New Delhi: It's still regarded as one of the greatest ever finishes in cricket. What happened on that fateful day, 18 years ago, will stand the test of time, when it comes to defining the greatness of a match.
On June 17, 1999, Australia set a below-par 213-run target for South Africa in their World Cup semi-final match at Edgbaston, Birmingham. But the Proteas made a mess of the chase, getting all out for the same score from a winning position, and losing the right to play their first ever World Cup final.
Proteas needed nine runs from the last over, with dangerous Lance Klusener and last-man Allan Donald in the centre. Klusener, having already established as one of the best finishers, hit the first ball for a four, thus leaving the equation to a run a ball, five off five.
To make matters worse for the Aussies, Zulu hit the next ball for another four. Scores levelled.
After a dot ball, the Proteas ran for a single, well the winning run, after Klusener found a heavy bottom edge past the bowler straight to Steve Waugh.
Donald opted to head back instead of going towards the danger end at the first opportunity, and in the process of turning his way back, lost his bat. With Klusener already near the bowler's end, Donald finally decided to complete for the single. But it was too late. Run out was affected at the striker's end.
Damien Fleming was one relieved bowler.
Here's the video:
Donald was probably perturbed by what happened in the previous ball, when he survived a reckless backing up. That messy run-out once again reaffirm the chocker tag they have been carrying for far too long.
Interestingly enough, during the Aussie innings, skipper Waugh was dropped at mid-wicket by Herschelle Gibbs off Lance Klusener, while going for an immature celebration.
The incident has since assumed a kind of urban legend with many versions of what Waugh had said to Gibbs. One popular version was, "You've just dropped the World Cup." Well, it proved right, as Australia went onto to win the final, beating Pakistan.
Waugh scored 56 off 76 balls, and stitched a match-winning 90-run stand with Michael Bevan (65 off 101 balls) for the fifth wicket to help Australia post that fighting total.
Those two moments — drop catch and run out — sealed the fate of the match in favour of the Aussies.
Australia went through the title round because they finished higher in the Super 6. And in the Super 6 stage, Australia won the match-up by five wickets.