If you are a youngster of the 90s and a fan of Indian cricket, one could easily assume that the harsh memories of Australia thrashing Sourav Ganguly’s Men in Blue in the 2003 World Cup final in Johannesburg reside in your head without paying rent.
Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Andrew Symonds, Damien Martyn, Michael Bevan, Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath were among the brutal Australians of the time.
What happened in 2003?
Ricky Ponting, the man in charge, is going big. Punter scores an unbroken score of 140 against an Indian attack that has played a key role in India’s run to the final. There are eight bowlers in use.
Our trusted pacemakers work without windows. Tonight, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath and Ashish Nehra look ordinary. Our frontline spinner Harbhajan Singh, on the other hand, remains an anomaly with two wickets. The only two wickets that India can eliminate. In the blink of an eye, Australia posted 359/2. India faces a tough battle ahead but we have Sachin Tendulkar, the leading run-scorer in the 2003 edition, to help us. Everything’s fine.
Tendulkar starts his account with a boundary. Thousands of Indian fans celebrate at the Wanderers Stadium. We have everything covered. They, like the millions of people who have tuned in, are convinced.
The songs and prayers are almost on time and the atmosphere is electric. Then India suffers a calamity. Tendulkar has left for the next installment. McGrath’s bowling produces a simple return catch. There is a dead silence; For many, the game is over.
Indian captain Ganguly looked to be in good form but Lee got the better of him in the 10th over. Mohammad Kaif does the same, but without scoring.
Desi fans raise their hands to the sky, begging the rain gods to put an end to this game. Their hopes are partially fulfilled, as the game resumes after only a brief delay, much to the chagrin of fans. However, all is not lost. Virender Sehwag plays with his natural style, attacking the Australian players with abandon.
He hit 82 off 81 balls, with three maximums and ten boundaries. India managed to recover from 59/3 to 147/3 in less than 24 overs. Darren Lehmann’s stroke of brilliance on the pitch leaves Sehwag short of his box on the non-striking side.
Sehwag is no longer with us. The nightmare of India not winning their second world championship has come true. India were bowled out for 234 for a deficit of 125 runs. Unbeatable Australia wins its third World Cup and Ganguly’s decision to go first dominates the news the next day.
After a 20-year wait, India will face Australia in the 2023 World Cup final on Sunday. These children are all grown up now and are trying with all their hearts to erase the gloomy sports memories of their childhood.
Is it time to heal?
“Since 2003, I have been longing for an ODI World Cup final between India and Australia where we can hopefully heal those childhood wounds,” wrote one cricket fan on X.
This time I really want the World Cup final between India and Australia. When I was a child of the 90s, I found it very difficult to digest that defeat in 2003. I still remember every detail of that final. It was a complete heartbreak for us. The Australian players of that era were really ruthless,… pic.twitter.com/0kEizvLIMH
-Baatein (@TeriMeriBaatein) November 11, 2023
India and Australia will meet at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on November 19, with Rohit Sharma’s men aiming for a third World Cup victory.
Dear Team India, these Australians gave us childhood trauma in 2003. We still have nightmares of Ponting knocking Zaheer Khan out of the park, Demien Martyn scoring a hundred and Sehwag being left with nothing. I beg you to eliminate all those bad memories.🙏
— Sunil the cricketer (@1sInto2s) November 16, 2023
What do you think about this? Tell us in the comments.
For more trending stories, follow us on Telegram.