If there ever was a day that broke the dreams of a billion Indians, it has got to be March 23, 2003. As it was on this very day that the World Cup final was played between Australia and India at the picturesque Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. India had come into the finals riding on a nine-match winning streak.
After having endured a scratchy start to the tournament where they barely scraped over the line against the Netherlands in their first game before getting knocked over by the Aussies by nine wickets in the second game. Post that humbling defeat, the Men in Blue embarked on a winning spree that saw them shellack every opposition including arch-rivals Pakistan in Centurion.
But the final turned out to be a rude encore of their humbling defeat to the Aussies in the group stage, with Ricky Ponting playing an innings of his life to take the stuffing out of the Indians. Ponting, on Monday, took to Twitter, to share the image of the bat with which he shellacked the Indians on that fateful day of March 23, 2003.
“Given we’ve all got a bit of time on our hands as we stay at home, though I’d go through what I’ve kept from my career and share some of it with everyone on a regular basis – this is the bat I used in the 2003 World Cup final” Ricky Ponting tweeted.
Given we've all got a bit of time on our hands as we stay at home, thought I'd go through what I've kept from my career and share some of it with everyone on a regular basis – this is the bat I used in the 2003 World Cup final. pic.twitter.com/meoBP6NJvg
— Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) March 23, 2020
Australia had smashed 359 in 50 overs
Ricky Ponting was at his swashbuckling best that day in Johannesburg. Coming into bat after opening pair of Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist had got them off to a blistering start, Punter took the bull by its horns and proceeded to unleash a ruthless assault over the Indian bowlers.
The Australian captain shellacked a whirlwind 140* off 121 balls- an innings which included eight sixes and four boundaries- and along with Damien Martyn batted India out of the game posting 2-359 in 50 overs. All of India’s hopes hinged on the Master Blaster and when Glenn McGrath dismissed Sachin Tendulkar in the very first over, even the slightest of hopes that Indian fans had turned into ashes.
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