Adam Gilchrist, the master of World Cup finals

Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist scored the fastest World Cup final hundred, off just 72 balls, in 2007.

Adam Gilchrist knows a thing or two about World Cup finals. He held the no-mercy placard for every bowler in deciders. The three-time World Cup winner with Australia scored fifties in 1999 and 2003. The intensity doubled in 2007 as he whiplashed the economy rates of the Sri Lankan bowlers for the fastest World Cup century – off just 72 balls – in Bridgetown.

It set the stage for the Aussies, and the islanders were stranded with no boats to ferry them over the finish line. The destructive left-hander clobbered the bowlers for thirteen fours and eight sixes in his 104-ball 149.

He batted for 129 minutes in the 38-over game and ensured a good total: 281 for the loss of four wickets.

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As soon as Gilchrist dismissed a Chaminda Vaas delivery, aimed at his pads, towards the right of long leg to bring up the first four, the message was loud and clear. The next ball flew over wide of mid-on for a six.

Gilchrist barely repeated mistakes. Dilhara Fernando had dropped him off his own bowling on 31. He snatched 14 runs in the remaining balls in a bid to better his judgement. One six kissed the second tier of the stadium; the leather returned with scars.

Sri Lanka had its strategies in place. Fuller deliveries, yorker length, half-volleys, slow left-arm orthodox, off-break. Nothing could stop the Gilchrist onslaught. A Hercules on the leg side, he stood still while clearing the rope off spinners Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan.

After reaching his hundred, he pointed out to the squash ball that he placed in his gloves for better grip.

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At the onset of Duckworth-Lewis calculations that declared Australia victorious amid darkness and flashbulbs, Sri Lanka was reeling at 215 for the loss of eight wickets; the revised target of 269 in 36 overs looked a mammoth task. Behind the stumps, Gilchrist took two catches and pulled off a stumping dismissal.