1999 World Cup: Mark Waugh carves a stroke to cherish

Wasim Akram was bowling quick and on the stumps, and Mark Waugh waited for his moment to hit a scorching cover drive, as good as any you would have seen.

Mark Waugh’s silken grace was a memorable sight as he would caress the ball to the boundary as if not wanting to hurt it.   -  Getty Images

Mark Waugh was sheer brilliance at the crease. A delight to watch for the purist. His best innings came against the best attacks and mostly on challenging pitches. He was always there during a winning cause. He was one of the consistent batsmen of the 1999 World Cup that saw Australia play some outstanding cricket.

Waugh’s batting complemented his excellent fielding as he took some incredible catches. One of the all-time best fielders in the close-in cordon, he could chip in as a bowler, too.

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In eight innings in the 1999 World Cup, Waugh aggregated 375 runs with one century and two half centuries at an average of 41.66. His silken grace was a memorable sight as he would caress the ball to the boundary as if not wanting to hurt it and the bowler with a crass attempt to score the maximum.

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He stood fourth in the list of highest run-scorers for the tournament behind Rahul Dravid (461), his twin Steve Waugh (398) and Sourav Ganguly (379).

The Australian team could rely on Mark Waugh at the top as he opened with Adam Gilchrist and set the tone for the innings. After sterling knocks of 83 against India and 104 against Zimbabwe, he failed against South Africa in a league match and the semifinal, but kept his cool in the final against Pakistan at Lord’s, where he produced an unforgettable shot.

Wasim Akram was bowling quick and on the stumps, and Waugh waited for his moment. It came soon when he went down on his right knee and struck a scorching cover drive, as good as any you would have seen. There was class written all over as the ball hit the boundary rope in a flash. It was a stroke to cherish!