1. Matthew Hayden: 659 runs at 73.22; three hundreds and one fifty
Australia dominated by attacking the opposition teams early, and making their shoulders droop by the 20th over. Matthew Hayden's sublime form made sure that this tactic never backfired on them. It is easy to stereotype Hayden, but his game wasn't just about bashing everything that was bowled to him. He often began slowly, scoped out bowlers and pitches, and planned his assaults. He played the waiting game when he had to, and the supporting role when it was required of him, such as in the final. And he didn't just bludgeon boundaries, but dropped the ball into the infield and ran furiously. Like Australia, he was daunting.
2. Adam Gilchrist: 453 runs at 45.3; one hundred and two fifties
Before the final, we admit it, the wicketkeeper's slot was destined for either Kumar Sangakkara or the spirited Paul Nixon. But Gilchrist is a man for the big occasion: he made 54 off 36 in the 1999 final, quickly wiping out all hope of Pakistan defending their low score, and 57 off 48 in the 2003 final, putting the Indians on the back foot, where they stayed. His 149 in the final, off 104 balls, was one of the great one-day innings. And it buried Sri Lanka. No one else in the game, from his side or any other, played with nearly as much ease. After his innings, the result was a formality.
Text: Amit Varma
Amit Varma runs the website, India Uncut.
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