Australia Starts Like 99, Then...

Australia Starts Like 99, Then...

 "If Australia lose today, the anger will rub off on other teams for the rest of the tournament. Think about what you want.' Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar tweeted during the South Africa-Australia match.

Before that match, the legendary South African batsman AB de Villiers also said the same thing. In a column on the ICC website, de Villiers warned posterity, "A wounded Australia is a very dangerous team."

The question is, why is injured Australia so terrible? Before looking for an answer to this question, let's take a look at the current situation in Australia. Playing as favourites, Australia lost to hosts India in the first match. Australia, who were all out for 199 runs, lost the match by 6 wickets that day. Pat Cummins' loss against South Africa in the next match was even worse. In response to 312 runs, they were all out for 177 runs and lost by 134 runs. But the type of rate was more visible than the rate.

One missed catch after another and not being able to put up any fight. To know the last time such a miserable Australia team was seen, one has to sit with a history book. In total, Australia is now in a corner with two losses in a row. Confidence has also definitely hit rock bottom. The last time such an Australian team was seen at the start of the World Cup was in 1999. Steve Waugh's side started a new reign as they bounced back from the brink of service again and again.

In that World Cup, Australia started their World Cup campaign losing two of their first three matches. Australia started the World Cup with an expected win as the first match was against Scotland. But in the next match they lost against New Zealand by 5 wickets. Wah Bahini also lost in the third match. That loss of 10 runs was against Pakistan.

Australia was cornered after losing two out of three matches. There was no option to win the last two matches to go to the Super Six. For Australia, however, the fortunes were somewhat better. One of the last two matches was against newcomers Bangladesh. Australia won that match easily by 7 wickets.

Even after that victory, the Tasman country was not at ease. Because West Indies came to play against Australia after winning three matches in the group stage. So winning this match was not enough, the challenge was to stay ahead in run rate. And in such a life-and-death match, the duo of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne made West Indies all out for just 110 runs. Australia reached the target after losing 4 wickets.

At the end of the group stage, Pakistan topped the points table in Group B. They had 8 points in 4 wins. New Zealand, Australia and West Indies were tied with 6 points. Australia went into the Super Six by leading only in run rate. But such misery did not leave in the next episode.

However, Australia had a good start in the Super Six. They won the first two matches. But in the next match against New Zealand, Australia tasted defeat again. As a result, the final match of the Super Six was virtually a 'do or die' affair. To play the semi-final, we had to win that day. Australia lost 3 wickets for 48 runs in reply to 272 runs given by South Africa in that match. From there, captain Steve Waugh brought Australia a great victory by playing an unbeaten innings of 120 runs.

However, South Africa's star cricketer Herschel Gibbs also contributed to that match. Gibbs dropped the ball in celebration before taking a catch of 56 runs. Later Waugh told him, 'You threw the World Cup away.' Such was the confidence of the Australian captain. Wah even told reporters before the match, 'We are going to play the semi-finals.'

After that, the drama of Semi is not unknown to anyone. South Africa was given a target of 214 runs in the semi-final. Lance Klusner took the Proteas close to victory with a late storm. In the end, the target was 1 run from 4 balls. And Australia needed 1 wicket. But then it was Kluzner who messed everything up.

A ghostly run saw Allan Donald on a non-strike standing still. When South Africa are all out, there are still two balls left. Australia stunned the Proteas in the final. Australia, who produced drama after drama throughout the tournament, did not add to the nerves in the final. They bowled out Pakistan for 132 runs and won the match by 8 wickets to win their second World Cup title. With that, they started an unparalleled reign in cricket history.

This time again, the loss of the first two matches reminds Schoeb-de Villiers of Australia, who never lose before they lose. Those who know how to turn around when their backs are against the wall. Apart from the World Cup, they also set the example of such unbeaten fight countless times. Pat Cummins therefore knows what tradition they are carrying on. That tradition might wake up the team after losing two matches. Who knows, it might start with a match against Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, Cummins said, "We are ready with our sleeves rolled up...every match is like a final for us."