Search This Blog

Thursday 29 January 2015

Eng v SA (Semifinal, Sydney, World Cup 1992)

Venue: SCG, Sydney (D/N match)

In what has to be termed as the biggest "joke" in history of one day cricket, the funny rain rule applied to matches then, turned an absolute cliff hanger into a farce! That's the best way to describe this incredible semi final between Eng and SA.

Both teams had it fairly easy enroute the semifinals, #England winning 6 of their 8 games while SA winning 5. #SA had just been readmitted to cricket after the #apartheid ban on them for 20 odd years. Hence, there were no expectations from them as such. However, under #KeplerWessels, this team rewrote history by appearing in the semis of a Cricket World Cup on debut!

On a gloomy SCG afternoon, SA won the toss and inserted England into bat. Considering forecast of showers later in the day, the #Proteas wanted to know their targets and revisions just in case (little did they imagine about the cruel realty that was about to strike them later that evening).

SA broke through the openers very  cheaply. #Gooch edged behind off #AllanDonald for 2 and #IanBotham was castled by Meryck Pringle for 17.

Eng 39 for 2.

#GraemeHick joined #AlecStewart and both of them started repair work of the English innings. Steadily they reached 100 before deciding to open up and take charge. #BrianMcMillan snapped their partnership claiming Stewart for 33 but Hick had settled down by then and he unleashed a barrage of strokes to push the England scoring ahead briskly.

Middle order support from #NeilFairbrother (28), #AllanLamb (19) and #ChrisLewis (18) ensured England breezed past 200 through small but quick partnerships. Hick was dismissed for a solid 83. But, it was #DermotReeve who stole the late order show for the #Poms. His quickfire 25 of 14 (including 3 consecutive boundaries in one over) ensured England reached a respectable 252 at the end of their 45 overs. (Match had to be shortened due to rain interruptions at the top leading to time overrun of the first innings cut off of 6:10 pm) 

At 5+ runs per over (in the 90s this was a big deal!!), the target was definitely stiff and everyone felt England would nail the game swiftly.  SA had different ideas though. Wessels and #Andrew Hudson made a breezy start before Wessels was claimed by Botham. #PeterKirsten, their best technical batsman, didnt last too long either and was out for 11.

SA 61 for 2.

Hudson was in fine nick though and he was just appearing to open up when he was trapped leg before by #RichardIllingworth for a well compiled 46.

SA 90 for 3.

It was now left to the younger generation of SA cricket to steer their ship. And boy did they march? #AdrianKuiper struck a super 36, #HansieCronje 24 and #JontyRhodes a breezy 43 to inch close to their target. A victory was in sight. Although all these youngsters eventually got out, the score was reading ..

SA 206 for 6

Very even contest.

#DaveRichardson and McMillan then put a very steady partnership of 29 to reach 231 in 42.5 overs. 
Victory in sight. 23 to win in 13 balls. You'd put your money on SA the way these two were batting. Gooch looking clueless and desperate for a breakthrough.

And then it happened... the heavens opened up.
Play had to be stopped due to the showers.
When play resumed, the rain rule was applied to adjust the time lost in the break.

The scoreboard read 22 runs to win in 7 balls.

Bah! the target was revised by just 1 run but 6 balls were taken off the batting team.

Then more drama .... 

The officials had actually made a mistake displaying 7 balls. They corrected the scoreboard again.
Now it read ....

22 runs to win in 1 ball

What? What the $#%@? 

Speechless.. there was a dead silence in the crowd. 

How on earth was that possible?

But, it was a rain rule being applied those days and had to be put into force.

What a shame! The game was tantalizingly poised for a humdinger of a finish and then this farcical rain rule spoilt it all.

Chris Lewis sent down the one delivery and McMillan tapped it down to long on for a single. The match had ended, technically.

No one was happy. The Englishmen knew victory was handed over to them by the rain rule. The Proteas knew it was pure divine intervention that didnt want them to win the game.

England qualified for the final against Pakistan at the #MCG.

SA returned home, bruised but not humiliated. They had put up an amazing performance throughout the tournament and were only robbed of a possible finals berth by rain gods. 

MOM: Graeme Hick

Watch the game highlights here...

No comments:

Post a Comment