2. Steve Waugh (Australia) – 120* vs South Africa, 1999
With losses to Pakistan and New Zealand meant that Australia had no space for error and their captain Steve Waugh was under enormous pressure. But as they say, champions rise when they are down. Steve Waugh rose to the occasion, for he very well knew they had to beat the Proteas at any cost. On the back of a wonderful blistering hundred by Hershelle Gibbs, South Africa posted 271 on the board. Waugh walked in at the crease with his side struggling at 48 for 3. Waugh was joined by Ricky Ponting, who was not having a good time. Ponting was inspired by his captain Steve Waugh and convinced Ponting to go play his natural game. Steve Waugh went calmly and eased through the innings never allowing the bowlers to get the better of him. Waugh had flicked a Kluesner delivery to Gibbs who was one of the best fielders around. But destiny had other ideas, Gibbs completed the catch but while in his urge to celebrate he dropped the ball. This incident would hinder Gibbs for a long time and even now, for he knew he had dropped the World Cup. After that Steve Waugh was in devil’s mode, he never had any respect for any bowler- not even Donald who was one of the best in the era. Bevan and Tom Moody played good cameos and provided good support to the captain. Steve Waugh finished a well fought victory with a magnificent century and remaining not out on 120 from 110 balls. It has to rank as one of the best innings ever played in a World Cup, if not the best. He is no.2 in the list.