The ICC ODI Cricket World Cup in 2007 came to West Indies for its ninth edition. It was the first time that Caribbean was hosting the cricket’s premier competition.
16 teams took part in the event, the most in any cricket world cup. The 16 teams were divided into 4 groups and the group stage was followed by the Super-Eight, semi-finals and final.
The Super-Eight format was introduced for the first time in world cup where 2 teams qualified from each group to play against every team other than the team from their own group.
Defending champions Australia were in group A with South Africa, Scotland and Netherlands. Warner Park Stadium in Basseterre hosted the group A matches. Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain hosted the group B matches, the group included 3 Asian teams, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka with Bermuda completing the line-up.
Beausejour Stadium in Gros Islet was the venue for group C matches, England, New Zealand, Canada and Kenya formed the group.
Hosts West Indies were in group D with Pakistan, Ireland and Zimbabwe the other teams in the group. Sabina Park in Kingston hosted the group D matches. Two teams were making their World Cup debut, Bermuda and Ireland.
In group A, Australia had no trouble in topping the group as they registered 3 wins out of 3. South Africa came 2nd as they defeated both the associates. Against Netherlands, Herschelle Gibbs became the first batsman to hit 6 sixes in an over in ODIs. The Netherlands vs Scotland game ended in a win for the Dutch.
In group B, India were expected to be one of the two teams to qualify for Super-Eight but they suffered a shock defeat against Bangladesh.
India beat Bermuda by a massive margin of 257 runs but still they needed to beat Sri Lanka to qualify.
Sri Lanka beat India by 69 runs, so, one of the pre-tournament favorites crashed out of the World Cup before the Super-Eight round. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh qualified for the next round with 6 and 4 points respectively.
There were no upsets in group C as New Zealand topped the group with 3 wins, England finished second with 2 victories and Kenya registered a win against Canada.
Just like in group B, an unexpected result came in group D. Ireland shocked everyone with a 3-wicket win against Pakistan. Following Pakistan’s upset defeat, the head coach of Pakistan Bob Woolmer died and the sudden death saddened the cricketing fraternity.
The Irish also played a thriller against Zimbabwe which ended in a tie. So, West Indies with 3 wins qualified comfortably and Ireland pipped Pakistan by a single point to make it to the last eight. The first round elimination of both India and Pakistan was a big disappointment for over a billion cricket fans.
In the super 8 round, each team carried the points won against the fellow qualifier from the group. The mighty Aussies topped the super 8 table by winning all of their six games.
Sri Lanka won 4 out of 6 matches and having 2 points carried forward, the Islanders finished with 10 points. Against South Africa, Lasith Malinga took 4 wickets on 4 balls, a game ultimately South Africa winning by 1 wicket.
Sri Lanka played another thriller in super 8 as they beat England by 2 runs in an exciting finish. Just like Sri Lanka, the Kiwis finished the round with 10 points to qualify for semis, the two defeats for New Zealand came against Australia and Sri Lanka.
South Africa entered into the super 8 with no points and then suffered an upset defeat against Bangladesh as well. Still, the Proteas made it to the last 4 with 4 wins in super 8.
England failed to qualify for the semi-final for 4th time in succession as they won 3 out of 6 games in super 8. England’s last game of the tournament was a memorable one as it was the last international match of Brian Lara.
Chasing 301, Kevin Pietersen scored his 2nd hundred of the tournament as England won by 1 wicket. West Indies managed win only against Bangladesh in super 8 and overall finished with 4 points. Bangladesh and Ireland finished at the bottom with 2 points each.
The first semi-final was played between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Sabina Park in Kingston. Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene scored a hundred to set up the total of 289. Sri Lanka had no trouble in defending in defending the target as New Zealand lost by 81 runs.
The second semi-final saw Australia facing South Africa in Gros Islet. Batting first, the Proteas managed just 149 and such a low total was well within the reach of world champions. Australia won by seven wickets to qualify for 4th consecutive world cup final.
Kensington Oval in Bridgetown hosted the 2007 World Cup final on 28th of April. The rain reduced the innings to 38 overs. Adam Gilchrist scored the highest individual score in a world cup final as 149 by the wicketkeeper batsman proved key for the Australian total of 281.
In reply, Sri Lanka remained in the contest courtesy a second wicket partnership of 116 between Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara. The rain came and reduced the innings to 36 overs.
Sri Lanka ran out of petrol as the final ended in darkness with Australia winning by 53 runs on Duckworth and Lewis. Australia completed the hat-trick of world cup title, the man of the match award for the final went to Adam Gilchrist.
Matthew Hayden with 659 was the leading run-scorer of the tournament while the player of the tournament Glenn McGrath was the leading wicket-taker with 26.