Hyderabad, India: The favorites and defending champion won the tournament without any problem. India came close to emerge as another contender. But in the final Australia punished India for thinking that they can win the tournament.
The Best Contest Between Bat and Ball
South Africa has one of the best pitches in the world. The statistics of 2003 World Cup support the fact that there was equal contest between bat and ball.
Good batsmen scored plenty of runs. Good bowlers took plenty of wickets. 54 matches played were the highest of any World Cup. Yet 4 batsmen scoring more than 400 runs in their more than 10 (or 11) games does not prove that batsmen dominated. Overall 11 centuries were made by 7 players.
Tendulkar did create a new record of 673 runs in one World Cup. But, more than 3 bowlers taking 20 wickets proves how much successful the bowlers were in the tournament. 12 players took more than 5 wickets. 2 of them took 7 wickets and 3 of them took 6 wickets. Teams were bowled out for score as low as 45 runs.
Minnows: Good or Bad
Minnows were badly outplayed. Yet, Kenya supported the cause of minnows by becoming the first non-test playing nation to reach the semi-finals. Zimbabwe also reached the Super Six.
With the rise of minnows, some upsets were due. South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies and England could not reach the Super Six.
14 teams participated to play the tournament organised in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Some nations refused to play in Zimbabwe and Kenya and forfeited their matches. Lack of Rain rule again deprived South Africa of a victory and ultimately a place in Super Six.
Tournament of Good Players
Besides established players like Tendulkar, Ponting, Ganguly, Gilchrist, McGrath, Vaas, Brett Lee, Muralitharan there were other players who were very successful in the tournament. Andy Flower, Symonds, Damien Martyn, Fleming, Sehwag, RD Shah (Kenya), Davison (Canada), Odumbe (Kenya), Andy Bichel, Drakes (WI), Obuya (Kenya), Leede (Neth) and many others tasted success and helped their team’s cause.
Embarassments and Controversies
Shane Warne was sent home after failing drug test.
Indian player refused to play on sponsorship related issues.
New Zealand and England refused to play in Kenya and Zimbabwe, respectively.
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga showed their protest against death of democracy in Zimbabwe by wearing black bands.
Australia became the 2nd country after West Indies to win consecutive World Cup tournaments. The big question remained that who would stop their hattrick in 2007!!