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Posts Tagged ‘Hansie Cronje’

A Decade After The Cliffhanger at The Edgbaston

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

It is hard to believe that cricket has traveled a lot from the 1999 World Cup. The pace has increased dynamically with the introduction of T20, however the sweet (or bitter) memories of the semi final between Australia and South African 1999 persist. Players have changed in both the sides, notwithstanding the presence of a few veterans. Australia has conquered the cricketing world in that yonks, which include 3 successive World Cup triumphs. The proteas, on the other hand have had ups and downs and reinforced their ‘Chokers’ tag on several occasions. The wound has not yet healed for the proteas.

Shaun Pollock sent back Mark Waugh in the first over of the match to give SA a brilliant start. Adam Gilchrist played in an unusual but effective way to take 68 runs on a deteriorating track. Finally, Jacques Kallis ended the patient knock from the Australian glovesman and South Africa gained the upper hand. Captain Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan forged a 90 runs partnership before a low-order hiccup reduced the Australian score to a below par 213 runs. Shaun Pollock claimed 5 wickets and Alan Donald finished with 4 wickets to give South Africa a definite chance to win the match.

Gibbs and Kirsten started off well and added 48 runs for the first wicket before Shane Warne came to dismiss both, and picked 3 wickets in just 8 balls! Match started to go in favor of Australia as a direct hit from Bevan found Daryl Cullinan short of his crease. Jonty Rhodes joined Kallis to rescue and consolidate the innings. After 40 overs, SA were in a comfortable position of 144/4, requiring further 70 runs from 60 balls. Paul Reiffel dismissed Rhodes in the 41st over to break that important partnership. Shaun Pollock made a quick fire 19 runs, which included a six and a boundary from Shane Warne’s over before he fell to Damien Fleming.

As expected, it went down to the wire! In the final over, 9 runs were needed and the man on strike was the hard-hitting Lance Klusener. He clobbered the first 2 balls of Damien Fleming to the fence and South Africa was just short of a whisker from reaching their maiden World Cup Finals. It all ended in the fourth ball. Steve Waugh had put all his fielders inside the 30-yard circle to pressurize Klusener. He pushed the ball down to the wicket and went for a run. Alan Donald, the non-striker was watching the ball and didn’t see Klusener running. He started off late and before he could complete the run, Adam Gilchirst clipped the bails off to end this cliffhanger.

Australia then went onto become the World Champions after demolishing Pakistan in the final at Lords. Lance Klusener was adjudged as the Man of the Tournament. After a year, in 2000, the South African captain Hansie Cronje was found guilty of match fixing and received a life ban. On June 1, 2002 an air crash in the Western Cape ended the life of South Africa’s greatest ever captain.

This match is considered as one of the best ever in the history of cricket. The reason perhaps is that the world hasn’t seen a match like that afterwards and is eagerly waiting for a similar one.

Hansie Cronje

Monday, June 1st, 2009

It was on this day in 2002, Hansie Cronje, one of the great captains, died on a plane crash. The moment we hear the name Hansie Cronje, we remember the scandal and his plane crash. But there’s something more worth this man has contributed to the game of cricket. He is one of the best captains cricket has ever had. Under his leadership, the South African team has recorded 99 wins out of 138 one-day internationals.

Hansie is still missed in South Africa. He is regarded as one of the greatest player in both forms of cricket. Hansie never compromised on discipline. It is said that he instilled his discipline in the team when he became the captain. The team as we all know, was excellent in all departments of the game during his captaincy. Fielding standards were at unreachable heights. Above all this, there was professionalism in the team.

Hansie was also a great all rounder. His medium pace deliveries has often served to be turning points of the game. As a middle order batsman, he has also earned many ‘man of the match’ awards. An example to quote would be the one with Australia in 1994, when he guided his team to victory. It was a triangular series that included New- Zealand also. He scored 91 runs and remained unbeaten.

Every man commits mistakes. But it requires great guts to confess that mistake to the whole world and it is obvious that Hansie had that guts.

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