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Sunday, June 20, 1999 Published at 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK


Pakistan fireworks fizzle out

Pakistan supporters continue revelling at Lord's despite their team's defeat

BBC cricket commentator Ralph Dellor sees Australia crowned world champions at Lord's.

There were a number of journalists who thought about retiring shortly before the World Cup final.

They were being offered anything up to £1,500 for press tickets by Pakistani fans desperate to get into Lord's.

In fact, so determined was one man to see the game that he had installed himself in a toilet on Thursday complete with a supply of food intended to last him until the match began, when he would emerge to take his place in the crowd.

He was found by security guards and Plan A had failed.

Had he managed to avoid capture, there is some doubt whether he would have regarded his vigil as being worthwhile.

Supporters silenced

So easy was the Australian victory that the flag-waving, whistle-blowing, horn-sounding Pakistani supporters had little to get excited about.

So much have they added to the flavour and colour of the tournament that it was rather sad to see them looking for some sort of excuse to let their fire-crackers off after the game.


[ image: Shoaib Akhtar feels the heat as his figures take a battering]
Shoaib Akhtar feels the heat as his figures take a battering
On the field, it was the Australians who provided all the pyrotechnics.

With one exception, when Glann McGrath dropped Abdul Razzaq off as simple a chance as long-off is likely to get, did Australia look anything other than totally dominant.

At that moment, there was just the chance that Australian heads might go down and that Pakistan might recover from a disappointing start.

It did not happen. Steve Waugh held a catch in the covers when Razzaq had scored a mere three more runs and the downhill path of the innings was gaining momentum.

There were several pundits ready to claim that the Pakistani batsmen would play Shane Warne far better than the South Africans had in that epic semi-final.

If that was the case, one dreads to think what havoc Warne would have wreaked in the South African ranks.

He only needed to bowl nine overs, turning the ball prodigiously to pick up his four for 33 and bag his second consecutive man of the match award.

It was a superb display of his craft, to which the batsmen had no answer.


[ image: Shane Warne sees off Moin Khan, as the collapse continues]
Shane Warne sees off Moin Khan, as the collapse continues
His fourth wicket summed up the whole game.

Wasim Akram, on whose shoulders such weighty hopes rested, swept Warne limply to mid-wicket where Steve Waugh held the catch.

It was the same position in which Waugh himself was so foolishly dropped by Herschelle Gibbs in the last Super Six match.

That was the moment when Australia were saved from elimination.

It was reported that the Australian captain said to Gibbs that he had "just dropped the World Cup".

When Waugh held on to the chance offered by Wasim, he was defiantly putting his own hands on the trophy.

Cruise time

After that, Pakistan's only chance was to take early wickets. Shoaib Akhtar ran in like a man possessed, but he finished with appalling figures of 4-0-37-0.

Six of those runs came when Adam Gilchrist top-edged a cut and the ball flew over the third man boundary.

Gilchrist was on his way to a half century, and although a couple of wickets fell before the target was reached, there was never any doubt that Australia would reach it.

They did so with 179 balls to spare.

There was never any chance of a repeat of that sensational semi-final at Edgbaston - but the one-sided nature of the final was a disappointment to everyone who wanted to see the type of close contest which has been the rule between the major players in the competition.

Australians will not worry about that. They came within a whisker of elimination early on, but drew strength from that close shave and went on to triumph.

In 1992, there was a side which similarly came within minutes of elimination from the World Cup in Australia.

They were saved from certain defeat in a qualifying match against England and went on to win the final.

That side was Pakistan. The wheel of fortune has turned full circle.



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