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02 February 201505:14

Michael Bevan: The Finisher

It was the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 and Australia was playing England in its final group match at Port Elizabeth. The chance to finish undefeated on top of Pool A was on the line and Australia was chasing 204 runs for victory.

Michael Bevan: The Finisher - Cricket News

Michael Bevan is regarded as one of the greatest ODI cricketers of all time

It may have seemed a modest total but eight overs in and the Aussies were in deep trouble, having lost Matthew Hayden (1), Adam Gilchrist (22), Damien Martyn (0) and Ricky Ponting (18) to sit 48-4.

Enter Michael Bevan.

The one-day international great, known as ‘The Finisher’, held strong while his teammates fell around him, but the game remained on the line when he was joined at the crease by Andy Bichel with Australia 135-8 and still needing 70 runs to win.

Bevan finished that game on 74 not out and Bichel 34 not out as they reached the total with two balls remaining.

Bichel’s own efforts in that match were mammoth – the bowler had already taken 7-20 during England’s innings, rightly earning himself a nod as man of the match.

The pair combined again soon after in the Super Sixes match against New Zealand, when Bevan scored a courageous 56 and Bichel 64 as they helped Australia recover from 84-7 to score 208. Australia went on to win by 96 runs, thanks to the bowling of Brett Lee (5-42) and Glenn McGrath (3-29).

What made Bevan’s performances in the 2003 World Cup more impressive was the fact he had entered the tournament with a groin injury, suffered during the final of the triangular series one-day final against England in Melbourne the previous month.

As a result, he missed the first match of the tournament and did not have a chance to bat until Australia’s fifth group game against Namibia, where he scored 17.

Bevan’s efforts helping Australia off the mat during the 2003 World Cup were just two of the countless times the batsman – acknowledged by many as the world’s greatest limited overs batsman - saved Australia from disaster during his 232-match ODI career.

He was part of Australia’s winning 1999 and 2003 World Cup squads – scoring an important 65 runs in the famous 1999 semi-final tie against South Africa – as well as the 1996 team which finished runners-up to Sri Lanka.

Michael Bevan ICC Cricket World Cup record:

Matches: 26
Runs: 537
Average: 44.75
Highest Score: 74*

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