The semi-final clash between Australia and South Africa will go down in the history as greatest game of all time (Image Credit: Twitter)
It can be argued whether Jagmohan Dalmiya was the greatest connoisseur of the sport, but he certainly knew how to convert opportunities into cash. He ensured World Cup 1999 was completely controlled by ICC: it was the beginning of a trend that continues till today. Prior to this World Cup, all six cups were held in partnership, and a step like this was nothing short of revolution.
The tournament structure went through a revamp as well. The 12 teams were divided into two groups, just like 1996 — but six teams qualified to the next round instead of eight to go play in the Super Sixes. Not only did three teams qualify from each group, they also carried forward their points against the other qualified teams. Thus, since Zimbabwe had beaten both India and South Africa, and South Africa had beaten India in the league stage, India went forward with zero points, South Africa with two, and Zimbabwe with four.
Interestingly, after a gap of 16 years, England was again nominated as the main venue where first three World Cups were held. It was the year when Bangladesh and Scotland made their maiden mega-event appearances, while Kenya made their second.
As the tournament passed by, Pakistan started off the tournament on high, winning four matches on the trot before experiencing a shocking defeat against Bangladesh. Australia, led by Steve Waugh were off to a forgettable start, losing two of their first three games. Post this, they made a tinker with their approach and in no time were back on winning ways.
India, too, lost their first two matches to have a horrid start to their campaign, but turned things around with three consecutive victories, but with Zimbabwe surprising South Africa at Chelmsford they went in to the Super Sixes with zero as well. In Super Six stage, India managed to secure just one win against Pakistan and were eventually knocked out of the tournament. However, the 237 run partnership between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid defined India's stint of 1999 World Cup.
Going into the knockout stages, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the World witnessed the greatest One-Day International (ODI) of all time, South Africa and Australia played a match that resulted in a heart-stopping tie. Some last-over madness saw Allan Donald almost surviving a run out, before getting out next ball, and even when the match was tied, Australia qualified on the basis of their advantage in the Super Sixes. Even though, Australia upstaged Pakistan in the final, the highlight of 1999 World Cup still remains with South Africa’s sensation Lance Klusener.
Most Runs: Rahul Dravid of India. Runs 461. Average: 57.62.
Most wickets: Shane Warne of Australia. Wickets 20.