By Aaron Callaghan
If you’ve stumbled onto this page and haven’t already done so;
The Unsportsmen in celebration of the 2019 Cricket World Cup is walking down memory lane by recounting the Steve Waugh’s famous Australian victory at the 1999 Cricket World Cup.
It igoes without saying it’s best to finish on top of your pool in order to avoid the other best teams until the semi final or preferably the final where anything can happen, it’s one game of high variance. That’s the plan, finish first. Australia finished second behind Pakistan. Oh well at least the Aussies made it through.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of the knockout stage, ‘The Super Sixes’, is that it wasn’t really a knockout at all and points earned against fellow qualifiers during the round-robin stage carried foward.
Following that? Good, me either. He’s a picture to help.
Again, every body played everybody in the Super Sixes as the BCCI ICC attempted to turn every cricket fan upside down and shake the pennies out of them.
During this cricket world cup India and Pakistan were officially at war which makes for an upcoming explosive looming super six matchup between the two countries.
Australian Cricket Team
Stepping out in their first super six match Australia was slated to face India. India qualified second in the stronger ‘group A’ with three wins and two losses. Australia were extremely lucky to avoid that group.
Mark Waugh got the Aussies off to a flyer. Australia were 1 for 97 in the 21st over when Adam Gilchrist departed for 31. Waugh anchored the innings with 83 of 99 deliveries followed in behind him with a bunch of 20’s and 30’s, every batsmen got starts without going on with it. Steve Waugh second top scored with 36 and Robin Singh took 2 for 43 off seven.
Australia posted 282/6 and India messed up the run chase. Falling to 205 all out including a century from Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh 75 off 94. Poor old Robin Singh had the game off his life and no one, other than Jadeja, went with him - like Paul ‘The Chief’ Harragon trucking up hit after hit up and no one is going with him in support - “c’mon you blokes, have a go”
Robin Singh only played one test. I often wonder where it all went wrong for players like that - Why didn’t he get a second chance?
On to Australia’s second super six game - Zimbabwe.
Like I previously said, this is one the greatest Zimbabwean teams ever assembled and is in the middle period of a golden run from approximately 1995 through 2003. The failure of Zimbabwean cricket is probably a story for another time but in 1999 they presented a stern test for Steve Waugh’s team who were starting to wind up and work in to their second spell.
For the second match in a row Mark Waugh top scored and Steve Waugh second top scored. Mark posting 104 from 120 deliveries and Steve 62 at better than a run per ball.
Looking back at the history of cricket there is fewer elegantly proficient batsmen than Mark Waugh, he always looked calm and collected, cooler on the cricket field than I could ever hope to be, Mark’s stroke making was textbook beautiful and delivered with such ease it makes struggling grade cricket hacks like myself and even world conquering batsmen like Steve Waugh or Justin Langer insanely mad with frustration.
Mark Waugh made batting look as easy as brushing your teeth.
304 to win awaited Zimbabwe. Opening bowler Neil Johnson took 2 for 43 off eight overs, he probably didn’t bowl his full 10 because he was down to open the batting as well. Has anyone ever opened the bowling and batting in an ODI? Can someone look that up and leave a comment please?
Man of the match Neil Johnson was the real story here scoring 132 not out from 144 balls after of course taking 2/43. What a performance! Hopefully this performance walked Neil into a bloated county contract after this performance.
Zimbabwe limped to 259/6. Glenn McGrath applied his typical boa-constricting, tight bowling to restrict the Zimbabweans run scoring effort taking 1/33 off his full allotment.
The Perfect Punchline
“You’ve just dropped the world cup” - Steve Waugh to Herschelle Gibbs.
Over the years Waugh’s words might have changed or later Herschelle Gibbs claimed he didn’t really hear what Waugh said, if anything at all. Eye witness accounts are generally unreliable and get detrimentally worse as the years go on. As it turns out, Herschelle Gibbs actually did drop the world cup.
The marquee game of the super sixes, aside from India v Pakistan who’s countries were at war, was Australia v The Proteas at Leeds. South Africa batted first Gibbs and Daryll Cullinan put on 95 for the second wicket, Gibbs went on to score 101, Lance ‘Zulu’ Klusener and Johnty Rhodes chipped in with a pair of better than a run a ball 30-odds and set up The Proteas for victory setting Australia 272 to win. Damien Fleming was the pick of the bowlers with 3/57 off 10.
Australia’s run chase did not start well with Steve Elworthy among the wickets early. Adam Gilchrist bowled Elworth for 5.Mark Waugh run out for 5 - probably taking it way too easy and cool between wickets. Ricky Ponting and Damien Martyn came to the crease - Martyn departed with 11.
Enter Steve Waugh.
Ponting and Waugh set about rescuing the innings from 3 for 48.
Waugh crafted his way swiftly to a half century and in moving to 56, Waugh clipped one off his legs to mid-wicket. Herschelle Gibbs, a great, athletic fielder moves to his right anticipating a regulation catch, Gibbs pouches it expertly and in his haste to throw the ball up in celebration bobbles the ball toward square-leg losing control and never completing the catch.
Waugh standing there, not quite in disbelief of the drop but rather I sense of a second chance and perhaps a little disappointment in himself for clipping one to mid-wicket.
As Herschelle Gibbs realises what he’s done and quickly remembers where the captain was fielding and bowler to avoid any possible eye contact for the rest of the Aussie innings. Steve Waugh allegedly piles on Gibbs to really soccer kick the bloke - “You’ve just dropped the world cup”.
Steve Waugh goes on to bomb 120 not out off 110 balls with finishing help from Michael Bevan and tom Moody. A famous victory.
So the scene was set for South Africa and Australia to match up again in the semi-final, making the knockout round participants Australia versus South Africa and New Zealand versus Pakistan. Pakistan dispatched New Zealand easily despite a gritty 46 from that man again, Roger fucking Twose. Pakistan barely broke a sweat chasing down 242/1 in 47 overs.
Edgbaston in Birmingham is the scene for the rematch semi-final just four days after the super six match.
In what has been described by some one the greatest ODI ever - I don’t know about that however it was a very memorable game full of moments. Australia is batting first and it does not go well, Shaun Pollock and Allan Donald tear through the Aussies. Pollock as I previously said was one of the premier fast bowlers in the world in the late 90’s and at Edgebaston Pollock took 5 for 36 and Donald 4 for 32 off 10. South Africa’s bowling line up is one of the better world cup line ups Pollock, Donald, Elworthy, Kallis, Klusener and spinning overs from Cronje and Boje.
Ricky Ponting who had been struggled looked as though he had turned a corner after his 69 in the last super six, chipped in with 37 to steady the innings. Steve Waugh, again Australia’s hero ground his way to 56 from 76, partnering up with Michael Bevan who collected 65 from 101 balls. Is there anyone in world cricket with a better sense of timing a run than Michael Bevan? I’m not covering new ground here but 65 from 101 is not a great strike rate but batting with the tail is an art from and Bevan milked all the runs he could from Australia’s tail which did not offer much resistance. Sure Bevan could have stepped on the gas but he might have gotten out trying to push it and Australia might end up all out 180, instead of 213.
There is multiple story lines from this semi-final including the final overs which I’ll get to, however South Africa’s batting innings was sidelined by a master class in white ball spin bowling by the greatest spinner of all time - S.K. Warne. Shane for all intents and purposes bowled Australia to victory.
4 for 29 off 10 on a seaming, swinging deck just 5 months after returning from shoulder surgery. What a champion. Forget Jordan and Ali, Warne is the real G.O.A.T. With Herschelle Gibbs threatening an innings of redemption after the super six gaff, Warne ambled in and made Gibbs look like an absolute goose, this time with a bat in his hand, not a ball falling out of it. Warne pitched one drifting on to leg stump and on command brought the batsman halfway forward, asked Gibbs to play down the wrong like and clipped off-stump as Gibbs stumbled all over himself.
Don’t worry Herschelle, Warney has made plenty of batsman question their life.
Jacques Kallis and Jonty Rhodes got South Africa close enough before handing the relay batton over to Lance Klusener to bring South Africa home and Klusener got very, very close leveling the scores in the last over for the unimaginable happened.
What should be noted is Paul Reiffel dropped Klusener over the rope for six on the 8th last ball. Perhaps Klusener should have shouted down to long-on “Paul, you’ve just dropped the world cup”.
South Africa needing 9 runs off the last Damien Fleming over.
The plan was always to bowl low full tosses outside Lance Klusener’s off-stump, Klusener being a leg-side cowboy loved to clear his front dog and swing to cow-corner with no regard.
Over 49.1 - Damien Fleming is to deliver the last over. He runs in and expertly bowls to the plan, a foot outside off full toss and Klusener clubs it for four through cover. The cover fielder only took about 5 strides in chasing it was the stength with which Klusener dispatched it.
How big was Klusener’s bat in 1999, it was a fair dinkum railway sleeper with stickers on it.
South Africa need five to win. Klusener is 27 from 13 balls. The entire crowd is against the Aussies, because in world cricket no one likes us. We win a lot and are/were often arrogant about it.
49.2 - Full outside off, perfect length to drive. Klusener again clears his front dog and whacks it through mid-off. The long-off fielder stood no chance as Klusener smashed it to the fence.
Scores level. South Africa need only one.
49.3 - Damien Fleming’s third ball is finally a dot ball. Klusener swung like a rusty gate and fat-edges the ball to mid-on. No run.
Interestingly to note Allan Donald took off like rabbit, entirely fueled by adrenaline and instinct. Darren Lehman for a brief second held the world cup in his left paw as he under-armed at the stumps from about 5 metres away as Allan Donald frantically tries to get back. Lehman misses as Donald slides into screen. Out by a country mile if it hits. No run.
49.4 - Are the Australian’s a chance here? They only need one wicket. Klusener is swinging like Barry Bonds and Allan Donald is so scared he doesn’t know whether to take off for a single or not.
Fleming another wide full ball. Klusener squeezes it back past the bowler and takes off. He’s running to the danger end, will he make it?
WAIT what is Allan Donald doing?
RUUUUUNNNNNNN! Is audibly heard over the stump mic.
In what is now history, Mark Waugh is a way too cool manner picks the ball up and diving back hands it to Fleming who has enough time to roll it down the pitch and run Donald out who literally has no idea what is going on.
Klusener, who ran hard runs all the way out to long-off, some part to run off speed, mostly is pure disbelief about what has happened. Klusener made the single easily to the danger end and put his bat down as Donald was still ball watching.
The day Allan Donald forgot how to run.
Australia won and advance through to the final. It seems almost anticlimactic to finish with the final versus Pakistan.
Pakistan posted 132. Shane Warne took 4 for 43. Tom Moody 2 for 17 and McGrath 2 for 13.
Australia cruised to victory in the 21st over.
See? Anticlimactic. That semi-final was always going to be a tough act to follow and there you have it, that’s how Australia won the 1999 Cricket World Cup.
If you enjoyed this article or spot a mistake, leave a comment below please.