Specials – Revisiting the 2000 ICC Knockout

It has been two decades since the second edition of the ICC Champions Trophy (christened as the ICC Knockout) was contested in Kenya. The 11-team competition ran from 3rd to 15th October, with all ten matches played at Nairobi’s Gymkhana Ground. The defending champions were South Africa, who had won the first edition of the Knockout in Bangladesh two years earlier.

The format gave the top five finishers at the 1999 World Cup – Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe – entry into the quarterfinals. For the remaining three quarterfinal berths, six teams – India, England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh (newly inducted as the tenth full-member nation) and hosts Kenya – battled in a pre-quarterfinal round. Here is a look back at the tournament.

First Pre-Quarterfinal – Kenya v India

India had three debutants – Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Vijay Dahiya. Left-arm seamer Zaheer took 3/48, while leggie Anil Kumble snared 2/22, as Kenya were limited to 208/9. The best stand was 81 for the fourth wicket between Ravindu Shah (60) and captain Maurice Odumbe (51). India rode on fifties from captain Sourav Ganguly (66) and Rahul Dravid (68*) to post an eight-wicket win in the 43rd over.

Second Pre-Quarterfinal – Sri Lanka v West Indies

Sri Lanka were reduced to 10/2 in the fifth over, but Avishka Gunawardene (132) and Mahela Jayawardene (72) put on 160 for the third wicket to boost the total towards 287/6. The West Indies, for whom Marlon Samuels and Kerry Jeremy were debuting, crashed to 85/6 before folding for 179 in the 47th over. Left-arm pacer Nuwan Zoysa captured 3/34, while off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan had figures of 10-4-9-0.

Third Pre-Quarterfinal – Bangladesh v England

Opener Javed Omar retired hurt early in the innings, before returning to remain unbeaten on 63 out of Bangladesh’s total of 232/8. He added 64 for the fourth wicket with captain Naimur Rahman (46). England chased down the target rather comfortably, ensuring victory by eight wickets in the 44th over thanks to a second-wicket stand of 175 between Alec Stewart (87*) and captain Nasser Hussain (95).

Eleven teams battled it out for the 2000 ICC Knockout Trophy (source – imdb.com)

First Quarterfinal – Australia v India

World Cup champions Australia were edged out of the tournament by a resolute India. Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar raced to an opening stand of 66 within 12 overs, with the latter being particularly severe on the usually miserly Glenn McGrath. The left-handed Yuvraj, aged only 18, then took charge in the middle order – he came in at a tricky 90/3 and went on to score 84 from just 80 balls, steering the total to 265/9.

Two overs were deducted from the Australian innings owing to a slow over-rate. Ricky Ponting and Michael Bevan came together at 86/3 to put on 73, but both fell in quick succession to tilt the scales towards India. Captain Steve Waugh, along with Brett Lee, kept Australia alive until he was castled by Zaheer in the 43rd over to make the score 224/8. India held on for a gripping 20-run win with eight balls remaining.

Second Quarterfinal – Pakistan v Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka again endured a wobbly start, falling to 8/2 in the fourth over. But this time they failed to recover, as the pace duo of Wasim Akram (3/40) and Azhar Mahmood (3/52) dictated terms. The innings wound up at 194 in the 46th over. Southpaw Saeed Anwar (105*) added 90 for the first wicket with Imran Nazir and 105* for the second wicket with Yousuf Youhana to seal a nine-wicket win for Pakistan in the 44th over.

Third Quarterfinal – New Zealand v Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe had beaten New Zealand in an ODI series a week earlier, but the Black Caps prevailed this time. New Zealand’s total of 265/7 revolved around Roger Twose (85), who added 95 for the fifth wicket with Craig McMillan (52). In reply, Alastair Campbell (47) and Stuart Carlisle (67) guided the score to 88/1, before off-spinner Paul Wiseman (4/45) came good. The innings eventually ended at 201 in 42.2 overs.      

Fourth Quarterfinal – England v South Africa

An insipid display from England contributed to a facile win for South Africa. Skipper Shaun Pollock (3/27) led the way, first by stifling the openers – five runs were scored in the first eight overs – and then by taking wickets. Graeme Hick hit a spunky 65, but England were bowled out for 182. Jacques Kallis (78*) and Boeta Dippenaar (65*) put on 132* to confirm an eight-wicket victory for the Proteas with 65 balls to spare.  

First Semifinal – New Zealand v Pakistan

As was the case in the 1999 World Cup, Pakistan faced New Zealand with a place in the final at stake. However, they ended up on the losing side on this occasion. Anwar (104) cracked another century before being sixth out at 178. Abdul Razzaq (48) and Akram then struck crucial lower-order runs, even as left-arm pacer Shayne O’Connor bagged 5/46 – the only fifer of the tourney – to help restrict the total to 252.

Mahmood (4/65) reduced New Zealand to 15/2, but Twose (87) rose to the challenge again. The left-hander combined with Nathan Astle (49) for a third-wicket stand of 135, before four wickets fell for 37 to bring Pakistan back. When McMillan (51*) was joined by Scott Styris, New Zealand needed 65 in 71 balls. The duo kept their cool, adding 68* to complete a four-wicket win for New Zealand with an over remaining.

Second Semifinal – India v South Africa

India galloped into the final with a commanding victory over the defending champions. Ganguly led from the front, smashing 141* in 142 balls, studded with 11 fours and six sixes – the highest individual score of the tournament. His second-wicket alliance of 145 with Rahul Dravid (58), followed by a rip-roaring third-wicket stand of 82 with Yuvraj (41) propelled India to a tournament-high total of 295/6.

Zaheer continued his good start to international cricket with the wickets of Andrew Hall and Dippenaar in his first spell, which, along with the run-out of Gary Kirsten, resulted in the score sliding to 28/3 in the fifth over. Despite Mark Boucher’s 60, South Africa were never in the hunt, and were bundled out for 200 in 41 overs. Besides Zaheer, the spin duo of Kumble and Tendulkar also took two wickets each.

Final – India v New Zealand

The two teams produced a see-sawing contest that made for a fitting final. Ganguly and Tendulkar gave India the upper hand after Stephen Fleming won the toss, putting on 141 for the first wicket in 26.3 overs until the latter was run out for 69. Ganguly (117 in 130 balls, with nine fours and four sixes) hit his second successive century, but New Zealand reined in the runs thereafter to keep the total to 264/6.  

Seamer Venkatesh Prasad (3/27) removed Craig Spearman and Fleming with only 37 on the board. Kumble and Tendulkar were among the wickets too, and at 132/5 in the 24th over, New Zealand needed a rescue act. Chris Cairns, coming off a knee injury and batting at number five, found support in Chris Harris. They turned the tide with a sixth-wicket stand of 122 in 25.1 overs, which ended with the wicket of Harris (46).

By this stage, New Zealand required 11 in nine balls, and Cairns had reached his hundred. He hit the winning run off the fourth ball of the last over, finishing on 102* from 113 balls with eight fours and two sixes. New Zealand thus secured their first major title – and a prize of US$ 250,000 – with a four-wicket win. Ganguly (348) was the tournament’s highest run-getter, while Prasad led the bowling with eight scalps.

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