Australia and South Africa are facing off in the World Cup.

Australia and South Africa are facing off in the World Cup.


Allan Donald led a determined South African bowling attack at the Sydney Cricket Ground as the World Cup co-hosts struggled to get going after being denied a wicket with his very first World Cup ball. Although the fielding was excellent and Adrian Kuiper broke the back by dismissing Geoff Marsh and Allan Border off consecutive deliveries, it wasn't an all-Donald performance. As Donald returned to stifle the middle and lower order, returning with the wickets of Tom Moody, Lan Healy, and Peter Taylor in the process, Australia never completely recovered from the defeats.

As many as four batsmen pushed it above the twenty-run mark, but David Boon and Steve Waugh's meager 27 was the highest total. All that was required to reach the goal of 171 was a reliable collaboration. In order to secure a comfortable 9-wicket victory, captain Kepler Wessels dropped the anchor while still undefeated on 81. He then accumulated 74 runs with Andrew Hudson for the first wicket and another unbroken 97 runs with Peter Kirsten (48*).

13th June 1999: Steve Waugh and the 'dropped catch' help keep Australia alive.

The urban legend claims that Steve Waugh told Herschelle Gibbs, "You've just dropped the World Cup," after the South African batsman dropped a dolly of a catch at midwicket with the Australian captain batting on 56.

The prophecy came back to haunt South Africa in the days that followed, but more significantly for Australia, the dropped catch gave Waugh another chance to live. Waugh went on to score an undefeated 120, clinching a spot for his team in the semifinals. In a game of varying fortunes, South Africa dominated for the majority of the time. Gibbs also played flawlessly, scoring a superb century and forming important partnerships with Jonty Rhodes and Daryl Cullinan. South Africa finished with 271 points on the board thanks to Lance Klusener, the eventual Man of the Series.

When Australia was down to 48 for three in the 12th over, everything appeared to be going well. However, Ricky Ponting and Waugh saved the innings by adding 131 runs for the fourth wicket. When the former was eliminated, Waugh teamed up with Tom Moody and Michael Bevan to eliminate the remaining runs and keep his team in contention. The wait was well worth it because it was Waugh's second ODI hundred and his first since January 1996.

On June 17, 1999, Klusener and Donald played in the greatest one-day game ever.

Is this the best World Cup match in the tournament's history? It's difficult to argue against it because it contained everything: drama, game-related emotions, a hint of controversy, a brilliant moment, and eventually, a memorable dramatic sequence. Less than four days after the Headingley Classic, the two teams faced again in the 1999 World Cup semifinals thanks to Herschelle Gibbs' dropped catch and Steve Waugh's century. When given the opportunity to bat first at Edgbaston, Australia promptly collapsed to 68 for 4, losing two wickets to Allan Donald.

Similar to the previous match, Australia's skipper, Steve Waugh, came to the team's aid and partnered with Michael Bevan, who was a capable batsman, as they added 90 runs for the fourth wicket. Bevan was the final man out for 65 runs as Australia was bowled out for 213, but Shaun Pollock ensured another collapse.

South Africa got off to a strong start, and when Warne was added to the assault, they were cruising along at 48 for no loss. He dismissed Gibbs in the span of 13 balls, bowled by Gary Kirsten's game-winning ball and amid some controversy following Hansie Cronje's dismissal. Soon after being run out, Daryl Cullinan, South Africa went from 48 for no loss to 61 for 4. Jacques Kallis persisted in the fight from one end and received helpful assistance from Shaun Pollock and then Jonty Rhodes.

Another Lance Klusener special was made possible by his dismissal in the 45th over. The strong left-hander kept his team in the game by consistently hitting the boundary ropes even as wickets fell all around him. Reiffel dropped the left-hander in the penultimate over, which was a crucial moment, and more significantly, parried the ball over the ropes for a six. The final over was perfectly set up with Damien Fleming bowling, Klusener on strike, Donald the non-striker, and 9 runs needed with 1 wicket in hand.

The first ball was slightly overpitched, and Kluesner, who went by "Zulu," smashed it past the cover. The left-hander had enough force to crack the second ball, which was fuller, wide of mid-off. Now the solution was 1 from 4 balls. A mistimed draw to mid-on was the outcome of the third ball, which was short. For whatever reason, non-strike batter Donald was relocating well behind the wicket, making it impossible for Lehmann to hit a direct shot, saving the South African number eleven. Next ball, however, it was all over. Perhaps rattled by his partner's antics, Klusener ran off for an unlikely single after mistiming yet another drive to mid-off.

When Donald realized he was ball-watching, his buddy was standing next to him. As soon as Fleming passed the ball to Gilchrist, South Africa's hopes of winning the World Cup were over. Despite the match ended in a stalemate, Headingley had come back to haunt them because Australia had advanced to meet Pakistan in the final due to their victory in the Super Six.

A run feast was held on a small island on March 24, 2007.

Eight years after the Edgbaston controversy and four years after the domestic heartbreak, South Africa and Australia reconnected at the tiny Warner Park, and as was predicted, sparks erupted. Australia was given the opportunity to bat first and rode the heroics of Matthew Hayden, who batted steadily for 68 balls to score 101, as well as ninety from Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke to amass 377 for 6 from their allotted 50 overs. South Africa had chased down 434 in Johannesburg just a year prior, but this wasn't simply a bilateral match, and the Australians had stepped up.

With a 160-run opening stand in just 21 overs, AB de Villiers and Graeme Smith did sent shockwaves through Australia. The latter's injury, though, sent their team on a downward trajectory, and the former was run out for 92. South Africa was bowled out for 294, falling 83 runs short of the target despite Jacques Kallis' laboriously slow 63-ball 48.

April 25, 2007: An uncommon one-sided mismatch

The semi-final from 1999 was a classic, but the one from 2007 was a letdown. After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, South Africa was reduced to 27 for 5 in just 10 overs. Only three batters were able to score in the double digits, with Justin Kemp still standing undefeated on 49 off 91 balls. Herschelle Gibbs scored 39 points with ease, while South Africa only managed a meager 149. With four wickets, Shaun Tait led the way in destruction, followed by Glenn McGrath with three.

The chase was more difficult since Australia dropped two early wickets. However, all a small chase really needs is one solid partnership, and Australia found it in the Hayden-Clarke partnership. They combined for a third-wicket partnership of 66 runs, and the latter was still undefeated at 60 when the winning runs were hit.

July 6, 2019: South Africa ends the year strongly.

For once, a match between South Africa and Australia had no effect on the tournament's outcome. South Africa's disastrous performance throughout the first half of the competition was sufficient to eliminate them from contention for the semifinals, while Australia required a victory to finish first on the points board and set up a Trans-Tasman semifinal matchup with New Zealand. South Africa chose to bat first and did so with a welcome sense of ease, with skipper Faf du Plessis setting the tone with a 94-ball 100.

Rassie van der Dussen (97-ball 95), who helped him out much, adding 151 runs for the third wicket, helping to pave the way for a whopping 325 runs to be scored. David Warner, who hit a 117-ball 122, led Australia's pursuit magnificently. Although Alex Carey's 69-ball 85 helped him along, the match came to a conclusion when the former was dismissed. Australia lost by 10 runs and was bowled out for 315 in the final over thanks to Kagiso Rabada's final 3-wicket haul.

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