ICC Cricket World Cup - South Africa 2003

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Ricky Ponting: Style and substance

Ricky Ponting
Few batsmen have sixes as effortlessly as Ricky Ponting did in the World Cup final against India. As if he were merely swatting flies away, the Australian captain picked balls up from off, middle and leg and just depositing them over the ropes without breaking a sweat. Two successive ones off Harbhajan Singh in particular stood out, quicksilver feet getting him to the pitch before wood thumped leather virtually out of the park. His 140 took only 121 balls and featured more sixes - eight - than fours - four. More importantly, it set his side on course for a mammoth first-innings total, one that gave Australia an immense, immense edge even before the second innings began.
[Ricky Ponting Player Profile]


Brett Lee: Fast and furious

Brett Lee
It is a difficult situation for an opening bowler. When the batsmen are chasing 360, you can be sure that they will go hammer and tongs from ball one, come what may. Yet, while the normally miserly Glenn McGrath got some stick from Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly, Brett Lee, who has been so successful in the World Cup, stuck to his strong points. Bowling fast and straight, Lee went for just 23 runs in his first six overs - the most crucial ones by far - and had the wicket of Ganguly to boot. Detractors may carp that it is always easy bowling with 369 runs in the bank, but it was for Lee a good culmination to what has been an excellent tournament for the fast bowler, with perhaps only Chaminda Vaas competing for a hypothetical Bowler of the Tournament award.
[Brett Lee Player Profile]


Darren Lehmann: His rotundity beguiles

Darren Lehmann
For a relatively spherical chap, Darren Lehmann is astonishingly fluid in the field. Most Australians are, of course, but Lehmann has the lightness of foot that always seems misplaced in the horizontally challenged. His catch of Sourav Ganguly was a relatively simple one, the Indian captain going for a pull and top-edging it for Lehmann to let it simply plop into his hands inside the circle. But his run out of Virender Sehwag was a gem. Australia were under pressure as Sehwag appeared poised to take India past the Duckworth-Lewis requirements, but Lehmann, at mid off, was as cool as a cucumber when the Indian opener pushed the ball to him and took him on. Admittedly he had three stumps to aim at, but the pressure reduced that to two or perhaps one, and yet he hit direct, dismissing Sehwag and giving his teammates a chance to heave a collective sigh of relief.
[Darren Lehmann Player Profile]


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