ICC World Cup 2007: Ricky Ponting sets two World Cup cricket records as Australia decimate Scotland
Ricky Ponting celebrates his hundred; did he know he had set two World Cup cricket records that day? © Getty Images

Australia, unbeaten since that defeat against New Zealand in ICC Cricket World Cup 1999, had entered 2007 on a low. Going into ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, Australia had lost five ODIs on the trot. They started their ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 campaign against Scotland and Basseterre, and as expected, routed them with ease. Abhishek Mukherjee looks back at March 14, 2007 — a day when Ricky Ponting set two World Cup records.

Australia were not having a good time in 2006-07. They reached the final of the Commonwealth Bank Series at home, but Paul Collingwood took away the first final at MCG from them with a hundred, while a burst from Liam Plunkett helped rout them in the second final at SCG. Then they toured New Zealand, where Michael Hussey led Australia in Ricky Ponting’s absence.

Playing at Westpac Stadium, Australia were bowled out for 148 by a rampant Shane Bond and lost by 10 wickets. Hussey himself scored a hundred in the next ODI at Eden Park, but Ross Taylor masterminded a 337-run chase with time to spare. Australia went a step ahead at Seddon Park, reaching 346 with Matthew Hayden amassing 181 not out and reducing New Zealand to 41 for four; this time Craig McMillan was the hero, with Peter Fulton and Brendon McCullum providing support and Mark Gillespie providing the finishing touches.

In short, Australia were certainly not rank favourites going into ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. They were placed in the same group as South Africa, Scotland, and Netherlands, which meant that qualifying for the Super Eights would not be a problem — but were they good enough to retain the title?

Punter’s records

It was under these circumstances that Ponting went out to toss with Craig Wright, and asked to bat. It was a no-contest: Hayden and Adam Gilchrist saw off the first two overs before imploding: fifty came up in 45 balls, and when Gilchrist was trapped leg-before by former England pacer Dougie Brown (he had also played for Namibia, though not in ODIs), Australia had already put up 91.

Ponting walked out, and reached a thousand runs in World Cup cricket with an on-driven four off Brown. He lost Hayden after a 48-run stand, but Michael Clarke provided with support. Ponting lofted Majid Haq over his head for six and swept him for four three balls later; he cleared long-off against Glenn Rogers off the next over; and brought up his fifty from 48 balls.

He lost Clarke next, but Brad Hodge, the new man, was content with giving the strike back to Ponting, who lofted both Rogers and Haq into the stands over the sightscreen. There was a brief rain interruption; Hodge holed one to cover; but an unperturbed Ponting reached his hundred off 85 balls with an on-driven single off Rogers.

In the process Ponting became the first man to register hundreds in back-to-back innings spread over World Cups. He had slammed 140 not out against India in ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 final. Ponting remains the only one to have achieved this.

He was not to be stopped. There was another record to be taken, which was achieved when he slogged Brown over square-leg. He reached 110, which meant he had scored 250 runs without being out in World Cup cricket. This was a record in World Cup cricket (Rahul Dravid, with 104 not out and 145 — an aggregate of 249 without being dismissed — held the previous record). The record has only been surpassed by Kumar Sangakkara, when he amassed a whopping 326 (105*, 117*, 104) without being dismissed in ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.

Mopping up Scotland

Ponting fell shortly afterwards, being bowled by Wright, trying to go for an almighty slog. Brad Hogg joined Shane Watson, and launched a furious assault, finishing with 4, 1, 6, 6, 2, 4, 6, 2, 4; the last two overs went for 43; Brown, conceding 26 off his last over, finished with figures of 9-0-86-1, while Hogg remained unbeaten on a 15-ball 40.

Haq and Fraser Watts hung around for 35 balls before they got involved in a comedy of errors: Haq drove to cover; they scampered for a single; Clarke missed the direct hit; they went for the overthrow as the ball raced towards Glenn McGrath; having completed the second run, they attempted a third, but this time greed got the better of Haq.

Shaun Tait took out Navdeep Poonia, and once McGrath came on (first-change, after Nathan Bracken and Tait), Scotland were quickly reduced to 42 for five in the 16th over as McGrath’s figures read 3.3-0-8-3. Colin Smith, the Scottish gloveman, was last out for a defiant 76-ball 51, deceived by Hogg’s sharp turn; bowled out for 131, Scotland lost by 203 runs.

What followed?

- Scotland were eliminated without a single win. They are still searching for that elusive victory in World Cup cricket.

- Australia put up what was perhaps the most emphatic performance in a single edition of World Cup cricket: they beat Scotland by 203 runs, Netherlands by 229 runs, South Africa by 83 runs, West Indies by 103 runs, Bangladesh by 10 wickets, England by 7 wickets, Ireland by 9 wickets, Sri Lanka by 7 wickets, New Zealand by 215 runs, South Africa by 7 wickets in the semi-final, and Sri Lanka by 53 runs in the final. It was as comprehensive as it gets.

Brief scores:

Australia 334 for 6 in 50 overs (Adam Gilchrist 46, Matthew Hayden 60, Ricky Ponting 113, Brad Hogg 40*; Majid Haq 2 for 49) beat Scotland 131 in 40.1 overs (Colin Smith 51; Shaun Tait 2 for 45, Glenn McGrath 3 for 14) by 203 runs.

Man of the Match: Ricky Ponting.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Chief Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)