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On This Day: The greatest chase in the history of ODI cricket (12th March)

Ankit
A moment of cricket history.
A moment of cricket history.

On this day, South Africa crafted one of the most beautiful stories on a cricket field. They snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and Australia. In the year 2006, South Africa faced Australia in Johannesburg in a highly-contested ODI.

Adam Gilchrist and Simon Katich came out to open for Australia. They gathered 97 runs in the first 15 overs. After Gilchrist went back having scored 55 runs following which Ricky Ponting came out to bat. Ponting batted like a man possessed and dispatched the ball all over the park. He scored with a strike rate of more than 150 and went back to the dugout after Australia crossed 400 runs with them becoming the first team in history to amass 400 runs in an innings in ODIs. Katich walked back after scoring 79. Michael Hussey too scored 81 runs with a strike rate of more than 150.

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting

Australian batsmen shook up the scorecard as well as the economy rate of South African bowlers. Graeme Smith used seven bowlers. All of them gave away runs with an economy of more than 7. Jacques Kallis topped this list. His economy was 11.66 at the end of the innings. A maiden over was bowled by Roger Telemachus. He also bowled 32 dot balls. He gave away 87 runs in his quota of 10 overs. It looked like every bowler was handed the same script and was battling to be the best in his role.

The Proteas put on a show

After Australia's massacre, South Africa came out to bat. Boeta Dippenaar was bowled by Nathan Bracken in the second over of the innings. Herschelle Gibbs joined Graeme Smith in the middle.

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Both of them started doing what Hussey and Ponting had done a few hours back. Smith gathered 90 runs from 55 balls. Gibbs' inning was the turning point of the game. He went on to post the highest score of his life, making 175 runs in 111 balls, hitting 21 fours and 7 sixes along the way.

The story ended with Mark Boucher hitting 4 off Brett Lee off the fifth ball of the final over of the innings as South Africa ended at 438/9. Nathan Bracken gave only 67 runs in his quota of 10 overs. He also dismissed 5 South African batsmen. Mick Lewis gave away 113 runs in his quota of 10 overs. South Africa won by 1 wicket. Gibbs and Ponting were given Man-of-the-Match award.

Herscehlle Gibbs
Herscehlle Gibbs

Gibbs later wrote in his autobiography mentioned that he drank a lot a night before the game. He won the game for South Africa while still nursing a hangover.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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