ICC ODI Cricket World Cup 1999 | History, Teams, Winner

The seventh edition of ICC ODI Cricket World Cup was played from 14th May to 20th June 1999.

The World Cup returned to England after 16 years and this time the World Cup was played after 3 years rather than the customary 4. Along with England, few games were hosted by Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland and Wales as well.

A new format was introduced with the 2 groups of 6 teams each followed by the Super-Sixes. 3 teams from each group qualified for the Super-Sixes in which each team played a match against every time from the other group & the top four qualified for the semi-finals.

The 9 test-playing nations at the time were joined by three associates, Bangladesh, Kenya and Scotland.

Group A included hosts England, defending champions Sri Lanka, 1983 winners India, one of the favorites South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Group B consisted of two strong contenders Australia and Pakistan, New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh and Scotland.

England started their campaign emphatically by winning the first 2 matches easily, then suffered a massive defeat against South Africa, beat Zimbabwe but a defeat against India in the last game plus the upset defeat of South Africans against Zimbabwe put the host nation out of World Cup.

South Africa entered in the competition as a title contender and lived up to the expectations as they won their first four group games. Zimbabwe defeated India by 3 runs in a thrilling game at Grace Road in Leicester but lost against England and Sri Lanka.

Zimbabwe pipped England on Net Run Rate to qualify for the next stage after winning against the Proteas. The Indians started off poorly by losing against South Africa and Zimbabwe but rallied back quickly to win three out of three.

Against Sri Lanka in Taunton, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid engaged in a breathtaking partnership of 331, Ganguly scoring 183 & Dravid 145. Against Kenya, Sachin Tendulkar scored an emotional hundred after the return from his father’s funeral.

England, India and Zimbabwe all three finished with 6 points and the hosts bowed out of the competition on Net Run-Rate. Defending champions Sri Lanka disappointed their fans as they won against Kenya and Zimbabwe only.

In the other group, Pakistan ran out clear winners by winning 4 consecutive games before losing a diplomatic game against Bangladesh.

The batting unit of Pakistan showed vulnerability in the group stage but the bowling depth ensured the top position in the group for men in green. Pakistan defended 229 against West Indies in Bristol, beat the Scots at Riverside Ground, won a tense encounter against the Aussies at Headingley and confirmed the top spot by beating New Zealand in Derby.

Australia, New Zealand and West Indies were tied at 6 points and the Trans-Tasman made it to the Super-Sixes at the expense of West Indians. Australia improved their Run-Rate on the back of hammering Bangladesh and Glenn McGrath took five wickets against West Indies to ensure qualification.

Bangladesh ended up with 2 wins, one against Scotland and other a big upset victory vs Pakistan in Northampton, the win against Pakistan paved the way for Bangladesh’s test status. Just like Kenya in the other group, Scotland ended the campaign without a win.

The rules of the Super-Sixes meant that teams carried the points from the group-stage achieved against fellow qualifiers. So, Pakistan and Zimbabwe both started their Super-Sixes campaign with a 4-point advantage. New Zealand and South Africa were at 2 points, Australia and India at zero.

Two exciting teams of the competition, Pakistan and South played a classic encounter at Trent Bridge. Defending 220, Pakistan reduced the Proteas to 54/6, Jacques Kallis scored a patient half-century and star of the 99 WC Lance Klusener won the match with brave hitting against a balanced Pakistani attack.

Pakistan also lost against India, Old Trafford in Manchester hosted the game between arch-rivals. Venkatesh Prasad took 5 wickets to win the game for India.

Despite the two defeats, the win against Zimbabwe was enough for Pakistan to qualify for semis. Saeed Anwar scored hundred at The Oval and Pakistan entered into the semis. Australia needed to win their all 3 games in Super-Sixes, first the Aussies beat India at The Oval and then a victory against Zimbabwe at the home of cricket Lord’s.

Against South Africa, skipper Steve Waugh scored a calculated hundred in run-chase to ensure the qualification for semis and the rain didn’t allow the New Zealand vs Zimbabwe game to get completed.

New Zealand qualified for the last 4 by beating India at Trent Bridge. Two wins in Super-Sixes proved enough for South Africa to qualify. So, India and Zimbabwe were the two teams who didn’t make it to the semis.

The first semi-final saw Pakistan facing the Kiwis at Old Trafford in Manchester. Shoaib Akhtar hitting the stumps was a sight to watch, the speedster thrice hit the stumps as New Zealand finished with 241. Saeed Anwar scored a majestic hundred, WajahatUllah Wasti scored 84 as Pakistan won comfortably by 9 wickets.

The second semi-final turned out to be the greatest ODI match of all-time. South African pacemen Shaun Pollock with 5 and Allan Donald with 4 wickets reduced the Kangaroos to 213.

South African openers started promisingly but the introduction of Shane Warne changed the game all of a sudden. 3 wickets to Warne and a run-out put South Africans under pressure, Jacques Kallis and Jonty Rhodes started the recovery with a fine partnership.

Warne dismissed Kallis for 53 and the chase got tense. Lance Klusener was looking dangerous on the crease as the last over started with South Africa needing 9 from 6 balls with one wicket in hand. Klusener struck two fours on first two balls by Damien Fleming.

Now, with just 1 required to qualify, the last South African pair panicked, Australians missed a run-out chnace on 3rd delivery but on 4th one a massive misunderstanding between Klusener and Donald resulted in the famous run-out and the Proteas crashed out of the World Cup. Australia qualified for the final on better NRR as the semi as ended in a tie.

On 20th June 1999, the final of the 7th World Cup was played between Australia and Pakistan. It proved to be an extremely one-sided final as Pakistan were no match for the Aussies on the big day.

Shane Warne took 4 wickets as Pakistan scored a paltry 132. Australia comfortably chased the target to win by 8 wickets and thus registered their second World Cup title. Shane Warne won the man of the match award in final and the player of the tournament award was won Lance Klusener for his all-round heroics.

Rahul Dravid with 471 was the leading run-scorer of the event while for the first time in a World Cup edition, two bowlers finished as the leading wicket takers. Shane Warne and the Kiwi left-armer Geoff Allot finished with 20 wickets each.

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