13
Mar
07

Cricket World Cup :: Memorable Moments

Stool pigeons

This much-hyped 1999 World Cup match between India and Australia was an anti-climax. The overwhelmingly Indian crowd had come to the Oval to see their batting heroes but when Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed after just four balls an improbable run chase became a near impossibility. The remainder of the game was a non-event and Australia won by 77 runs.

All would be forgotten if it was not for the fate of – count them – two pigeons busily eating their final meal in the outfield.

First Australian fielder Paul Rieffel arrowed the ball from deep towards the stump knocking his unintended target out of the sky. Indian batsman Ajay Jadeja scored a second direct hit, this time bat on to ball, ball on to pigeon.

Two dead birds in one game – one unwanted World Cup record.

Run, Allan, run

It was effectively a semi-final between South Africa and Australia in the 1999 World Cup, although technically the latter could afford to draw or tie given a superior run rate.

South Africa, batting second, looked on course to close down Australia’s disappointing 213. They were helped on the way by two huge pieces of luck.

First, big hitting Lance ‘Zulu’ Klusener smashed one towards the boundary where an unfortunate Australian fielder helped the ball over the ropes in his attempt to catch it.

That six in the penultimate over was followed by a terrible miss by Darren Lehman in the final over when number 11 batsman Allan Donald should have been run out.

With one run needed and three balls remaining it looked like the last wicket pair would secure South Africa’s place in the final. However when Klusener set off on the winning run, Donald froze. When he did run, he dropped his bat and failed to make his ground. He was run out, South Africa were dumped out.

Polly’s folly

In this 2003 Group B match, hosts South Africa needed to beat Sri Lanka to progress. As the rain began to fall, the likelihood increased that the game would be decided using the Duckworth-Lewis method – a complex formula used to set revised totals in the event of weather-shortened games.

As South Africa’s captain, it was up to Shaun Pollock – affectionately known as ‘Polly’ in his homeland – to keep his batsman abreast of the current target. Unfortunately, confusion reigned between Pollock and Mark Boucher out in the middle and with the latter believing the target had been met an easy run was turned down.

Only later did it dawn on batsmen, captain and crowd that the target hadn’t been met. South Africa and Sri Lanka shared the points, not enough to see the hosts through.

Polly’s head sunk as he watched on from the pavilion.

Rawalpindi Express derailed

When Pakistan met England in Cape Town during the 2003 tournament it was the bowlers who held sway. England’s James Andersen took a match-winning four wickets for 29 runs but it was Pakistan’s Shoaib Akhtar who broke a world record – or at least appeared to.

With Table Mountain to his left Akhtar began his lengthy run up and produced a lightening delivery at England opener Nick Knight. Par for the course for the Rawalpindi Express but then the speed was flashed up on the scoreboard – 160kmph. Or in old money, 100.23mph.

He broke through the 100 miles per hour barrier, a record he and Australian Brett Lee had both been threatening to beat for some time.

The event, however, was curiously downbeat and not just because Pakistan were comfortably beaten.

Doubts were immediately raised about the veracity and the reliability of the speed reading. A Word Cup spokesman played party pooper: “The ICC has always said there is not enough uniformity in the various speed guns around the world for any one performance to be designated official.”

Black day for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe came into the 2003 World Cup to the backdrop of political unrest at home. Although officially co-hosts of the event, only a handful of games were due to be played in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Enough games, however, to cause more than a few diplomatic ripples.

Nasser Hussein, the England captain, famously castigated the British government and the England Cricket Board for failing to show leadership and leaving a bunch of sportsmen to decide whether or not to play their scheduled game.

For their part, there was deep disquiet in the Zimbabwe camp and hours before the team’s opening game against Namibia, Henry Olonga and Andy Flower issued a statement declaring they would be wearing black arm-bands during the game to “mourn the death of democracy”.

Olonga’s cricketing fate was sealed – he never played for his country again. When Flower faced the same prospect his team mates threatened a strike. Flower was reprieved, for a while at least.

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3 Responses to “Cricket World Cup :: Memorable Moments”


  1. March 14, 2007 at 12:31 am

    Wow … quite a post … specially this DERAILING 🙂

    ** argh – we’re already 3 wickets down in our first WC match 😐

  2. March 14, 2007 at 12:56 am

    A great post – but that SA vs Aussie match remains the most perplexing moments in World Cup history. It continues to haunt them today.

    Stage firght in 2007 one can never tell

  3. December 17, 2014 at 3:30 am

    I am actually happy to read this weblog posts which includes plenty
    of valuable information, thanks for providing such statistics.


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