The 2004 ICC Champions Trophy took place in England during the month of September, when international cricket is traditionally quiet. Again, 12 teams competed with Kenya, who qualified through their ODI status, and the USA, making their ODI debut, joining the ten Test nations. The USA qualified by winning the Six Nations Challenge over more-fancied teams like Canada, Namibia, and the Netherlands.

GROUP AGROUP BGROUP CGROUP D
AustraliaSouth Africa`PakistanSri Lanka
New ZealandWest IndiesIndiaEngland
USABangladesh KenyaZimbabwe

Played in three groups of four, only the winner of each group would have the honour of advancing to the semi-finals.  The groups were organised according to world rankings as of December 1st 2003, which meant eight-placed New Zealand were placed in Group A with the number one side, Australia,  and the new kids on the pitch, USA. Given the inexperience of the USA, it was easy to see that the winner of Australia v New Zealand match would advance.

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New Zealand’s first game would be against the USA on the September 10th at The Oval and it would emphasise the vast gap between the established ODI nations and the emerging American side.  New Zealand lost the toss – a common result for BLACKCAPS’ skippers at Champions Trophy tournaments – and were sent in to bat.

In another common Champions Trophy theme, New Zealand lost an opener early as Stephen Fleming fell in the sixth over for just 15. Hamish Marshall wouldn’t stay too long either, making 11. Nathan Astle and Scott Styris would anchor the innings, putting on a 163 run partnership before Styris was dismissed for 75. After Chris Cairns’ innings was short-lived, Craig McMillan came out swinging, reaching his 50 off just 21 balls and eventually making 64* with 7 sixes and 2 fours. Through all of this, Nathan Astle’s century was the highlight of the New Zealand innings, as he carried his bat for 145* – his 14th ODI century. The BLACKCAPS made 347 for 4 from their 50 overs.  

USA would get off to a good start, reaching 50 without loss. Unfortunately, once their first wicket fell in the 10th over, wickets fell on a regular basis as they were bowled out for 137 inside 43 overs. The BLACKCAPS comfortably winning by 210 runs.

Clayton Lambert was the standout performer for the USA, making 39. Interestingly, in spite of this being the USA’s first ODI, Lambert had some experience in the format having made his ODI debut for the West Indies in 1990. Jacob Oram was the best of the BLACKCAP’S bowlers, taking 5 for 36 – his second five-wicket haul in ODIs.

After Australia also easily accounted for the USA, it was confirmed that New Zealand would need victory over Australia to advance from Group A.

2004 ICC Champions Trophy
Kasprowicz appeals for an lbw of Cairns during the ICC Champions Trophy. Photograph © Photosport/Graham Morris/cricketpix.com

Four days after their win over the USA, the BLACKCAPS would take on Australia at the Oval. Australia won the toss and chose to bowl.  The decision immediately paid off for Australia as the BLACKCAPS were left reeling at 49 for 4. The BLACKCAPS would never recover and the only shining light of the innings was a 68-run partnership between Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum for the ninth wicket which saw them through to 198. Michael Kasprowicz was the pick of the Australian bowlers in taking 3 for 32 while Glenn McGrath, after struggling early on, recovered to post similar figures with 3 for 39.

If the BLACKCAPS were to defend 198, it would take a great effort from their bowlers. Although they had brought Kyle Mills in to the team in place of Daryl Tuffey, his fresh arm wouldn’t assist in an chasing an unlikely victory.

Jacob Oram opened the bowling and immediately found success, grabbing the wicket of Adam Gilchrist with just his fourth ball. Ricky Ponting would be next to go, bowled by Styris having struggled to 14 off 29 balls. Unfortunately, from that point, the New Zealand bowlers never really threated, only taking one more wicket as Australia cruised to the target with 13.2 overs to spare.

Andrew Symonds was the pick of the Australian batsman as he smashed an unbeaten 71 off only 42 balls. Australia’s cruise to victory meant they would advance to the semi-finals where they would be face the hosts, England, while the other semi would see Pakistan play the West Indies.

England claimed an upset victory in their semi-final against Australia after holding the Australians to 259 for 9. England backed up their bowling performance with superb bating as they reached the Australian’s total with 21 balls and 6 wickets to spare. England’s top order standing up when it counted: Marcus Trescothick made 81, Michael Vaughan 86, and Andrew Strauss 52*.

The second semi-final saw a similar result with a dominant 7-wicket win to the West Indies. Pakistan only made 131 which the West Indies comfortably chased down.

2004 ICC Champions Trophy
The BLACKCAPS line up with all the squads involved in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy

The final took place at The Oval on the 25th of September. Throughout the tournament it was common practice for the team winning the toss to choose to bowl and this didn’t stop when the West Indies put England in to bat. England made 217 built off a century from Trescothick, backing up his semi-final 81. England would rue his run out for 104, however, as they lost their last 4 wickets for just 6 runs.

While it wasn’t a massive total, it was enough to make the match a spectacle as the two sides were very evenly matched on the day. With 7 balls remaining, the West Indies pulled off a win with two wickets to spare. At one stage, they were 147 for 8 but an impressive 71-run partnership between Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw saw them to victory.

Ramnaresh Sarwan was named player of the series while two players from the host nation took out the other two awards: Marcus Trescothick was the top run-scorer (261) while Andrew Flintoff led the wicket-takers with 9 wickets