If you were also a Glenn McGrath fan then in a way this would have been a sad day as it was Glenn’s last match for Australia, but there was plenty to celebrate and smile about as Australia won the World Cup for the fourth time. Most impressively it was the third title in a row.
It’s fitting to write this article not only because it was on this day 5 years ago that Ricky Ponting lifted the Trophy but also due to the fact we’ve just completed a tour of the Caribbean where the 2007 World Cup was held.
The 2007 final was overshadowed (literally) by bad light. We recently saw a thrilling Test match at the Kensington Oval where the Baggy Greens won in a tense final over before bad light would have resulted in the Umpires calling it a match. Fortunately the winning runs were scored but it certainly brought back memories of a chaotic, slightly embarrassing, conclusion to the 2007 World Cup.
The Umpire’s even had a shocker where confusion came about as to whether the required amount of over’s had been bowled to “make it a match” so the teams didn’t have to come back the next day to complete it. It was an anti-climax.
Besides these factors, the tournament couldn’t be called an outright success. Many West Indian cricket fanatics were kept out of their own World Cup due to the greed and high pricing of the ICC for ticket prices and the atmosphere was very dark and gloomy after the shocking death of Bob Woolmer in his hotel room. Woolmer was coaching Pakistan at the time.
The final did have something special though. It was a scintillating innings of extraordinary power hitting, yet another entertaining innings by an Australian in a World Cup final. It was the Adam Gilchrist show as he smashed the Sri Lankan bowlers to a breathtaking individual total of 149 runs.
Matthew Hayden had dominated the tournament with brutal batting, absolutely brutal! However, Haydos had a quiet final scoring 38 runs - his overall tournament tally resulting in 659 runs at 73.27 - and gave his long-term batting partner Gilly a chance to explode having had a well under par series. His duck in the semi-final against South Africa was quickly forgotten and we all remember this final as Gilly’s 149, the fastest century in a World Cup final!
Haydos had a front row seat as Gilly stepped into the spotlight.
Gilly belted 8 sixes and carved 13 fours, scoring 100 runs in boundaries. The innings also sparked some amusing controversy after Gilly let it out that he had batted with a squash ball in his glove.
The Squash ball was a suggestion made by Gilly’s long term batting Coach, Bob Meuleman. Given Gilly’s high grip on the bat and the way his bottom hand would sometimes unusually grip too far around the handle, the squash ball resulted in the bat not turning as much in his hand and gave him far better control.
Prior to the World Cup he had used the squash ball in a one day game versus Queensland where he scored a century, but it was left until the World Cup final for him to give it a go. Despite the daft controversy, it was simply a way to help him control his grip and tighten his technique. It was legal. Case closed.
When asked what he thought of the tournament upon receiving the Player of the match during the finals post-match presentation, I remember Gilly simply stating, “long”!
It was a long tournament but even though this particular World Cup would be discussed negatively amongst cricket enthusiasts, it was a special day for Australian supporters and an extra special day for Gilly. Today we can recall that classic century by Adam Craig Gilchrist in the 2007 World Cup Final played on the April 28th in Barbados. He was such an entertainer for Australia in every format.
Here’s a video highlights package for you of that innings from a legend of the game, a man who revolutionised the role of a wicket keeper in the modern day game. Take a bow!
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