World Cup Clash Australia vs South Africa Showdown.

In his very first World Cup delivery, Allan Donald denied the opposition a wicket. He led a determined South African bowling effort at Sydney Cricket Ground, where the World Cup co-hosts struggled to gain momentum. The show wasn’t all about Donald, as the fielding was exceptional, and Adrian Kuiper made significant breakthroughs by dismissing Geoff Marsh and Allan Border consecutively.

Australia couldn’t fully recover from these setbacks, with Donald further restraining their middle and lower order, dismissing Tom Moody, Ian Healy, and Peter Taylor. Though four batsmen reached twenty runs, David Boon and Steve Waugh’s meager 27 was the highest. In pursuit of 171, a steady partnership was all that was needed. Captain Kepler Wessels anchored the innings, remaining unbeaten on 81, and he contributed a 74-run partnership for the opening wicket with Andrew Hudson and an unbeaten 97-run partnership with Peter Kirsten (48*), securing a comfortable 9-wicket victory.

The famous urban legend claims that Steve Waugh, with Herschelle Gibbs dropping a simple catch at mid-wicket while Waugh was batting on 56, said, You’ve just dropped the World Cup.” This prophecy returned to haunt South Africa in the days that followed. More importantly, the dropped catch provided Waugh with another chance, and he went on to score an unbeaten 120, securing a semi-final spot for his team.

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The match was a rollercoaster of fortunes, with South Africa initially holding the upper hand. Herschelle Gibbs played a fine century and built crucial partnerships with Daryl Cullinan and Jonty Rhodes. Lance Klusener, the eventual Man of the Series, added the finishing touches, and South Africa finished with 271 runs on the board.

Things looked bleak for Australia when they were reduced to 48 for three in the 12th over. However, Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh revived the innings, adding 131 runs for the fourth wicket. When Ponting was dismissed, Waugh partnered first with Michael Bevan and then with Tom Moody to chase down the remaining runs, keeping Australia in contention. It was Waugh’s second ODI hundred, and his first since January 1996.

On June 17, 1999, a match involving Klusener, Donald, and the Headingley tie became a part of cricketing folklore. It’s widely regarded as one of the greatest World Cup matches ever. Australia batted first at Edgbaston and were struggling at 68 for 4, with Allan Donald taking two wickets. Just like the previous encounter, Steve Waugh came to the rescue, forming a valuable partnership with Michael Bevan for the fourth wicket, adding 90 runs. Shaun Pollock triggered another collapse, and Bevan was the last to be dismissed for 65. South Africa found themselves bowled out for 213.

South Africa began their chase well, reaching 48 without loss, but Shane Warne’s introduction turned the tide. In the space of 13 balls, Warne accounted for Gibbs, Gary Kirsten, and Hansie Cronje in a controversial dismissal. Daryl Cullinan was soon run out, and South Africa went from 48 for no loss to 61 for 4. Jacques Kallis fought valiantly from one end, receiving support from Jonty Rhodes and Shaun Pollock.

Klusener played another remarkable innings, keeping his team in the hunt despite wickets falling around him. In a pivotal moment, Reiffel dropped Klusener in the penultimate over, and the ball went for a crucial six. This set the stage for the final over, with 9 runs required, 1 wicket in hand, Klusener on strike, Donald at the non-striker’s end, and Damien Fleming as the bowler.

The first ball was slightly overpitched, and Klusener drove it past cover. The second ball was fuller, and Klusener’s power allowed him to place it wide of mid-off. The equation read 1 run required from 4 balls. The third ball was short, leading to a mistimed pull to mid-on. Strangely, the non-striker, Donald, had backed up too far. A direct hit from Lehmann could have sealed the match, but he missed, and the South African number eleven survived.

The game was effectively over on the next ball. Klusener attempted an improbable single after mistiming a drive to mid-off. Donald was ball-watching, and by the time he realized, Klusener was next to him. Fleming rolled the ball to Gilchrist, and South Africa’s World Cup dreams came to an abrupt end. Despite the match ending in a tie, Australia advanced to the final against Pakistan due to their victory in the Super Six stage.

On March 24, 2007, South Africa faced Australia once again at Warner Park, eight years after the Edgbaston drama. Australia batted first and scored 377 for 6, with Matthew Hayden making a century and Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke contributing nineties. South Africa had successfully chased 434 in Johannesburg a year earlier, but this time, they fell short by 83 runs, getting bundled out for 294.

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On April 25, 2007, South Africa chose to bat first and had a disastrous start, finding themselves at 27 for 5 within 10 overs. Only three players managed to reach double figures, with Justin Kemp remaining unbeaten on 49 from 91 balls. Herschelle Gibbs scored 39, but South Africa could only manage 149. Shaun Tait and Glenn McGrath were the chief tormentors, taking seven wickets between them. Australia stumbled early in their chase but managed to secure victory with a partnership between Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke.

On July 6, 2019, in a match that was a dead rubber in terms of the tournament scenario, South Africa batted first, with captain Faf du Plessis scoring a century. Australia chased admirably, led by David Warner’s century and Alex Carey’s significant contribution. Despite a late wicket haul by Kagiso Rabada, Australia fell short by just 10 runs.

Reference

https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/128038/world-cup-head-to-head-australia-vs-south-africa-cricbuzzcom

https://www.sportskeeda.com/cricket/australia-vs-south-africa-head-to-head-world-cup

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