The final of the World Cup is the biggest stage for any cricketer to leave his mark on the game. And as the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup is all set to get underway, we look back at star performers in World Cup finals over the years. In this piece, we revisit the ICC World Cup final in 2003 , in which Australia defeated India by 125 runs.
Ricky Ponting: The Aussie captain led from the front in the final. Australia had got off to a roaring start after being asked to bat first, and Punter took full advantage of the platform that had been laid by the openers. Looking in no trouble at all during his innings, Ponting smashed his way to a magical, unbeaten 140 from merely 121 balls with only four fours and as many as eight sixes. The Indian bowlers kept feeding him length balls, and Ponting kept depositing them over the ropes. Thanks to Ponting's sensational knock, Australia finished with an unbelievable score of 359 for 2, a record in a World Cup final.
Damien Martyn: Despite being acknowledged as a unique talent, Martyn was oft-underrated during his career. In the final as well, his sublime knock went pretty much unnoticed even as Ponting was firing on all cylinders from one end. Martyn made a crisp unbeaten 88 from 84 deliveries, with seven fours and one six. He joined Ponting with the score at 125, and remained with him till the very end, giving the Indian bowlers no respite.
Virender Sehwag: The chase was a near impossible one for India, and after Sachin Tendulkar failed in the final, the cause was all but lost. Sehwag thought otherwise though. He kept flaying the Aussie bowling from one end, and with weather also interrupting proceedings, India had an outside chance if Sehwag continued to fire. The Delhi dasher smashed 10 fours and three sixes in his entertaining 82 from 81 balls. But, just when it seemed he was keeping India alive in the game, Sehwag was run out. India's batting capitulated there after and 234 was all they managed, chasing a mammoth 360.
The supporting acts: Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden gave Australia the perfect start. Gilchrist rocked his way to 57 from 48 balls with 8 fours and one six, while Hayden was a bit more circumspect in his 54-ball 37. As usual, Glenn McGrath was among the wickets. He claimed three while Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds got two each. For India, Harbhajan Singh took both the wickets to fall. Rahul Dravid's 47 was the only other score of note for India apart from the Sehwag dazzler.
--By A Cricket Analyst