World Cup

Cricket World Cup 1999: Australia’s Dominance on the World Stage Begins

The 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup was the seventh edition of the tournament organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC). England served as the primary host country, but a few matches also took place in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Netherlands.

Australia won the tournament by defeating Pakistan by 8 wickets in the final at Lord’s in London. The competition was held three years after the 1996 edition, rather than the normal four.

Now, let’s delve into the 1999 World Cup and see how it unfolded.

The Build-Up

Format

The tournament featured 12 teams competing in 42 matches. The teams were divided into two groups of six for the group stage, with each team playing every other team in their group once.

The top three teams from each group advanced to the Super Sixes, a new concept for the 1999 Cricket World Cup. Each team carried forward the points from their group’s games and then played against each qualifier from the other group. Then the top four teams from the Super Six proceeded to the semi-finals.

Venues

A total of 17 venues in England hosted 37 World Cup matches combined, with Old Trafford and Edgbaston hosting two semi-finals, respectively. The iconic Lord’s Stadium played host to the summit clash.

Apart from that, 4 venues from Wales, Ireland, the Netherlands (1 match each), and Scotland (2 matches) also hosted the remaining 5 matches.

Teams

The 1999 World Cup included 12 teams, as did the previous event in 1996. England, along with the other eight test nations, received automatic qualification to the World Cup. The final three positions were determined at the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia.

The 1997 ICC Trophy saw 22 nations compete. Following two group stages, the semi-finals saw Kenya and Bangladesh qualify for the World Cup. Scotland qualified as the third nation after defeating Ireland in the third-place playoff.

Teams that participated in the 1999 Cricket World Cup:

  • Australia
  • England 
  • India 
  • New Zealand 
  • Pakistan
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • West Indies
  • Zimbabwe
  • Bangladesh
  • Kenya
  • Scotland

Favourites

The former champions, Sri Lanka, and the hosts, England, and Australia, were the favourites for this World Cup.

1999 World Cup Group Matches

Match 1: May 14 | England vs Sri Lanka

England’s keeper-captain Alec Stewart won the toss and elected to field first. His bowlers proved his call correct and restricted Sri Lanka to 204 runs. Stewart also had a good field day as he caught three catches and later contributed with the bat as well (88), helping England win by 8 wickets.

Match 2: May 15 | India vs South Africa

Sourav Ganguly’s 97 and Rahul Dravid’s 54 took India’s total to a fighting score of 253 runs. However, it wasn’t enough, as Jacques Kallis (96) helped South Africa chase down the target with 4 wickets to spare.

Match 3: May 15 | Kenya vs Zimbabwe

Batting first, Kenya posted a total of 229 runs on the board. Neil Johnson’s all-round performance (4 wickets and 59 runs) played a pivotal role in Zimbabwe defeating Kenya by wickets.

Match 4: May 16 | Australia vs Scotland

Scotland, which was playing its first World Cup match, managed to score a mere 181/7 in 50 overs. Scotland’s bowlers didn’t challenge the Australian batting lineup and Australia went on to win the match by 6 wickets.

Match 5: May 16 | Pakistan vs West Indies

Pakistan decided to bat first; however, they could only score 229 runs, with crucial contributions from the lower order. While defending the target, Azhar Mahmood and Abdul Razzaq, with 3 wickets each, wreaked havoc on the Windies batting lineup and helped Pakistan win the game by 27 runs.

Match 6: May 17 | Bangladesh vs New Zealand

Chris Cairns, Gavin Larsen, and Geoff Allott (3 wickets each) ran through Bangladesh’s batting lineup and bowled them out on 116 runs. New Zealand lost 2 wickets in the 10 overs, but Bangladeshi bowlers didn’t create many troubles, and New Zealand won by 6 wickets.

Match 7: May 18 | England vs Kenya

Despite a 100-run partnership for the 2nd wicket between Ravi Shah (46) and Steve Tikolo (71), Kenya could only manage to score 203 runs. In response, the chase was rather easy for England, as they won by 9 wickets in hand, with Nasser Hussain top scoring (88*) for them.

Match 8: May 19 | India vs Zimbabwe

After being asked to bat first, Zimbabwe scored 252/9 in 50 overs. The target wasn’t big; however, something unexpected happened. While chasing the target, India was pretty much in the game, but they lost the momentum in the end, and Zimbabwe defeated India by 3 runs. This is Zimbabwe’s only win against India in the history of the ODI World Cup.

Match 9: May 19 | South Africa vs Sri Lanka

After deciding to bowl first, Sri Lankan bowlers troubled the South African batters, which resulted in South Africa posting 199 on the board. Lance Klusener’s all-round performance with the bat (52*) and ball (3/21) powered South Africa to triumph over Sri Lanka by 89 runs.

Match 10: May 20 | Australia vs New Zealand

Batting first, Australia managed to post a total of 213 runs on the board. While chasing, New Zealand had a rough start as they lost 4 wickets under 50 runs. However, Roger Twose (80) and Chris Cairns (60) provided the much-needed runs and helped New Zealand win by 5 wickets.

Match 11: May 20 | Pakistan vs Scotland

After being invited to bat first, Pakistan went on to score 261 runs, with almost 59 runs coming through the extras. During the chase, Scottish batters failed to stand in front of the Pakistani bowling, and Pakistan won by 94 runs.

Match 12: May 21 | Bangladesh vs West Indies

Courtney Walsh (4 wickets) and Reon King (3) destroyed the Bangladeshi batting lineup and bowled them out for 182 runs. Later, the Windies batters faced no major troubles as they went past the total in the 47th over, registering a win by 7 wickets.

Match 13: May 22 | England vs South Africa

Riding on the back of a stable opening partnership of 111 runs, South Africa managed to post 225 runs. Then Allan Donald took matters into his own hands and picked up 4 wickets, helping South Africa win by 122 runs.

Match 14: May 22 | Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe

Sri Lanka elected to field first and restricted Zimbabwe to a score of 197/9 in 50 overs. Then Marvan Atapattu’s 54 made the chase easy for Sri Lanka, and they won the game by 4 wickets.

Match 15: May 23 | India vs Kenya

Batting first, India posted a huge total of 329 runs on the board, thanks to a solid partnership of 237 runs between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. This is one of India’s highest partnerships in ODIs as well as one of the highest partnerships in World Cup history. Later, Debasis Mohanty’s 4 wickets helped India restrict Kenya to 235/7, and India won by 94 runs.

Match 16: May 23 | Australia vs Pakistan

Inzamam-ul-Haq (81) and Abdul Razzaq (60) took Pakistan’s total to 275 runs in 50 overs. And then Wasim Akram rattled through Pakistan’s batting lineup along with Saqlain Mushtaq and bowled them out on 265 runs, resulting in Pakistan winning by 10 runs.

Match 17: May 24 | Scotland vs Bangladesh

Scotland’s bowlers were all over Bangladesh’s batters and restricted them to a mere score of 185/9. Gavin Hamilton’s 63 kept Scotland in the run chase; however, they fell short by 22 runs.

Match 18: May 24 | New Zealand vs West Indies

Batting first, New Zealand lost a few wickets early on. When their middle and lower order were about to settle, Mervyn Dillon grabbed 4 wickets and restricted the Kiwis to 156 runs. During the chase, the Windies lost only 3 wickets and chased down the target in the 43rd over.

Match 19: May 25 | England vs Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s top order had no chances to score against English bowlers, but their lower order batters showed some fight and helped Zimbabwe reach 167/8. England’s opener Nasser Hussain (57) remained unbeaten till the end to help England win by 7 wickets.

Match 20: May 26 | Kenya vs South Africa

Despite getting off to a good start, Kenya ended up scoring only 152 runs before being bowled out in the 45th over. Apart from a couple of jitters, South Africa easily cruised towards the target with 7 wickets to spare.

Match 21: May 26 | India vs Sri Lanka

Sourav Ganguly (183) and Rahul Dravid (145) stitched together a partnership of 318 runs for the 2nd wicket, which helped India post 373/6 on the board. This was the highest partnership for any wicket in the World Cup at that time. In response, Sri Lankan batters didn’t challenge the Indian bowling attack and were bundled out for 216 runs. India won the game by 157 runs.

Match 22: May 27 | Australia vs Bangladesh

Tom Moody’s 3 wickets, along with Glenn McGrath’s 2 scalps, helped restrict Bangladesh to a meagre score of 178. In response, the Australian batters had a smooth run chase, winning the match by 7 wickets.

Match 23: May 27 | Scotland vs West Indies

The West Indies’ deadly bowling attack rattled through the inexperienced Scottish batting line-up, bowling them out for just 68, and Scotland registered one of the lowest team totals in World Cup history. In reply, the Windies batters achieved the target in the 11th over, winning the match by 8 wickets.

Match 24: May 28 | New Zealand vs Pakistan

Half-centuries from Inzamam-ul-Haq and Ijaz Ahmed made sure that Pakistan reached a total of 269 runs. While chasing, New Zealand faced two early jolts, but later captain Stephen Fleming tried to keep his side on track. However, they lagged behind in the chase, resulting in Pakistan winning the contest by 62 runs.

Match 25: May 29 | England vs India

India, batting first, managed to score 232 runs with crucial contributions from the top and middle-order batters. In reply, England kept losing wickets at regular intervals, and India won by 63 runs.

Match 26: May 29 | South Africa vs Zimbabwe

Neil Johnson’s another all-round performance proved crucial to Zimbabwe as they beat South Africa by 48 runs. Batting first, Johnson partnered with Grant Flower for a 65-run opening stand and later went on to score 76 runs, helping Zimbabwe reach 233/6. Then he partnered with Heath Streak with the ball to destroy South Africa’s top and middle order by picking up 3 wickets, effectively bowling them out on 185 runs.

Match 27: May 30 | Kenya vs Sri Lanka

With helpful contributions from the top and middle order, Sri Lanka reached a total of 275 runs. In response, Kenya’s top order tumbled in front of the Sri Lankan bowling attack, but Maurice Odumbe (82) and Alpesh Vadher (73) kept the fight going. However, they could only manage to reach 230 runs in 50 overs, and Sri Lanka won by 45 runs.

Match 28: May 30 | Australia vs West Indies

Glenn McGrath’s 5-wicket haul skittled the Windies batting lineup as they posted a mere 110 runs on the scoreboard. While defending the total, Curtly Ambrose (3 wickets) did trouble the Aussies but it wasn’t enough as Australia cruised to victory by 6 wickets.

Match 29: May 31 | Bangladesh vs Pakistan

Batting first, Bangladesh managed to post 223 runs on the board as Saqlain Mushtaq spun a web around them with a 5-fer. However, Bangladesh pulled off a miraculous win over Pakistan. In response, Pakistan’s top order failed miserably, and they couldn’t recover quickly from that, which resulted in Bangladesh handing them a defeat by 62 runs.

Match 30: May 31 | Scotland vs New Zealand

Chris Harris (4 wickets) and Geoff Allott (3 wickets) ran through the Scottish batters and bundled them out for a mere 121 runs. New Zealand had to chase the target under 21.2 overs to qualify for the Super Sixes, and they chased it down in just 18 overs with 6 wickets in hand.

Super Six

Match 1: June 04 | Australia vs India

After being asked to bat first, Australia went on to post a fighting total of 282 runs in 50 overs, with every batter contributing to the total. In response, 9 of the 11 Indian batters went to the dugout on single scores with the exception of Ajay Sharma (100*), who scored his only hundred in the tournament’s history, and Robin Singh (75). But their contributions weren’t enough, and Australia won by 77 runs.

Match 2: June 05 | Pakistan vs South Africa

Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. However, they managed to score a decent total of 220 runs in 50 overs. Later, Jacques Kallis (54) and Lance Klusener (46) helped South Africa win by 3 wickets.

Match 3: June 06 | New Zealand vs Zimbabwe

The original match day as well as the reserve day faced multiple rain interruptions, which meant there was no result for this game.

Match 4: June 08 | India vs Pakistan

Archrivals India and Pakistan faced off in the 4th Super Sixes match. Rahul Dravid (61) and captain Mohammad Azharuddin (59) helped India reach a decent score of 227 runs in 50 overs. Then Venkatesh Prasad troubled the Pakistani batters and he grabbed a 5-wicket haul in the process, helping India win by 47 runs.

Match 5: June 09 | Australia vs Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to field first. However, Zimbabwe’s bowlers were ineffective against Australia, which resulted in Australia posting a huge total of 303 runs. This time, Neil Johnson’s performance with the ball (2 wickets) and bat (132) went in vain, as Australia won by 44 runs.

Match 6: June 10 | New Zealand vs South Africa

Gary Kirsten (82), Herschelle Gibbs (91), and Jacques Kallis (53*) lifted South Africa’s total to 278 runs in 50 overs. Later, Kallis showed his all-round skills with the ball by removing both New Zealand openers, which put a dent in New Zealand’s chase, and South Africa won the match by 74 runs.

Match 7: June 11 | Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Saeed Anwar starred with the bat for Pakistan, helping his side reach 271/9 in 50 overs. In defence, Pakistani bowlers had a good field day as they skittled Zimbabwe for 123 runs and Pakistan won by 148 runs.

Match 8: June 12 | India vs. New Zealand

Despite crucial contributions from middle-order batters, India could only gather 251 runs. Matt Horne (74) and Roger Twose (60) ensured the Kiwis chased down the target with 5 wickets in hand.

Match 9: June 13 | Australia vs South Africa

In a closely contested game, South Africa went on to post 271/7 on the scoreboard. Despite Australia losing 3 wickets early on, they chased down the target with 2 balls to spare, thanks to a captain’s knock from Steve Waugh (120).

Knockout Stage

1st Semi-Final: June 16 | New Zealand vs Pakistan

After electing to bat first, New Zealand was primarily on the back foot, thanks in large part to the efforts of Shoaib Akhtar, who bowled at a blistering pace and yorked three opposition batters.  Early in the innings, he got rid of danger man Nathan Astle, which set the tone for the Pakistanis.

Because of his impact on the game, despite what appeared to be an ordinary performance on paper, he was named man of the match for his outstanding bowling efforts. Roger Twose had the highest score of the inning, with 46. The 47 extras they bowled were also beneficial to New Zealand. All of this, however, was irrelevant as Pakistan went on to win the match with ease.

Pakistan won the match by 9 wickets, with opener Saeed Anwar scoring an undefeated 113 and Wajahatullah Wasti scoring 84 important runs. Pakistan defeated New Zealand to advance to the final.

2nd Semi-Final: June 17 | Australia vs. South Africa

South Africa won the toss and chose to bowl first. Australia scored 213 in sweltering circumstances, with Michael Bevan and Steve Waugh scoring crucial half-centuries. Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald ripped through the middle and lower order, taking 9 of the 10 wickets.

South Africa started their chase steadily, with Kirsten and Gibbs forming an effective opening pair. Then South Africa crumbled to 61/4 as wickets kept falling at regular intervals.

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Jonty Rhodes and Jacques Kallis then formed an important connection, bringing South Africa within 69 runs of victory. South Africa drew closer to the target thanks to some vital runs from Mark Boucher and Pollock, as well as some strong hitting from Lance Klusener.

South Africa just needed 1 run; however, Allan Donald was run out for a diamond duck on the fourth ball of the final over. The match ended in a tie, resulting in one of the greatest matches in the tournament’s history. Australia advanced to the final against Pakistan due to a higher ranking in the Super Sixes.

Final: June 20 | Australia vs Pakistan

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first; however, the decision didn’t go well for them, and Australia bowled their way to a 132-run victory over Pakistan. Pakistan was unable to form any meaningful relationships and posted a mere 132 runs on the board. Shane Warne was the standout bowler, taking 4 wickets for 33 runs in 9 overs.

In response, Adam Gilchrist launched an aggressive onslaught, scoring 54 off 36. Australia won the match in the 21st over, with only 2 wickets lost. Warne was named man of the match, and Australia won their second Cricket World Cup.

Special Moments in the World Cup of 1999

South Africa’s Heartbreak

The South African cricket team had an unparalleled heartbreak at the 1999 Cricket World Cup. South Africa needed one run off the last four deliveries with one wicket in hand in a must-win Super Six match against Australia.

The legendary “run-out” incident between Allan Donald and Lance Klusener resulted in a stalemate, although Australia went to the final due to a higher net run rate. It was a tragic twist of fate that left South Africa broken, and this moment became synonymous with their World Cup misfortunes.

Catch by Herschelle Gibbs and the “Catches Win Matches” Mantra

South Africa played against Australia in a key match during the Super Six stage of the 1999 edition. Herschelle Gibbs made one of the most incredible receptions in the history of the game.

Gibbs caught Steve Waugh’s shot but dropped the ball while celebrating, believing he had completed the catch. The catch was overturned, and Waugh went on to score a century, which helped Australia win the match. This incident served as a wake-up call to cricketers around the world, emphasising the significance of never taking a catch for granted.

The Lord’s Legacy

On June 20, 1999, the final of the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup was contested at Lord’s in London. Lord’s hosted an ICC Cricket World Cup final for the fourth time, having previously held finals in 1975, 1979, and 1983.

Australia’s Triumph Started

Australia went on to win the final at Lord’s by 8 wickets after bowling Pakistan out cheaply. They would go on to win the 2003 and 2007 World Cups as well as a string of 34 straight World Cup games without losing (which came to an end when they lost to Pakistan in the 2011 World Cup group stage).

Match Balls

The white ‘Duke’ cricket ball was presented for the first time in this edition. British Cricket Balls Ltd. claimed that the balls performed identically to those used in previous World Cups; however, tests revealed that they were harder and swung more.

Three Years Gap Between 1996 and 1999 Editions

In 1999, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and the Netherlands co-hosted the ICC World Cup competition. The Football World Cup was set for 1998, and the Olympics were scheduled for 2000. So the World Cup Cricket was moved from a four-year gap to a three-year gap to keep the competition at bay.

Final Thoughts

The 1999 Cricket World Cup was a competition that will always be remembered in the annals of the game. It was a display of cricket brilliance, featuring nail-biting games, standout individual performances, and priceless moments.

The 1999 edition gave fans a show that they would never forget, from Australia’s dominance throughout the competition to Pakistan’s surprise victory in the championship game. It served as evidence of cricket’s spirit of competition, good sportsmanship, and universal appeal. Their memories of this event continue to inspire cricket fans all over the world and serve as a reminder of the game’s timeless drama and beauty.

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