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Allan Donald reminisces heartbreaking 1999 World Cup semi-final

The South African cricket team have always been unlucky when it comes to winning tournaments.

Alan Donald run out
Alan Donald’s brilliant contribution in the match was overshadowed by this one incident

South African veteran Allan Donald received a lot of heat from his countrymen regarding the infamous mix-up that cost South Africa a spot in the finals of the 1999 World Cup. More than 17 years on, Donald still feels the YouTube videos of the incident will continue to haunt him for a long time to come.

After stunning figures of 4-32 and an economy rate of 3.20, it seemed really unfair that the disastrous run-out is what Donald is remembered for in the long run. In a recent interview to cricket.com.au, Donald recalls the horror that has plagued him since. “"I felt we had the best team in that World Cup without a question of a doubt, the best one-day side that I think I've ever played in," he says.

A big hue and cry had been raised regarding exactly whose fault it was that ended in the mix-up. Donald was brought in as a walk-on extra and just one run was needed for South Africa to qualify. Lance Klusener, who was at the striker's end called out to Donald for a run. The non-striker, who was ball-watching, failed to hear the call. By the time Klusener completed his run of the pitch, Donald was not even halfway there. He was caught short of his crease by Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

Also read: Interview: "We just needed 1 run, and there was an opportunity to get it" - Lance Klusener on '99 World Cup, coaching Dolphins and art of 'finishing'

The incident, widely popular on YouTube has over 1.3m views and remains one of the most heartbreaking moments of any Cricket World Cup. Many had believed that with a team like that, the trophy was South Africa's to win. The run-out, many believe, was the beginning of a period of Australian dominance that went on for almost a decade. For Klusener, he never achieved the same glory since that match and soon departed from the team to play in England.

"I suppose that YouTube thing will never stop. "They will never take that off. I've watched it a hundred and whatever times and I think that's just something I had to deal with personally – being involved in that sort of incident. I think the best thing for me was to watch that, and the best therapy to try and get to terms with what actually happened there,” Donald reminisced.

After 1999, a period of drought went on for the South Africa cricket team where they did not come close to winning the coveted trophy for a really long time. 2003, 2007 and 2015- all three years were spent in cumulative despair after they were thwarted in the semi-finals yet again.

Allan Donald , however, remains hopeful. "But maybe some day…maybe some day South Africa will get there,” he assures.

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