Today, it is tough to dominate a given format and the No.1 title is shifting from team to team. But almost a decade back, Australia dominated the scene winning 21 consecutive ODI matches – twice more than the earlier record – that started in January and ended in May including the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Here’s a look at that streak:
THE EARLIER RECORD – West Indies had the previous record, set 18 years back. West Indies had done it in England and Australia. Three teams challenged the record – Australia and Pakistan in 1990 and West Indies themselves 2 years earlier. South Africa also had 2 streaks of 10 wins – in 1996 and 2000.
THE START – Sri Lanka joined England in Australia for the VB Tri-Series 2002/03. Australia had a good start to the tournament clinching easy wins against both teams. Sri Lanka came back limiting the hosts to 264 after they scored 343/5. Australia had lost their first match of the tri-series, but it turned out to be their last match lost till May. Australia faced England next at Hobart and managed to sneak through by just 7 runs to begin the streak.
THE TRIUMPH – In the first final against England at SCG, the Australian pace trio of Brad Williams, Brett Lee and Andy Bichel bowled out England for just 117. The Australian openers added further misery chasing the score without loosing a wicket. The 2nd final was more competitive with Australia defending 229 by winning by 5 runs and claim the best of 3 finals 2-0
THE INVINCIBLE – The Australian team arrived in South Africa to defend their World Cup crown won in 1999.
They had won 6 games in a row but turned it into 17 winning every game of the long tournament. Besides a 2-wicket win against England, they won the others convincingly including a 256-run trouncing of Namibia. They defeated Sri Lanka in the semis by 48 runs and then India by 125 runs in the final to conquer their 3rd World Cup trophy.
THE END OF THE STREAK – They toured West Indies with full confidence and continued their good performance and won the first 4 matches to take the series with 3 games remaining. Australia decided to rest players and give chances to fringe players and West Indies used it to their advantage to win the next 3 games and end Australia’s long streak.
THE IMPACT OF RECORD – The winning streak was double the previous record and 10 years later no team has come close to beating it. The closest is South Africa who notched up 12 wins in 2005 with 3 series wins over Zimbabwe, West Indies and New Zealand.