Probably the finest one-day cricket match I ever saw was the tied semi-final of the 1999 world cup between Australia and South Africa. I doubt that any true cricket fan will ever forget Herschelle Gibbs’ drop of Steve Waugh in the previous match and the impact it had on the semi-final, nor the efforts of Lance Klusener who smashed his way to 31 off just 16 balls, and the desperate run-out of Allan Donald.
I am therefore desperately disappointed to have missed today’s match between the two sides, which would in all likelihood have surpassed that semi-final in 1999 for excitement and memorability. Australia smashed 434-5 in their 50 overs, with Ricky Ponting at 3rd batsman scoring 164 off 105 balls. This broke to smithereens the previous ODI record of 398-5 scored by Sri Lanka against Kenya in 1995. When South Africa were presented with this total they must have felt all was lost, and thrown caution to the wind. If so, it was a tactic which paid off, because Graham Smith scored 90 runs off 56 balls, and Herschelle Gibbs, following in Ponting’s footsteps at 3rd batsman, promptly trumped his rival by smashing 175 off 111 balls. Ricky Ponting must have been rubbing his eyes in disbelief.
With no wickets to spare, and one ball left in the game, South Africa ended the match on 438, having broken the record set by Australia a few hours before. An ending this tense, with scores like these from each team, is unlikely to happen again for a long, long time.
Why, oh why, did I not find a pub which was showing it?
I have heard from a South African colleague that a DVD is going to be released which will show the entire game. This is a must have, and somewhat of a consolation for not having seen it live.