19 years ago today, Australia and South Africa played out an all-time classic.
It is, without doubt, one of the most dramatic incidents in the history of the ICC Cricket World Cup, if not cricket as a whole.
Scores level, one wicket remaining. Then, mayhem.
On this day in 1999, Australia and South Africa met in the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup, and Lance Klusener and Allan Donald found themselves involved in a run out that will forever be remembered.
Having bowled out Australia for 213, South Africa sat on 213/9 with four balls remaining, after Klusener hit consecutive fours off the first two balls of the final over to level the scores.
Klusener, who had been in sensational form throughout the whole tournament – averaging 140 with the bat and winning Player of the Tournament – was on 31 and on strike, simply needing a single to book South Africa’s spot in the World Cup Final for the first time in their history.
The third ball was a sign of things to come, as Donald was very nearly run out at the non-striker’s end.
Then came the drama. Klusener hit a Damien Fleming yorker straight, and while he ran, Donald didn’t.
Eventually, Donald dropped his bat and attempted to complete the single. But, Fleming had already rolled the ball to Adam Gilchrist, who in turn had taken the stumps out and booked Australia’s spot in the final in the most dramatic of fashions.
It was a heart-breaking end for Klusener, who had enjoyed an almost faultless World Cup until that point.
“I was upset with myself that maybe I could have been a bit more patient,” said Klusener, looking back on that infamous incident.
“But, I guess hindsight is a brilliant science. You can always say ‘what if we’d waited’ or whatever, but those last two balls could have been brilliant yorkers and we could be sitting saying ‘why didn’t we take our opportunity early on’.
“I was a little bit cross with myself that I hadn’t been as patient in trying to get that one more run, but that’s the beauty of the game. I’m always one for taking that opportunity when it’s there. I thought that was the right opportunity, it didn’t turn out to be.”
Australia paceman Fleming was the man tasked with bowling the last over, but in fact turned out to be the hero thanks to his run out.
“For the fourth ball, I finally got the yorker in the right spot and I remember Lance just running, and AD [Allan Donald] wasn’t sure whether to run.
“Mark Waugh fields, the ball comes to me, and I proceed to underarm the ball to poor Adam Gilchrist, because it’s going about a centimetre an hour – it’s going that slow! “Eventually, a more aged Adam Gilchrist takes the ball, takes the stumps and that’s the reason you play sport and cricket for, that pure euphoria knowing you’ve got yourself through, into a final.”
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