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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > Reuters > Report

Miscalculation contributed to SA defeat

Marcus Prior | March 04, 2003 11:06 IST

South Africa were knocked out of the World Cup in the cruellest of circumstances on Monday as their final rain-affected group match against Sri Lanka ended in a tie.

Four years after they were eliminated from the last World Cup following a semi-final tie with Australia, the South Africans were again left cursing after putting themselves in with a good chance of beating Sri Lanka to claim a place in the Super Sixes.

Worse still, a clearly devastated Shaun Pollock later conceded that a dressing-room miscalculation contributed to the defeat after the South African batsmen were told 229 runs would be enough to win if the rain led to a revised target.

The hosts, chasing Sri Lanka's 268 for nine, ended on 229 for six after 45 overs when, in fact, 230 were needed for the victory which would have taken South Africa through from Group A.

"It's got to rank up there as possibly the most disappointing thing," South Africa captain Pollock said.

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

South Africa's misfortune -- and calculation blunder -- left them on 14 points, allowing New Zealand (16 points) to progress, the Kiwis joining Sri Lanka, Kenya, Australia and India in the Super Sixes.

The last place will be decided on Tuesday when Zimbabwe play Pakistan in Group A, with those two sides and England still in contention to advance.

"We are pleased we are through but we wanted to win that game," Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya said. "The boys played really well."

Chasing 269 for victory, Pollock and Mark Boucher added 63 for the sixth wicket to take their side to 212 for six.

Pollock was then brilliantly run out by off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, but Lance Klusener and Boucher edged the hosts to 223 for six when persistent rain began to fall.

It was then that a message was sent to Boucher from the South African dressing room via 12th man Nicky Boje, telling him that 229 were needed for victory.

"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," Pollock told a news conference.

Boucher struck Muralitharan's next ball into the midwicket stands for six to reach 45 not out then, thinking he had done enough, blocked the next ball before the players were ordered off as the rain intensified.

Jayasuriya, however, said he had been aware that the hosts needed to get past 229 to win.

The umpires returned to the arena around 35 minutes later and asked the ground-staff to remove the covers but within moments the heavens opened up again and the officials left the field for the last time.


Earlier Marvan Atapattu had been Sri Lanka's batting inspiration with a sparkling 124, the opener sharing a fourth-wicket partnership of 152 with Aravinda de Silva that laid the foundations for an imposing total of 268 for nine.

It could have been higher, but South Africa dismissed both batsmen within three delivers as the last six wickets fell for 26 runs.

In reply, South Africa openers Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs shared a fluent partnership of 65 before Smith, on 35, pulled a De Silva long-hop straight to deep mid-wicket.

Gary Kirsten and Jacques Kallis fell cheaply and when Gibbs was bowled by Muralitharan for 73, immediately followed by Boeta Dippenaar, the hosts were in trouble at 149 for five.

But Pollock and his vice-captain Boucher led the recovery with a sensible run-a-ball partnership that had put the South Africans in position to push for victory when the rain came down.

South Africa were also knocked out of the 1992 World Cup in unfortunate circumstances when a rain delay left them in an impossible situation in their semi-final against England.

No host country has ever won the cricket World Cup.

© 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: 29

Sub: Error again

wassup guys ??....you keep making the same mistakes again and again......lemme make this clear one last time.....SL were the co-hosts in the 1996 edition of ...

Posted by Balaji Venkatesan

Sub: Slip between cup and lip

Whether miscalculation or not the SA batsman should have takaen a run of the last ball of the over.Mark Boucher should have crossed over of ...

Posted by Narasimham

Sub: Use Gadgets

ICC should allow use of gadgets in the game, similar to what they do for American football etc. The coach should be able to steer ...

Posted by Shekar

Sub: Miscalculation led to SA defeat

Your last sentence is wrong. Sri Lanka, joint hosts of 1996 World Cup, broke that jinx

Posted by Aravind Giri

Sub: A small correction

Hi, I thought that I bring this to your notice. Sri Lanka won as a host country in 1996, so the statement that said that ...

Posted by Sriram


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