The Indian cricket team played exceptional cricket to book a final berth in the ICC 2003 Cricket World Cup. However, they were completely outplayed by Australia in the ultimate clash of the tournament. It was on March 23, 2003, that Ricky Ponting & co. took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. The Australian captain played a breathtaking knock against the Indian bowling attack to help his side post an imposing total in the all-important contest.
Tuesday marks the 18-year anniversary of former Australia captain Ricky Ponting's sensational innings against an upbeat Indian side in the IND vs AUS World Cup final 2003. Sourav Ganguly won the toss and surprisingly elected to bowl first on the surface. While opening batters Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist gave their side a steady start, it was Ricky Ponting who took the game away from India as he showcased exemplary batsmanship on the day.
The star batsman paced his innings to perfection and displayed a great amount of confidence while counter-attacking the likes of Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Ashish Nehra and Harbhajan Singh. Ponting was timing the ball superbly on the given day and his flawless batting also led to fan theories that suggested that the player had spring inside his bat. The talented cricketer remained unbeaten on 140 and orchestrated a stellar partnership alongside Damien Martyn to help his side post a target of 360.
It is worth mentioning that it took 74 balls for the Australian skipper to reach his half-century. However, the player upped the ante in the final overs and ended up scoring a spectacular century in the crucial encounter. The 'Ricky Ponting spring bat' made headlines as fans and experts both were left stunned with the onslaught.
Sourav Ganguly & co. had threatened to break the unbeaten run of the mighty Aussies in the marquee event, but they ultimately were bamboozled in the final. The onus was on Sachin Tendulkar to bail India out of trouble considering his scintillating form in the edition. The batsman failed to make an impact in the encounter and was dismissed for just 4 runs. Virender Sehwag with his 82 was the only saving grace for Team India as they were bundled out for 234.
One of the biggest questions that bothered Indian cricket fans after their embarrassing loss to Australia was: "did Ricky Ponting use a spring bat during 2003 World Cup final vs India?" The hoax reportedly originated on April Fool's Day of 2003 as Indian fans tried to digest the IND vs AUS World Cup final 2003 defeat. Ponting's knock is still etched in the memories of cricket enthusiasts and is hailed as the best performance in a World Cup final by many.
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
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