A reign ended, an era completed: Ponting broken, Australia defeated
In 1999, Shane Warne broke millions of Pakistani hearts at Lords’ as did Symonds in World Cup 2003, but from a true cricket fan’s perspective it was sad to see India outplay Australia.
As we bid farewell to the supremacy of what was perhaps the second greatest team the sport has ever been privileged to see after the great West Indian team of the 1970’s and 1980’s, I cannot help but reflect what the hard-nosed Aussies gave to the game of cricket in their 12 years at the top of the pile.
The panache, flair and vigor of the Kangaroos was admired by all who witnessed them annihilating opposing teams throughout the middle and late 90’s and the first decade of this millennium. They always left their opponents in awe of this accumulation of true cricketing geniuses.
Was there a better sight in the World Cup of 1999 than Glenn Mcgrath mentally defeating the best batsmen of the world with his unerring accuracy? Or Shane Warne making mincemeat of a batsman with his barrage of leg-breaks, flippers and googlies?
They would then bring out the likes of that artist with a feather of a touch, called Mark Waugh when batting. Providing the raw hitting power would be the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting and to finish up you could always rely on their ever-dependable captain Steve Waugh.
Along came the World Cup of 2003, where Symonds proved with his battering of the brilliant Pakistani attack that the end was far from near for the Australians, and who can forget the way that Ponting and Damien Martyn decimated the Indian bowling in the final of the World Cup to stamp their authority on cricket’s most coveted prize for another four years.
An ageing side
By the time of the 2007 World Cup, the squad began to show signs of age, but beginning to take over were the likes of young Shaun Tait and Michael Clarke.
The real masters in Hayden, Glichrist and McGrath though, were not going to go out of the game without a real and whizz and a bang. They all combined wonderfully well to crown another fine Australian World Cup campaign with victory, with Gilchrist again showing why he was deemed the best wicketkeeper batsman of cricket history perhaps with a masterful 149 in the final.
And finally, the World Cup 2011 began with calls for Ponting’s head increasing by the day. They got through the group stages unscathed, even though losing to Pakistan must have hurt, but obviously not as much as the loss against India in the quarters.
Here ends the era of a team that has enriched the game of cricket for so long and his given pleasure to millions around the world with their never-say-die attitude. Seeing Ponting on his knees, utterly defeated truly brought home the meaning of the age old saying:
What goes up must come down.
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