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Hopes for a home victory in this tournament were understandably high; India had just convincingly defeated the Australian tourists in a three-match Test series, and were better suited to cope with both the searing heat of summer and the demanding travel schedules. Indian supporters were delighted when their team won all four qualifying matches. Only in their second match, against Zimbabwe at Baroda, did they come close to losing. But in the final, Australia turned the tables to take the trophy.
In their four earlier wins, India had found the tournament's most consistent batsman - and also an unexpected bowling hero. Ajay Jadeja finished the competition with an average of 354, having lost his wicket just once in five innings. In the opening match, Sachin Tendulkar, who had torn apart the Australian bowlers in the Test series, now gave them a lesson in how it should be done, claiming five for 32. The seven matches also produced a new record of any partnership in one-day internationals, when Jadeja and Mohammad Azharuddin added 275 against Zimbabwe, and made Azharuddin the world's most experienced player in this form of cricket; he overtook Allan Border's 273 appearances in the opening match and finished the tournament on 278, with power to add.
Australia's progress to the final was hardly ideal, but it sufficed. Only Ricky Ponting of the batsmen hit anything like consistent form, and none of the bowlers managed to find much of a rhythm. In the final, however, Australia won with some ease, yet again showing their ability to play when it mattered. Zimbabwe's recent one-day results had been poor; Alistair Campbell and his team arrived in India after losing nine of their ten one-day internationals in 1998. In the event, the threatened to win three of their four matches (losing by 13, 13 and 16 runs in high-scoring contests), but failed to challenge the supremacy of the other two nations.
Such is the proliferation of these tournaments that the finalists were due to play each other again - in a different competition and on a different continent - only five days later.
Note: Matches in this section were not first-class.
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