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Final: Australia v Pakistan
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 20 June 1999

Cricket World Cup: Aussies win World Cup in anti-cliamx final

LONDON, Sunday - What a total anti-climax it was, the seventh World Cup final between Australia and Pakistan played at Lord's here today.

Australia bowled Pakistan out for 132 and knocked off the runs with the minimum of fuss to win by eight wickets with almost 30 overs to spare, and reclaim their status as world champions in one-day cricket, to add to their already established title as unofficial Test champions.

After two absorbing and closely contested matches involving Australia against South Africa, a finish as tame as this had to come some time or the other. That it came in an important final as this, was the saddest part.

One had to pity the 30,000 spectators who had made their way as far as across the seas to witness a World Cup final. Of a possible 100 overs, all they saw was 59.1 overs for all their money's worth. If the spectators thought they had been robbed, they were never far from the truth.

Pakistan had to take much of the blame for it. They flattered to deceive.

Pakistan's much vaunted flair was missing and in its place was Australia's methodical approach, which triumphed in the end.

Pakistan were outspun by leg-spinner Shane Warne who came off with another match-winning performance to take 4 for 17 and with it the 'Man of the Match' award.

Australia attacked Pakistan's meagre total as if they were chasing something like 275-plus, and by the time Adam Gilchrist departed at 75, they were more than halfway there.

Gilchrist who had a low run with the bat, saved his best for the last, blasting his way to 54 off 36 balls with one six and eight fours, before getting out to Saqlain Mushtaq's first ball.

Ricky Ponting's wicket was the only other Pakistan claimed before Darren Lehmann cut Azhar Mehmood to backward point for four for Australia to overhaul Pakistan's total. Lehmann finished on 13, and a subdued Mark Waugh was unbeaten on 37, having become only the fourth batsmen to score 1,000 runs in World Cup matches. The previous three were Javed Miandad (1083), Sachin Tendulkar (1059) and Viv Richards (1013).

Pakistan who choose to bat first after winning the toss, were bowled out for the lowest total in a World Cup final - 132 off 39 overs by a thoroughly professional performance by Australia.

Pakistan's top scorer were Mr Extras with 25 as their batsmen were harried into false strokes by leg-spinner Shane Warne who produced yet another masterful display of bowling to capture four wicket for 33 off nine overs. The haul took Warne's total tally in the competition to 20, equalling the World Cup record held by New Zealand fast bowler Geoff Allott.

It was a disastrous morning for Pakistan who had their batting in tatters even before Warne came onto bowl in the 22nd over. By that time 68 for 3, Pakistan had lost Wajhatullah Wasti for one, Mark Waugh holding onto a brilliant diving catch off Glenn McGrath, Saeed Anwar for 15 when he played onto a delivery from Damien Fleming, and Abdur Razzaq for 17, offering skipper Steve Waugh a low catch at cover off Tom Moody.

Ijaz Ahmed was getting into his stride having stroked two fours to move into the twenties, when Warne produced a ball similar to the one he had bowled South African Gary Kirsten in the semi-finals. The ball pitched on leg stump and as Ijaz lunged forward it spun, beat the outside edge of his bat to hit off stump. The baffled Ijaz departed for 22 scored off 46 balls, which later turned out to be the highest contribution for Pakistan with the bat.

Australia continued to apply the pressure and Pakistan cracked under it as, Moin Khan went for six caught behind off Warne, who also had Shahid Afridi lbw for eight.

To add to Pakistan's woes, their world class batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq was given a dubious caught behind decision at 15 off Paul Reiffel. TV replays showed Inzamam's bat nowhere near the ball. The batsman departed rather slowly knowing he had been a victim of circumstances.

But that one decision did not reflect the poor quality of the Pakistan batting. Warne bowling unchanged took his fourth wicket when Pakistan captain Wasim Akram pulled a delivery straight into his vis-a-vis Steve Waugh's hands at mid-wicket for eight. Moody coming back for his second spell forced Azhar Mehmood to hit back a simple return catch at eight.

McGrath ended the Pakistan innings when Saqlain Mushtaq square cut straight into Ricky Ponting's hands at point, leaving last man Shoaib Akhtar unbeaten on two.

Pakistan's total of 132 was the lowest in a World Cup final since West Indies were bowled out for 140 by India on this ground in 1983.

Prior to the final, Australia had requested the visiting dressing room because according to Steve Waugh, ``it holds a lot of special memories''. It certainly did after this performance.

Australia won the World Cup under Allan Border in 1987, and were the losing finalists in the last World Cup in 1996 to Sri Lanka.

Source: The Daily News