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5 times favourites blew their chances of winning the World Cup

Ram Kumar
FEATURED WRITER
Top 5 / Top 10
8.99K   //    Timeless

#4 South Africa (1999)

South Africa Australia 1999 World Cup
Australia pulled off a last-gasp tie to leave South Africa in a state of utter disbelief

South Africa and Australia have fought some of the most epic battles in ODI history. If the 2006 Johannesburg ODI evoked a jaw-dropping gluttony of runs, the 1999 World Cup semi-final at Edgbaston produced an unforgettable classic.

The seventh edition of the iconic tournament was a keenly contested one with quite a few teams capable of lifting the trophy. Apart from the Aussies and Proteas, a flamboyant Pakistan side also had the potential to last the distance.

Containing a power-packed batting lineup and a dangerous bowling attack, South Africa were arguably the most attractive 50-over outfit during the 1999 World Cup. A shock defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe during the pool stages did nothing to suggest otherwise.

Even as Pakistan steamrolled New Zealand in the first semi-final, Hansie Cronje's team set up a dream date with Australia in the other knockout game.

After restricting their opponent to a below-par total of 213, South Africa's chances of reaching the summit clash appeared to be on the up swing. Shane Warne turned the game on its head by producing a vintage spell. Despite the leg-spinner's heroics, the Proteas rode on Lance Klusener's blitzkrieg to set the platform for a thrilling finish.

But a catastrophic miscommunication between the all-rounder and Allan Donald left the scores on level terms. While Australia progressed to the final by virtue of their superior net run-rate from the Super Six stage, South Africa were left ruing what could have been. More than 18 years may have passed since then. However, they have never really mentally recovered from the biggest choke of them all.

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