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THE END OF THE PARTY (read as D.O.A) 


The men from the Down Under showed not only the nerves of steel but also character and a lot of dicipline to be the truly deserving world champions.The tag 'World Champions' is the apt description of Steve Waugh and his men.Just think of it, to win six matches in a row and to tie in another takes a lot of determination,dedication and commitment to a cause, specially in the world of International Cricket where there is very little to choose between all the competing sides. This triumph of the Aussies would not have been possible with any ordinary captain.In Steven Waugh, the Aussies have a captain who leads from the front and is a thorough professional, who neither asks for an inch nor gives any.In cricis,he is the man who throws up his hands and delivers.The innings he played against South Africa in the last super six match is probably the best ever played under pressure. Such characters are bound to leave an impression on the rest of his mates,which is what happened.Look at the performances of Shane Warne,Bevan,McGrath in the semifinal and the final.Surely these players were insipired by the effort of their skipper in in the previous encounter in which Steve Waugh single handedly carried his team to the semi final.What was most impressive about Waugh's leadership was he was calm and collected in all situations.Never could one sense panic on his face or his body language,specially in the thrilling semi final against South Africa.There could not have better tribute paid to the man by Ian Chappel who said, if there is anyone who would play an innings for his life, and if his life were to depend on that innings, he would ask Steve Waugh to play that innings for him. For the rest of the teams,one can't help feeling a little sorry for South Africa.They were by far most consistent side for the last three years, winning 80% of their matches.But they again proved that they don't quite have the mental stamina to win the crunch games in a big tournament like the world cup.Ofcourse the luck deserted them in that cruel semifinal. But they didn't help their cause either by playing Shane Warne's leg spin awfully. Clearly Shane Warne had caused mental wreck among each of the South African batsman who simply had no clue how to play him.South African captain Hansie Cronje will be first to accept that they relied too heavily and once too often on Lance Klusener to deleiver for them.In the end, Australians deserved to get to the final at the expense of the Proetas. Pakistan had the luck of the draw that saw them enter the finals quite easily by beating lesser teams like Zimbabwe and New Zealand prior to the final.I have beleived that Pakistani batting is not as balanced as their bowling.Their batsmen were in an illusionary comfort zone having scored heavily against Zim and NewZealand.The harsh truth was exposed when they ran into an inspired Aussie bowling attack in the final.I think overall,it was a good result for the Pakistanis and I beleive they over acheived. The post mortem of India's performance is on and is a long chapter in itself.For now though,let's take comfort from the fact India still remains unconquered in the world cup by Pakistan and our neighbours managed no more than being beaten in the final.Well, that's the only positive for an Indian supporter. What a pity!!!!

K. Madhavan.


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