Steve Waugh guided Australia for a second title | Sunday Observer
World Cup 1999:

Steve Waugh guided Australia for a second title

3 September, 2023
Steve Waugh and the Australian team with the World Cup
Steve Waugh and the Australian team with the World Cup

The 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup was the seventh edition of the Cricket World Cup, organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC). It was hosted primarily by England, with selected matches also played in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Netherlands. The tournament was won by Australia, who beat Pakistan by eight wickets in the final at Lord’s.

Stephen Waugh, a right-handed batsman and a medium-pace bowler, who is considered one of the greatest cricketers of all-time led the Australian team. He was a part of the Australian team that won their first world title in 1987. As Australian captain from 1997 to 2004, he led Australia to fifteen of their record sixteen consecutive Test wins and is considered the most successful Test captain in history with 41 victories and a winning ratio of 72%.

Steve Waugh was the most capped Test cricket player in history, with 168 appearances, until 2010. He was the world Number One all-rounder in both Test and One Day International (ODI) cricket until back issues forced him to give up bowling. He concentrated only on batting and went on to become one of the leading batsmen of his time. He is one of only thirteen players to have scored more than 10,000 Test runs.

He was named Australian of the Year in 2004 for his philanthropic work, and inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in front of his home fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2010. Waugh has been included in a list of one hundred Australian Living Treasures by the National Trust of Australia, awarded the Order of Australia and the Australian Sports Medal.

Known as an attacking and sometimes ruthlessly efficient captain, described in 2003 as a “cold-blooded, scientific” leader, cricket columnist of The Times Simon Barnes noted that “Waugh wants to defeat you personally.” At the end of his final Test match, Waugh was carried by his teammates in a lap of honour around the Sydney Cricket Ground.

World record of 16 Test victories

The 1999-2000 Test season, Steve Waugh’s first as captain in a home series, saw further change as Gilchrist ousted Healy from the wicket-keeper’s position. With Gilchrist averaging over 50, the team went on to claim a clean-sweep of both Test series, 3-0 against Pakistan and India respectively.

Waugh’s team won by margins of ten wickets, four wickets and an innings respectively. Waugh returned to form in the First Test against India at the Adelaide Oval, scoring 150 in the first innings. Waugh only passed fifty once more in the series to end with 276 runs at 55.20. Australia won all three Tests by comfortable margins of 285 runs, 180 runs and an innings respectively.

After losing their first match, his team proceeded to win the season’s triangular ODI tournament without further defeat. They then toured New Zealand and won the ODI series 5–1, losing their final match, which ended a world record of 14 consecutive ODI victories. They then swept the Tests against New Zealand 3-0 in early 2000, taking the Tests by 62 runs, six wickets and six wickets respectively.

Waugh led the way in the Second Test in Wellington with an unbeaten 151, totalling 214 runs at 53.50. His men had won all nine of their Tests during the southern hemisphere summer. His team continued their winning streak with an undefeated home season in 2000–01 when the West Indies were white-washed 5–0. The first two Tests were won by an innings, and the Second Test at the WACA brought a twelfth consecutive Test victory, surpassing the record held by the 1980s West Indies team led by Clive Lloyd.

Waugh missed the Third Test with injury and Gilchrist led the team in his absence and kept the winning streak alive. Waugh returned for the last two Tests and scored centuries in the first innings of both Tests with 121 not out and 103 respectively, which Australia won by 352 runs and six wickets respectively. Waugh compiled 349 runs at 69.80. Waugh then led the Australians undefeated in the triangular ODI tournament against the West Indies and Zimbabwe.

Waugh in 1987 World Cup

The 1987 World Cup, played on the Indian subcontinent, was the turning point of Waugh’s career. Having scored 19 not out in the death overs against India in the first match, his tight bowling in the closing overs secured a one-run victory. In the match against Zimbabwe, Waugh scored 45 before conceding only seven runs in six overs as the Australians won by 96 runs. In the match against New Zealand, the Kiwis requiring seven runs for victory in the last over, Waugh restricted them to three runs, taking two wickets for 36 runs.

In the second round robin rotation, Waugh took 1/59 and scored 42 in a 56-run loss to India, before taking 2/37 in a 17-run win over New Zealand. In Australia’s final group match, Waugh scored 10 not out before taking 1/9 from four overs in a 70-run win over Zimbabwe. Australia qualified for the semi-finals and faced co-hosts Pakistan on their home soil in Lahore. Batting first, Waugh hit 16 from the final over of the innings in a cameo of 32 not out, a match that Australia won by 18 runs.

In the final, he scored an unbeaten five at the end of the innings. He was a key player as Australia defended a target of 254 against England at Kolkata. He claimed the wickets of Allan Lamb and Phillip DeFreitas in the 47th and 49th overs as England stumbled towards the end of the run-chase. Australia won by seven runs to claim the World Cup for the first time. Waugh compiled 167 runs at 55.66 and took 11 wickets at 26.18. These performances in tight situations earned him the nickname of “Iceman.”

Waugh started the 1995–96 Australian season ranked as the world’s leading Test batsman. He made an unbeaten 112 as Australia defeated Pakistan in the First Test at Brisbane and scored 200 runs at 50.00 for the series. Suffering an injury, he missed the First Test against Sri Lanka but returned for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne to score 131 not out.

In the triangular tournament, playing in the last four matches, he scored his maiden ODI century, with an unbeaten 102 against Sri Lanka in Melbourne. He helped Australia to a 3-0 result in the Test series by scoring 170 and 61 not out at Adelaide to end the series with 362 runs for once out. He also took 4/34 in the Third Test.

During the 1996 Cricket World Cup on the subcontinent, Waugh scored 82 and featured in a 207-run partnership with his brother during Australia’s first match against Kenya: An Australian record partnership at the World Cup. He made an unbeaten half-century in the quarter-final against New Zealand at Madras, sealing a successful run chase. However, he was less effective in the semi-final and final, and Australia lost the final to Sri Lanka at Lahore.

1999 Cricket World Cup

The 1999 World Cup featured 12 teams, which was the same as the previous edition in 1996. The hosts England and the eight other test nations earned automatic qualification to the World Cup. The remaining three spots were decided at the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia, where 22 nations competed. After two group stages, the semi-finals saw Kenya and Bangladesh qualify. Scotland would be the third nation to qualify as they defeated Ireland in the third-place playoff.

Thus, the 1999 World Cup played a total of 42 matches. In the group stage, the teams were divided into two groups of six. The top three teams from each group advanced to the Super Sixes, a new concept for the 1999 World Cup; each team carried forward the points from the games against the other qualifiers from their group and then played each of the qualifiers from the other group. The top four teams in the Super Sixes advanced to the semi-finals.

Sri Lanka played in Group A and finished fifth. South Africa, India, Zimbabwe and England earned first four positions whilst Kenya ended last in the table. Sri Lanka played the first match on May 14, as winners of the 1996 Cricket World Cup with the hosts England. Group B featured Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh and Scotland.

Scotland played two of their Group B matches in their home country becoming the first associate nation to host games in a World Cup. One Group B match was played in Wales and Ireland respectively, while one Group A match was played in the Netherlands.

As a result of League match losses against New Zealand and Pakistan, even though Australia finished second in their group, they progressed to the Super Six stage with no points carried forward (PCF). India faced similar circumstances, finishing 2nd in their group but carrying forward 0 points after losing to fellow qualifiers Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The tournament was hosted three years after the previous Cricket World Cup, deviating from the usual four-year gap. During their Super Six clash, Pakistan and India were officially at war at the time of their match, the only time this has ever happened in the history of the sport.

A new type of cricket ball, the white ‘Duke,’ was introduced for the first time in the 1999 World Cup. British Cricket Balls Ltd claimed that the balls behaved identically to the balls used in previous World Cups, experiments showed they were harder and swung more.

The host broadcasters for television coverage of the tournament were Sky and BBC Television. In the UK, live games were divided between the broadcasters, with both screening the final. This was to be BBC’s last live cricket coverage during that summer, with all of England’s home Test series being shown on Channel 4 or Sky from 1999 onwards.

Australia’s Journey at World Cup

Australia had a slow start to the 1999 World Cup. After a scratchy win against Scotland, Australia suffered defeats to New Zealand and Pakistan, so they had to win their two remaining group matches (against Bangladesh and the West Indies), then all three “Super Six” matches to progress to the semi-finals: this meant seven consecutive matches without defeat to win the World Cup.

Having beaten India and Zimbabwe in their first two Super Six matches, Waugh saved his best for two must-win games against South Africa: he scored an unbeaten 120 against South Africa in the “Super Six” phase and 56 in the semi-final. The latter match was tied and Australia progressed to the final, where they crushed Pakistan by eight wickets to win the trophy.

The Australians started the new era with two ODI tournaments in Sri Lanka and India. Waugh scored 366 runs at 40.66 with three half-centuries and took five wickets at 37.40 across nine matches. The tour ended with a solitary Test against India in Delhi, where Waugh was the only Australian to make a half-century in a defeat.

Waugh returned to form on the 1997 tour of South Africa, averaging 78.25. He scored 160 in the First Test at Johannesburg, compiling a 385-run partnership with Greg Blewett. They batted for the entire third day’s play to set up an innings victory. Waugh then top scored with half-centuries in both innings of the Third Test, which Australia lost.

Waugh continued his strong run in the seven ODIs, scoring 301 runs at 50.16 with four half-centuries. After scoring 50 and 50 not out in the first two matches, he scored 89 in a run chase in the sixth match as Australia sealed the series 4–2. He then scored 91 in the last match in a vain run chase. Australia levelled the series and regained the initiative, retaining the Ashes with a 3–2 result.

1999 World Cup Semi-Finals

In the first semi-final played at the Old Trafford, Manchester on June 16, New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 241/7 in 50 overs with Roger Twose scoring 46. In reply, Pakistan reached 242/1 in 47.3 overs with Saeed Anwar scoring 113 not out. The Player of the Match was Shoaib Akhtar of Pakistan who had 3/55 in his 10 overs.

The second semi-final on June 17, at Edgbaston, Birmingham, Australia, between Australia and South Africa ended in a nail-biting tie at Birmingham. Australia came from behind to run out Allan Donald when South Africa needed just one run from three balls. Lance Klusener remained unbeaten on 31 from 16 as his efforts went in vain.

In the second final put on to bat by South Africa scored 213 in 49.2 overs with Michael Bevan top scoring 65. In reply South Africa were all out for 213 in 49.4 overs with Jacques Kallis scoring 53. The match tied and the Player of the Match was Shane Warne for his 4/29 in his 10 overs.

1999 World Cup Final

In the final, played on June 20, 1999, Australia emerged victorious in a one-sided final where they defeated Pakistan by eight wickets. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat. Wasim Akram’s Pakistan were never in the game as they had no answer to the Australian bowlers and got bowled out for a scanty 132 runs. Ijaz Ahmed top scored with 22 runs.

Leg-spinner Shane Warne was the wrecker-in-chief as he took four wickets giving away just 33 runs in 9 overs. Warne was ably supported by Glenn McGrath and Tom Moody, who claimed two wickets apiece.

Australia replied with 133/2 in 20.1 overs. Adam Gilchrist made a quick-fire 54 off 36 that included eight fours and a six. Mark Waugh remained unbeaten on 37. The winning runs were hit by Darren Lehmann. Warne was declared player of the match in the final.

Outstanding Performances

The leading run scorers were Rahul Dravid of India (461), Steve Waugh of Australia (398), Sourav Ganguly of India (379), Mark Waugh of Australia (375) and Saeed Anwar of Pakistan (375).The leading wicket takers were Geoff Allott of New Zealand (20), Shane Warne of Australia (20), Glenn McGrath of Australia (18), Lance Klusener of South Africa (17) and Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan (17).

Eleven centuries were scored and Rahul Dravid of India accounted for two - 145 against Sri Lanka and 104 not out with Kenya. Besides, Saeed Anwar of Pakistan scored a double against New Zealand (113 not out) and Zimbabwe (103). Other centurions were SouravGanguly of India vs Sri Lanka (183), Sachin Tendulkar of India vs Kenya (140 not out), NC Johnson of Zimbabwe vs Australia (132 not out), Steve Waugh of Australia vs South Africa (120 not out), Mike Waugh of Australia vs Zimbabwe (104), HH Gibbs of South Africa vs Australia (101) and A Jadeja of India (100 not out).

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