Ponting was hoping to let McGrath, who had announced he was retiring after the match, bowl the last over but the plan came unstuck after a blunder by officials.
The match should have been called off when Sri Lanka's batsmen, knowing they could not win the match, accepted an offer to go off because of bad light, effectively conceding the game.
The Australians began celebrating their victory only to be told by the umpires that the match was not over and another three overs had to be bowled.
But with Kensington Oval in virtual darkness, the Australians agreed not to bowl their seamers, preventing McGrath from bowling the last over.
''I'd actually planned the bowling so that Glenn McGrath could bowl the last over of the match and his career, so I guess we were denied that opportunity as well,'' Ponting told reporters after the team arrived home at Sydney airport today.
Ponting said he was as confused as everyone else when the umpires told him the match would have to resume but harboured no ill feelings towards them.
''We were running around like lunatics thinking we'd won, when (umpire) Aleem Dar came over and told me, well no, actually the game wasn't over yet,'' he said.
''To be honest, I really thought he was joking.
''We get on pretty well, Aleem and I, and we like to have a joke now and then, but I thought this particular one was extremely poorly timed.'' The World Cup was heavily criticised by spectators and media for being too long, but Ponting said the players had no complaints about the length.
Instead, Ponting said he hoped the final would be remembered for Adam Gilchrist producing one of the finest innings in one-day international cricket with 149 off 104 balls.
''Gilly's innings in the final as I have been flat out telling him, it was unbelievable, that was the one difference between the two teams in the final.'' Ponting said.