Ponting's blitz and Nehra's barf
Shane Bond, 6 for 23v Australia, Port Elizabeth
Australia had a formidable record entering this World Cup Super Sixes game - seven matches in the tournament for seven wins. But Bond knew a thing or two about his opponents, with 16 wickets at 12.93 from his five previous outings against them. New Zealand decided to bowl and Bond sent the top order packing. In a searing six-over first spell, he got rid of Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting. Stephen Fleming brought Bond back for an early second spell, in the 23rd over and Bond responded with a stunning burst of 4-2-3-3, leaving Australia teetering at 84 for 7. He finished with what were then the best figures by a New Zealander in an ODI, but was through with his quota by the 29th over. It was good enough to force Australia to require No. 11 Glenn McGrath to make his only runs in four World Cups. When it came New Zealand's turn to bat, though, their batsmen were hopeless against McGrath and the express pace of Brett Lee and tumbled to their lowest World Cup total and a heavy defeat.
Andrew Symonds, 143 not out v Pakistan, Johannesburg
Symonds was fortunate to be walking out to bat in Australia's opening game of the World Cup. He was picked on a hunch by Ricky Ponting; he had been considering playing rugby league due to a lack of motivation. Australia, who were missing Shane Warne and Darren Lehmann to suspension and Michael Bevan to injury, were struggling at 86 for 4 when Symonds arrived at the crease. His first ball was a bouncer from Waqar Younis and his start was far from smooth: he almost played on when he was on 23, but he then set about producing the innings of his life. There was a cover drive off Waqar to bring up fifty, and his maiden ODI century came with a cut boundary off Shahid Afridi, who he had earlier hit for four fours in an over. Then the fireworks began, including a toe-to-toe argument with Waqar after a beamer. Symonds hit sixes down the ground off Wasim Akram and Waqar and clumped 49 from his final 36 deliveries, reaching an Australian World Cup record of 143 off 125 balls.
Ashish Nehra, 6 for 23 v England, Durban
It was a surprise that Nehra, who had a seriously swollen ankle for two days, even turned up for this game. India were defending 250, a total that was competitive but not necessarily match-winning, under the Kingsmead lights. India's new-ball bowlers had done the early damage, reducing England to 28 for 2 after 12 overs, when Nehra was introduced. He bowled his 10 overs straight through and ended with dream figures of 6 for 23, the best analysis by an Indian in World Cup history. Alec Stewart, who was nailed lbw first-ball, was the only batsman to not be dismissed in the slip cordon. Nehra's length was exemplary - just one delivery was dropped short, and only five in all were over-pitched. The rest were on or back of a good length, and most of them were too good for England's tentative batsmen. To celebrate, Nehra threw up beside the pitch and then scarfed a banana for comfort.
Sachin Tendulkar, 98 v Pakistan, Centurion
Even by India-Pakistan standards, this match was eagerly awaited. And when Saeed Anwar's century took Pakistan to a competitive total, it seemed as though India's charmed World Cup run against Pakistan (they hadn't lost a match to them) might finally be over. Tendulkar, though, had other ideas. After the game he said he hadn't slept well for nearly a fortnight preceding it; and Shoaib Akhtar's opening over saw Tendulkar make the most emphatic of statements: 18 runs came off it, including a six cut over third man and a gorgeous straight push down the ground. Reprieved on 32, he went on to 98 from just 75 balls before Shoaib returned to deny him a century. By then the asking rate was down to four, and Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh saw India home with time to spare. "We wanted this World Cup to be the most successful World Cup ever and your innings against Pakistan at Centurion has helped us achieve that." Thus read a congratulatory telegram from Ali Bacher, the chief of the World Cup organising committee.
Ricky Ponting, 140 not outv India, final, Johannesburg
Ponting's withering assault in the final highlighted the gulf between Australia and the rest of the teams in the tournament. The early damage had been done by the openers, with 105 on the board off 14 overs by the time Ponting arrived at the crease. Initially he was content to let Damien Martyn seize the initiative, taking 74 balls for his half-century with just one boundary. Thereafter, India's bowling was pillaged. Harbhajan Singh's figures were ruined by two mighty heaves over midwicket, and Ashish Nehra then watched bemused as a one-handed cleave also cleared the rope. There were eight sixes in all, each on the leg side, as Australia piled on 133 in the final 12 overs. After taking just 29 balls for his second fifty, Ponting creamed 40 off the last 18 that he faced. The biggest six was a monstrous hit over long-on and into the second tier off the penultimate ball of the innings. It propelled Australia past their previous highest one-day total. India were down and very much out.