33 days to World Cup: When Warne spun Australia to glory

This was the final and there was no room for errors and Australia, had learned from their mistakes.

Published: 27th April 2019 07:49 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th April 2019 07:49 PM   |  A+A-

Warne's four-fer helped him end as the tournament's leading wicket-taker | AP

Online Desk

No total is a small total to chase when you have the likes of Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar and Saqlain Mushtaq charging at you, and Steve Waugh's Australians knew it well before padding up for the summit clash of 1999 tournament at the Lord's.

When the two sides had met earlier at Leeds, Pakistan had built a strong total of 275-8 and had bundled out the opposition for 265 to clinch a 10-run victory. But this was the final and there was no room for errors and Australia from their side, had learned from their mistakes.

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What the world got to see on June 20, 1999, was probably the most one-sided World Cup final with Pakistan hardly putting up resistance in any part of the game and handing the Australians an easy eight-wicket win with 30 overs to spare.

At first, Shane Warne crumbled the Pakistani middle-order to limit them to a below-par total of 132, before Adam Gilchrist beat their bowlers to submission with some early-aggression, suppressing any hope for a revolt.

Though Gilly's T20-styled 36 ball 54 made the run chase a cakewalk for the Kangaroos, it was the spin wizard's spell of 33-4 that decided the destiny of the match. He sent a settled Ijaz Ahmed (22 off 46) back first before wicketkeeper Moin Khan (6) gave a simple catch to his rival counterpart.

A young Shahid Afridi fell next, trapped before the stumps while trying to sweep a delivery in his efforts to rescue the team. He made 13.

Captain Wasim Akram (8) would have understood that there was nothing much to do left with the willow as he charged out to hit one over cover, only for it to end up in Steve Waugh's safe hands.

That four-fer helped him get to 20 wickets and thereby end as the tournament's leading wicket-taker along with Geoff Allott.

As Warne celebrated in delight, the Green Army was preparing themselves for a do-or-die bowling attack from ball 1, only to be beaten to submission.

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Gilchrist hit 8 boundaries and a six to fetch his side their then record-equalling second World Cup. He was finally caught by Inzamam off a Saqlain delivery, but he had taken the match far from Pakistan's reach by then. His partner Mark Waugh remained unbeaten at 37 as Darren Lehmann hit the winning runs.  

Back then, not many have guessed that what Warne and company ignited that day was about to become a custom for the coming two editions of the tournament as well. 

Chris Cairns famously said, "Even my mother can lead this Australian side" for a reason.


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