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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

SA betrayed by sporting gods yet again

By Marcus Prior | March 04, 2003 12:52 IST

South Africa were left cursing the cricketing gods for the third time in the last four cricket World Cups on Monday.

For the second tournament in a row, they found themselves eliminated having tied their final match.

For the second time since 1992, they fell victim to rain.

In 1992, the South Africans had looked on course for victory against England, with 22 runs needed for victory off 19 balls, only for the rain to begin falling.

Under the rain rules of the time, the target remained unchanged. By the time all rounder Brian McMillan and wicketkeeper Dave Richardson got back to the crease, there was only time for a single ball to be bowled.

In 1996, the team were not cheated by the gods but by a divine talent as Brian Lara scored a 94-ball 111 for West Indies in Karachi to knock them out in the quarter-finals.

Cruelly, the margin of defeat was 19 runs, just the same as in 1992.

Four years ago and South Africans suffered the cruellest cut of all.

Having lost to Australia in the Super Six stage, they looked in a winning position at Edgbaston with the scores tied on 213 after big-hitting all rounder Lance Klusener had struck the second ball of the 49th over for four.

Klusener blocked the next ball from Damien Fleming, Allan Donald was almost run out at the far end after backing up too far, before Klusener set off for a single off the next ball.

Donald did not respond, Donald was run out and Australia went through on account of their better earlier results.

Monday was almost as painful.

With the umpires having already called for their rain coats, Mark Boucher and Klusener -- him again -- knew they had to pick up the scoring rate quickly.

What Boucher did not know was that he would only receive two more deliveries from off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.

He hit the first for six over mid-wicket to take the score to 229 for six.

He did not know it, but a snatched single would have been enough off the next, final delivery.

Instead, he pushed it to wide mid-on and stayed in his crease. Moments later, to the boos of a horrified Kingsmead full house, the players where heading off the pitch as the heavens opened.

There was just time for one more twist of the knife.

Around 40 minutes later, the rain began to stop, the umpires headed back on the pitch and ordered the covers off.

As soon as they did so, the rain began to fall again and South Africa were heading for a door marked "Exit".

The final image of the night was of the hosts' captain Shaun Pollock, sitting distraught on the players' balcony with his head in his hands.

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Number of User Comments: 2

Sub: were they unlucky?

I don't think that South Africa should consider themselves unlucky in any way because if the geme between West Indies and Bangladesh had not been ...

Posted by sandeep

Sub: cricket gods

This is very unfair. why should south africa suffer due to some stupid runs. Why should cricket fans suffer because rain has taken some time ...

Posted by sachin


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