On 23rd December 2000, at Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln, the final of the World Cup was played between hosts New Zealand and their Trans-Tasman rivals, Australia.
Both teams went unchallenged through the round robin stages. Australia undefeated and New Zealand losing only one match – the tournament opener versus Australia.
It was a similar tale in the semi-finals. Australia lost just one wicket as they mowed down South Africa’s 180. New Zealand lost only one wicket as they demolished India’s 117 in 26.5 overs. Nobody was in any doubt about that the two best teams would compete in the World Cup final.
White Ferns skipper Emily Drumm won the toss and elected to bat. Runs on the board in the final – a proven formula. However things did not go to plan and the Kiwis struggled to mount a big total – for sure they would need it against the likes of Belinda Clark, Karen Rolton. Against the nagging line of Terry McGregor and Charmaine Mason, and the speed of Cathryn Fitzpatrick, the White Ferns could only manage 184. Surely they were 20-30 runs short.
Opening batter Lisa Keightley, was gone after four deliveries, caught behind by Rebecca Rolls from the bowling of Katrina Keenan. Aussies 1-0. Then disaster struck for the Southern Stars in the third over. Karen Rolton, leading run scorer for the tournament, run out for one. Aussies 2-2. Surely Belinda Clark would clean up this mess. And she did, but when she too was dismissed for 91 in the 42nd over the White Ferns were on top.
Oh the Aussie tail wagged, it always does, and why not? This was the World Cup final! Mason, McGregor, Fitzpatrick. Didn’t they do the hard work already? Called upon to win the tournament with their bats now. But is wasn’t enough. When Mason edged to keeper Rolls, the game was up. New Zealand winners of the World Cup for the first time. A new trophy to adorn the White Fern’s cabinet.
All the drama of a World Cup final, a classic rivalry and victory to the hosts, who despite their record in the tournament, were regarded as the underdogs. No-one told them. On this day, World Cup glory for New Zealand!
New Zealand 184 (Kathryn Ramel 41, Rebecca Rolls 34, Cathryn Fitzpatrick 3-52, Terry McGregor 2-26, Charmaine Mason 2-30) defeated Australia 180 (Belinda Clark 91, Katrina Keenan 2-19, Rachel Pullar 2-35, Clare Nicholson 2-38) by 4 runs