Dinesh Mongia announced his retirement on Tuesday. The high point of Mongia’s career was being a member of India’s World Cup 2003 squad where they finished as runner-ups. Mongia may have not had much success as a left-arm spinner but in the final, he almost got the big wicket of Australian skipper Ricky Ponting who scored an unbeaten 140 and took Australia to a mammoth total, 359 for 2 which turned out to be too much for the Sourav Ganguly-led side.
As Damien Martyn and Ponting were going strong, Ganguly introduced two left-arm spinners against the two right-handed batsmen. Yuvraj Singh and Mongia were trying to control the run rate and get the breakthrough. The latter almost succeded in the 38th over of the innings but Umpire Steve Bucknor denied him the prized wicket.
Coming round the wicket, Mongia bowled an arm ball. Ponting went for a sweep shot but missed the ball completely, plump in front of the wickets. But Bucknor was unmoved and ruled the decision in Australia’s favour.
Ponting was batting on 46 runs from 68 deliveries. Australia were 223 for 2 in the 37th over. Mongia finished with 39 runs from the seven overs he bowled. Had Australia lost the wicket of Ponting at that moment, and the winners could have scored 20-30 fewer runs than they did or even better had Indian bowlers finished well.
In the death overs, Ricky Ponting wreaked havoc on Indian bowlers at Johannesberg. His 121-ball 140 included four fours and eight sixes.
However, that did not happen as DRS was not available in that era. Succumbing to the pressure of a big total, India were bundled out for 234, losing the final by a huge margin of 125 runs.