Rain was the last thing the organizers of the World Cup would have wanted. But the sparkle that the big broad blade of Adam Gilchrist provided took away the gloom of the gun-metal skies that descended as a pale of gloom over the Kensington Oval.
The demolition act from Gilly was the best ever seen on the big stage, even eclipsing the likes of Clive Lloyd (1975), Viv Richards (1979),and Aravinda de Silva 1996). It was a brutal onslaught with a touch of science. The Lankans, I thought, missed out on devising a plan for Gilchrist, who had a quiet World Cup until the summit clash.
The Islanders did well against Hayden, Ponting and Clarke, but missed out on Gilchrist who just had an extra special day in the office. It was clean hitting, and that most of the runs came straight down the ground was testimony to the batsmen's supreme skill sets. The catch Fernando dropped proved too costly in the final analysis. If 30 runs had been chopped of the final tally, things could have been scripted differently.
The chase was always going to look tough for Sri Lanka who had a mountain to climb from ball one. Add the rain, bad light, interruptions and some sustained bowling made it almost impossible for them to get near the target.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara kept their side alive with some imaginative batting but the enormity of the task was always going to get to them at some time, and it’s a pity it happened against some fairly innocuous bowling.
The West Indies bowling in the 80's was so tight that Larry Gomes and Viv always got a few when batsmen went after them thinking a few easy runs were on the anvil. Same with Hogg and Clarke here. The mind set of the batsmen was such they wanted to make up for lost time against them and fell.
The last two finals have been something of a damp squib. They were both dull one-sided affairs. But it was heartening to note the third block of the Asian front throwing up a spunky fight that made the final worthwhile to watch, after all.
Gilchrist richly deserved to leave the World Cup stage with a knock that will be remembered for long. He was in the 'zone' that happens to batsmen once in a few seasons. It happened on the World Cup final, sorrily for Sri Lanka: Gilly had to find that 'zone' on Saturday.
It was a match to remember for Glenn McGrath, who quit the stage with this famous win. He might have not been at his miserly best but finished things in style and deserved every encomium showered on him.
The Cup has gone to the team that had covered every aspect of the game well. No one must grudge the fact they have made the World Cup their own.