One was the undisputed king of motorsport, while the other was an unstoppable force at cricket World Cups. But who was more dominant?
Welcome to ESPN’s fan vote, where you, the reader and sports fan, will decide which individual or team has been the most dominant in the 21st century.
Our latest match-up pits the undisputed king of motorsport Michael Schumacher against Ricky Ponting’s World Cup invincibles.
(Please vote in the poll at the bottom of this page to decide the winner)
Michael Schumacher with Ferrari (2000-2004)
Michael Schumacher won the first race of this millennium, the 2000 Australian Grand Prix, and that set the tone. He would go on to win that year’s World Championship, and the next, and the next… for five years, back to back.
Between 2000 and 2004, he won 48 out of 85 races and went about setting records that stand to this day. In 2002, he became the only driver in F1 history to finish in the top three in every race of the season. In 2004, he went on a quite ridiculous run, winning 12 of the first 13 races (the one miss was when he crashed out of the Monaco GP, while leading). He was relentless, brilliant, and made winning look routine.
Oh, and for those who dismiss it as wins for car more than driver, a reminder — Ferrari had not won a World Championship for 17 years before Schumacher joined in 1996. They had won seven by the time he left in 2006 [all him, of course].
Punter’s World Cup invincibles (2003-2007)
Put the Australian team into a 50-over World Cup match in the noughties, and watch them either crush their opposition, or find a way to manufacture a victory out of a tricky situation. Ricky Ponting oversaw two unbeaten Australian campaigns, in South Africa in 2003 and in the West Indies in 2007, carrying on from an already existing sequence of seven successive unbeaten matches — important to remember this match was a tie — under his predecessor Steve Waugh in 1999.
Ponting’s Australia won 11 matches apiece in both 2003 and 2007, and then extended the Australian unbeaten streak at World Cups to 32 in India in 2011, before losing to Pakistan and India, the latter knocking them out of the tournament. Those were Australia’s first defeats at the World Cup in 142 months.
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