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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

We blundered over victory target: Pollock

March 04, 2003 11:16 IST

South African captain Shaun Pollock conceded that a miscalculation in the dressing room cost his team the chance of victory over Sri Lanka after Monday's rain-affected tie sent the hosts tumbling out of the World Cup.

With rain falling and the game set to be cut short, Pollock said 12th man Nicky Boje had got a message to Mark Boucher in the middle that, in the case of a revised target, 229 runs would be needed for South Africa to win. In reality, 230 were required.

Boucher hit what proved to be the penultimate ball of the match from spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for six to take the score to 229, then defended the final delivery of the over.

"Boje wasn't able to get out there and give them the piece of paper to keep, but the message that was portrayed was 229," a clearly emotional Pollock said afterwards.

"But you can't look at that and worry about that. He (Boucher) didn't know the game was going to finish after that ball.

"There was a lot that went on after that ball before we came off. If we'd faced one more ball of the next over and got one off that, we could have been through. There are lots of ifs and buts."

However, Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya said he was fully aware that 229 was enough for the tie.

"We knew that it (229) was for the tie -- I had the sheet in my hand," he said with a grin. "I had the sheet when it started to rain."

Pollock, who could be seen with his head in his hands as the rain continued to fall, said his squad felt the downpours had abated enough for the teams to return to the field and complete the match.

"We just felt that it had got to the stage where it was raining the same. There's no rule that says you can't go out if it's spitting. But they (umpires Steve Bucknor and Srinivas Venkatraghavan) decided it was unfit for play and you have to by the umps' decisions.

"You can look at all the ifs and buts but in the end it doesn't help much."

Sri Lanka had posted a total of 268 for nine after winning the toss. Under the Duckworth-Lewis scoring system, victory targets can be revised up or down, depending how much time is left and how well the chasing team has been batting, if matches are curtailed by rain.


Monday's extraordinary finale was an eerie repeat of the 1999 World Cup in England, when South Africa were eliminated in the semi-finals after a tie with Australia. The Australians went through because of their better record in previous games.

Pollock, who was in that 1999 side which lost to the Australians at Edgbaston, added of Monday outcome: "It's got to rank up there as possibly the most disappointing thing.

"Two ties in the last two World Cups and out of both of them. The guys are gutted. I felt we deserved better on the day."

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Sub: Just a point

While South Africa's exit for the World Cup is unfortunate, I think it is being hyped up a lot more because they were (a) the ...

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Whether with Hansie Or with out, the most unfortunate team in cricket world. Is it some poetic justice for the apartheid policy of their forefathers.

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