Ian Chappell picks the best performances on cricket's biggest stage

'Ponting ended the contest in the first 50'

Ian Chappell on Ricky Ponting's blistering 140, which shut India out of the 2003 World Cup final (00:00)

January 22, 2011


Great World Cup Performances

'Ponting ended the contest in the first 50'

January 22, 2011

Ricky Ponting gets in position to dismiss the ball out of sight during his 140, Australia v India, World Cup final, Johannesburg, March 23, 2003
Ponting: 140 off 121 balls © Getty Images

In the 2003 World Cup Ricky Ponting played magnificently, and what he did was take the advantage of the gift that he was given by the opposing captain, Sourav Ganguly.

Ganguly won the toss at the Wanderers and sent Australia in to bat. It was a big gamble - I know, because I did it in 1975 and lost. You can be giving away a huge advantage to the opposition. Once Ponting got going, I think Ganguly would have realised, "Oh oh, I have just handed the plate to Ponting." And he ate sumptuously on that occasion: 140 runs, some magnificent shots, and I think he only faced 121 balls.

He is only a little guy, Ponting, but he has a reputation of hitting the golf ball a long way. And anybody who saw him at the Wanderers that day will understand why. Because once he got going, and he really started to let loose, he hit a couple of huge sixes. His score of 140 took Australia to 359, I think - an unassailable target really. I mean, here is a captain who has played such a great knock that for all ends and purposes virtually ends the contest in the first 50 overs.

I guess a supreme optimist may have felt that Tendulkar might have been able to match it. If he had have matched it, then perhaps India could have made a contest of the game. But Tendulkar was out early, and really any hope of the World Cup going to India was gone by that point. So it was Ponting's innings, a magnificent innings in the final, a century, that helped Australia to clinch that 2003 World Cup.

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