When Australia purposely played slow in order to eliminate New Zealand
The 1999 Cricket World Cup was among the most dramatic cricket World Cups. It was the 7th edition of the World Cup and this one had everything in it, to be called as the most dramatic one. Right from Pakistan’s loss to minnow’s Bangladesh to Donald’s mind freezing run out against Australia in the semi final, this World Cup was full of excitement. The grand event was eventually won by Australia when they defeated Pakistan in a one sided final played at the Lord’s.
However, at one stage of the tournament, the Australians were almost knocked out from the tournament when they were not playing to their full potential. Their comeback in the tournament and their final shot at clinching the title was simply remarkable.
Nonetheless, during the first round of the tournament, the Australians indulged in a strategy which would be coined as sheer pessimism and nothing else! From Group A and B, only three teams would qualify and make it to the round of Super Six. In Australia’s group, the other teams were Pakistan, New Zealand, West Indies, Bangladesh and Scotland. It was bound to be the group of death as only three among them would make it to the next round.
Group B was completely dominated by Pakistan as they only lost to Bangladesh in an upset and topped the group. The remaining two slots were to be occupied by Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. The Kiwis surprisingly defeated the Aussies in Cardiff as they chased down 214 in 45.2 overs. Australia’s loss to Pakistan by 10 runs in Headingley simply made matters worse for them. The Aussies now had to win at any given cost.
The Australians annihilated Bangladesh when they chased down 178 in just 19.5 overs. Apart from giving them the two points, this also boosted their net run rate to a colossal extent! New Zealand on the other hand had lost to Pakistan and West Indies comprehensively. Their net rate was extremely poor as well.
The Australians then played West Indies and had to chase down 111 within 47.2 overs to qualify for the Super Six. However, the Kangaroos thought of eliminating the Kiwis from this situation. This could have occurred if the Aussies purposely played slow and chased the target near 47.2 overs as this would also not adversely affect the net run rate of West Indies. The Australians did exactly that and chased a meager total of 111 in 40.4 overs. This put New Zealand on the back foot as the West Indies had a better net run rate than them and the same number of points.
However, Australia’s ploy to eliminate New Zealand wasn’t successful as the Kiwis thrashed Scotland to qualify. The Kiwis chased down 121 against Scotland in just 17.5 overs to qualify. The Kiwis just managed to get ahead of West Indies in the net run rate and eventually qualify.
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