Mark: Man with the golden touch

  • Ian Chappell, PTI
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2003 02:07 IST

The 1996 tournament was all about the magical Mark Waugh. He began the Cup campaign with a century at better than a run a ball against Kenya in Vizag.

However, that stroke-playing extravaganza was only a warm-up for what was to follow against India at Wankhede stadium.

He carved up an Indian attack comprising a good balance of pace and spin to score at almost a run a ball and set Australia on the path to a big score.

His elegant stroke-play included the usual high ration of wristy on-side strokes but he also displayed his class through the off-side with a number of sweetly timed drives and some well-placed cuts.

In Mumbai, he played like a man on a mission to out-worship Sachin Tendulkar at the maestro's own temple.

He was then denied a third successive century when Zimbabwe failed to provide him with a sufficient total to chase and he remained on 76 not out. However, he didn't have to wait long to become the first man to score three centuries in a World Cup tournament.

In the stifling heat of Chennai he scored a brilliant 110 from only 112 balls to save Australia exiting the tournament at the hands of arch-rivals New Zealand. He dominated a huge run chase in that quarter-final, conserving energy by reaching the boundary four times and plundering two massive sixes after he had passed the half-century mark.

This innings, along with his eight overs in which he claimed the valuable wicket of Chris Cairns, ensured his man of the match award.

In 1999, he claimed the century he been denied by Zimbabwe in 1996, when he belted a hundred against them at Lord's in a Super Six match.

This gave Mark the honour of being the only man to hit four World Cup centuries.

He was then denied the chance of a big score in the final at Lord's when he remained 37 not out as Pakistan's paltry total was easily passed.


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