered ones for the film stars, politicians and businessmen to Johannesburg.