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Boof, Waugh and Clarke: Comparing the ’99 World Cup to the ’15 edition

Darren Lehmann has escaped much of the blame so far - how long will this continue? (AP Photo/Rui Vieira/PA)
Roar Guru
30th March, 2015
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On Sunday night a whole nation rejoiced, as nerves that had reached a crescendo at 2:30PM AEST were truly expelled by a quirky yet trademark Steve Smith pull shot that rocketed to the boundary.

At around 9:05PM, the shot stamped the Australian cricket team as five-time World Cup Champions. The complete massacre of New Zealand by the men in gold rivalled the demolition job done fifteen years earlier by another Australian team.

Even though there are many contrasts between the two teams and their eras, there are still a few interesting comparisons that can be made.

‘Boof’ was in the set up for both tournaments
Whether it be Lord’s in ’99 or the MCG in ’15, Darren ‘Boof’ Lehmann has been a key figurehead in both victories.

His bald head was on show on the final ball of the former tournament with a customary ‘Boof’ cut shot that rocketed to the boundary ensuring an emphatic victory over the Pakistanis. Sixteen years later he stood waiting on the boundary with his squad of fifteen players at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The Aussie support was different in each of Boof’s two crowning glories on the world stage, as the neutral Lord’s venue was nowhere near as Australian as the sea of gold that met the players’ eyes at the MCG on Sunday night.

The glistening trophy now joins the famous little urn won by Lehmann a year earlier. Darren Lehmann has been a vital person in both World Cup victories.

The immense pressure placed on the Australian team
In ’99 the pressure was immense, as a whole nation prayed at their homes as Australian went into the World Cup as one of the favourites.

Losses to New Zealand and then Pakistan threatened to derail an opportunistic campaign, as the media and public pressure was heaped onto the travelling squad. Thankfully, the Aussie boys pulled through and got past the group stage, finishing in second place.

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In the ’15 edition, the keen public didn’t have to send angry emails all the way over to England, as they could personally see them live at home. Being one of the hosts, the Australians were pencilled in as favourites from the start.

A washout against Bangladesh dampened spirits before a nail biting one-wicket loss to the main rivals across the Tasman gave the whole nation a firm kick up the backside, as South Africa, India and New Zealand all surged. In the finals in both tournaments the Australians took control. Victories in both the quarter final and the semi final got the Aussies into the final in the ’15 edition, while in ’99 players had to scrap hard in both the last Super Six game and the semi, as they escaped their way through to the final against Pakistan.

Thankfully, both tournaments ended in positive results for Australia, as the pressure was vindicated with World Cup trophies.

The captains exited World Cup cricket in style
Both determined both talented and both fierce competitors, Michael Clarke and Steve Waugh embodied the Australian teams of the 2015 and 1999 World Cups.

In ’99, Waugh all but took his team to the final, with two great performances against South Africa saving his career and his country. In ’15 Clarke came back from emotional and physical turmoil, starting in the third game and securing an easy win in the final with a genius knock of 74.

For Steve Waugh, the ’99 final would be the last match of World Cup cricket that he would play, as he retired a year before the 2003 edition, which Australia also won.

For Clarke, he announced his retirement just days before the final, going out in fine fashion with another World Cup trophy, as he will now embody his successors in Ponting and Waugh by playing just Test cricket.

Complete performances in the final
In both tournaments, an all round game of batting, fielding and bowling hadn’t occurred going into their respective finals, with the tournaments being like rollercoaster rides for the separate teams.

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In ’99, a tie in the semi saw them past South Africa, as they were forced to bowl first against the Pakistanis in front of a packed Lord’s crowd.

A stunning Mark Waugh catch set the tone for the day, as they bowled Pakistan out for 132, with Warne taking four wickets and McGrath and Moody taking two each. In 2015, Mitchell Starc was the man who signalled the momentum shift, as he knocked over New Zealand’s captain and danger man Brendon McCullum in the first over of the game to send a full to capacity MCG crowd into hysterics.

James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson then went on to take three wickets each, with the Kiwis being bowled out for 183. In ’99, Adam Gilchrist came out and smacked the Pakistani bowlers (especially Shoaib Akhtar) around to all but seal the deal, with a blistering 54 off 49 balls.

Mark Waugh and Darren Lehmann then saw the Aussies home with ease, as Australia won their second World Cup by eight wickets. For 2015, Gilchrist morphed into David Warner, Shoaib Akhtar transformed into Tim Southee and Mark Waugh and Darren Lehmann took on the shape of Michael Clarke and Steve Smith, as the 2015 side coasted home to win by seven wickets.

Both sides saved their best performances for the game that mattered.

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