Thousands were roaring under the floodlights at Bangabandhu National Stadium, quite a departure after that perennial battles against floods, political unrest and poverty. Those selling cricket were delighted to discover a fertile market and it was a case of the ICC embracing Bangladesh as warmly as the country welcomed the game.
M/s Woolmer and Cronje looked like winning more laurels than they did. This was the only occasion when their mix of forceful batting, aggressive bowling and precise fielding with enviable flexibility in the first two departments won an elite event in the true sense of the term. It continues to be the biggest trophy in South Africa’s cricket cabinet.
1. For the first time since the mid-80s, India were in the final of a big event. Among victims were favourites Australia and South Africa. It was the emergence of an unafraid India with the right mix of experience and youth under an ambitious captain. Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh announced their arrival here and it marked the beginning of a good run.
2. New Zealand - The perennial dark horses, New Zealand finally came to the party in Kenya when the Black Caps beat India to win their first, and so far only, ICC tournament. Left arm pacer Geoff Allott did the damage with the ball, while Chris Cairns put in a stellar show with the willow, the standout innings being a peerless century in the final. Possibly, the best Kiwi side of all time.
1. ‘Ambush marketing’ suddenly became a household term when a Sourav Ganguly-led India threatened a pullout from the 2002 edition, protesting against what the players perceived was the governing body’s blatant attempt at curbing their endorsement deals. With all the big guns refusing to budge, and the BCCI throwing its weight behind its players, for a long while it looked like India would send a second-string XI to Sri Lanka. A wave of meetings, however, followed and the issue was resolved. India went on to jointly win the tournament.
2. Reserve days for finals are a current topic of discussion. The first time it was needed in a top ICC event was in Sri Lanka. The hosts batted first on both days and got what looked like gettable totals. Virender Sehwag started briskly on both occasions before the rains arrived. It remains the only instance of the final of a top event being washed out.
1. After reaching the final in the two previous editions, India failed to qualify for the semi-finals from the group stage. Failure in the next few ODI engagements thereafter barring a win against Bangladesh hinted it was the beginning of the end of the era of Sourav Ganguly as captain. His removal from the top post about a year later confirmed it.
2. The West Indian resurgence: Possessing players like Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in their ranks, the West Indies were always one good run away from winning a major tournament. And that moment came under the dark London sky when Ian Bradshaw and Courney Browne scripted a win in the final
When push came to shove: The most enduring image of the 2006 edition was the Australians pushing BCCI president Sharad Pawar off the stage after winning the title in Mumbai.
No one is sure why Damien Martyn did what he did — maybe he didn’t want to share the moment of glory with Pawar or maybe he just slipped in the bubbly.
The fall and fall of India: As hosts, India were certainly expected to do better than they ended up doing. Rahul Dravid’s side was knocked out in the group stage itself, losing two of its three games.
Losing Yuvraj Singh on the eve of a must-win match against Australia to a freak injury while playing kho-kho didn’t help matters.