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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

South Africa heartbroken

Tony Lawrence | March 04, 2003 12:16 IST

South Africa woke up to one dominant sporting image -- the incredulous, crushed face of cricket World Cup skipper Shaun Pollock.

Pollock appeared on the front of all of the country's newspapers after his team's cruel first-round exit from the tournament after their rain-affected Group A match against Sri Lanka ended in a tie.

The Star displayed three pictures of Pollock under the banner headline "Heartbreaking". In the first, he stared out blankly at the Durban rain which was to kill off both the day-night game and his side's hopes.

The next photograph had him with his head in his hands and the third looking away to the side, as if for help.

"Shock. Horror. Despair," said the three captions.

"Polly devastated by another tied exit," ran The Citizen's banner headline after the hosts were knocked out of their second World Cup in a row after tying their final match.

In Monday's defeat the South Africans, among the pre-tournament favourites to challenge champions Australia, reached 229 for six in 45 of their allotted 50 overs as they chased Sri Lanka's 268 for nine.

With all-rounder Lance Klusener and wicketkeeper-batsman Mark Boucher at the crease, they looked well-placed to launch a final assault which would take them into the Super Six stage of the competition.

Boucher had been told by his dressing room that 229 was enough for victory and, after hitting a six off Muttiah Muralitharan to get to that score, had blocked what was to prove the final ball of the game when one more run would have ensured victory.


The Citizen called it a "terrible breakdown in communication".

The Star's main sports headline blamed cricket's "Weather gods".

"It seemed as if vice-captain Mark Boucher, who was batting with Lance Klusener, was given the wrong message when light drizzle started falling," it said.

The disappointment echoed not only the 1999 tournament, when the team was knocked out of the semi-finals after a tied match against Australia, but also 1992, when rain had also left them cruelly short during a run chase, again in the semi-finals, against England.

"Last night the nightmares of 1992 and also the 1999 World Cup returned to haunt them and it will remain with them for many years to come," said The Star.

South Africa had hoped to become the first host nation to lift the trophy. Had they won on Monday, they would not only have qualified but also taken 10 points with them, leaving them in good position to reach the semi-finals.

Their failure to reach the second round represented their worst result in the tournament.

Pollock's picture even made it to the front of the Business Day newspaper, even if he couldn't quite push an article on telecom share prices out of prime spot.

"Dumped by Duckworth-Lewis", the back page headline said, referring to the complex scoring system used to revise victory targets in rain-affected matches.

South African television, meanwhile, replaying cricket highlights of Monday's matches on Tuesday morning, ran a string of e-mail messages from fans at the bottom of the screen.

All appeared supportive of the team, but less so of the Duckworth-Lewis scoring equation.

© Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Number of User Comments: 3

Sub: SA

SA has itself to blame and no body else, not even the rain. DL method is place for quite some time now and every body ...

Posted by vikas

Sub: south africa's exit fm the world cup

tis all well and good to feel sry for s.a, but if rain had not so cruelly intervened in the windies/bangladesh match, they would have ...

Posted by Anand k

Sub: unfortunate

This is really very unfortunate for South Africa...After 1999 World cup semifinal disaster..the same unfortune came here.....

Posted by Alok Bharti


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