Specials – Best of the 1999 World Cup, Part 4

  Having looked back at the best from the group stage of the 1999 World Cup in the first three parts of this five-part series, we move on to some of the memorable matches seen in the second round of the tournament, i.e. the Super Six stage, in which each of the six teams played three matches to determine the four semifinalists.

Proteas come back from the brink – Pakistan v South Africa, Super Six, Trent Bridge

  Pakistan and South Africa, the toppers of their respective groups, produced one of the most exciting games of the tournament, with the Proteas sneaking home despite being a grim situation early in their chase. South Africa’s pacers kept it tight after Wasim Akram decided to bat, and after 43 overs, the score read a sluggish 150/6.  But wicketkeeper Moin Khan, who had come in at 118/5, showed admirable spunk. 

  Moin’s 56-ball 63 ensured that Pakistan gathered 70 from the last seven overs to finish at 220/7. Speedster Shoaib Akhtar struck twice in his first three overs, scalping Herschelle Gibbs and captain Hansie Cronje to reduce the score to 19/2. Wasim chipped in by removing Gary Kirsten, before Azhar Mahmood (3/24) got rid of Daryll Cullinan and Jonty Rhodes to leave South Africa at at 58/5 after 20 overs.

  Jacques Kallis (54) and Shaun Pollock turned the tide by adding 77 for the sixth wicket, before the latter fell to Mahmood. Kallis also put on 41 for the seventh wicket with Lance Klusener, but when he was out, the equation was still 45 in 34 balls. However, Klusener was up to the task, as he hit 46* in 41 balls in the company of Mark Boucher to spur the Proteas to a three-wicket win with an over to spare.

Lance Klusener, SA v Pak, 1999 WC

          South Africa’s Lance Klusener hits one en route to his match-winning 46* against Pakistan at Trent Bridge (source – Getty Images)

Prasad stars in clash of arch-rivals – India v Pakistan, Super Six, Old Trafford

  India, led by Mohammad Azharuddin, needed to get the better of Pakistan if they were to remain in contention for a semifinal spot, and thanks to a quality bowling display from seamer Venkatesh Prasad, they ensured that they notched a third win from as many World Cup matches against their arch-rivals (adding to those in the 1992 and 1996 editions, which were also under the captaincy of Azharuddin).

  India put up a middling 227/6 on the board after deciding to bat, with Rahul Dravid (61), Azharuddin (59) and Sachin Tendulkar (45) doing the bulk of the scoring. Javagal Srinath (3/37) accounted for Shahid Afridi and Ijaz Ahmed within the first ten overs, before Prasad took centre stage by prising out Saleem Malik, Saeed Anwar – who was looking in good touch during his knock of 36 – and Mahmood. 

  Prasad’s crucial triple strike reduced Pakistan to a perilous 78/5 by the 25th over. Inzamam-ul-Haq (who top-scored with 41) and Moin stemmed the rot by adding 48 in ten overs for the sixth wicket, but Prasad broke through by netting the latter as his fourth victim. The chase lost steam thereafter, and the innings concluded at 180 in the 46th over. Prasad fittingly took the last wicket to finish with figures of 5/27. 

Johnson’s heroics go in vain – Australia v Zimbabwe, Super Six, Lord’s

  Exactly 16 years earlier, Zimbabwe had stunned Australia at the 1983 World Cup, in what was their first ODI. An encore seemed likely halfway through the chase, thanks to a sublime century from the left-handed Neil Johnson, but the Australians seized the key moments to keep their campaign alive. Johnson struck early with the ball after Australia were inserted, removing Adam Gilchrist with 18 on the board.

  Mark Waugh added 56 for the second wicket with Ricky Ponting, before forging a third-wicket stand of 129 with his twin brother, captain Steve Waugh, at nearly six an over to put Australia in the driver’s seat. Steve fell for a 61-ball 62, but Mark carried on until the 43rd over, when he was dismissed by Johnson for 104 from 120 balls. With this innings, Mark became the first man to score four World Cup tons.  

India v Pakistan, 1999 WC

         India’s Venkatesh Prasad celebrates after taking the wicket of Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq at Old Trafford (source – Getty Images)

  Australia racked up a hefty 303/4, but Johnson was in his element. He shared in a sparking second-wicket stand of 114 in 18 overs with Murray Goodwin (47), and at 153/1 in the 29th over, the game was on. However, a flurry of wickets in the next ten overs put paid to Zimbabwe’s hopes, and they eventually ended at 259/6 . Johnson, later named Man of the Match, stayed unbeaten on a career-best 132 from 144 balls. 

Saqlain’s second ODI hat-trick – Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Super Six, The Oval

  An opening partnership worth 95 between Anwar and Wajahatullah Wasti set the tone a convincing victory for Pakistan, which put Zimbabwe on the brink of elimination . Anwar went on to score 103, and though Zimbabwe fought back with late wickets, Pakistan ended up with a sizeable 271/9. Pakistan’s pacers, led by Abdul Razzaq (3/25), consolidated their team’s position by having Zimbabwe at 50/4.

  Johnson, who had been unable to bowl due to fatigue, played a gritty innings again, but lacked support from the other end. By the time he was out for 54, Zimbabwe were staring down the barrel at 95/6 in the 29th over. Off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq hastened Zimbabwe’s demise with a hat-trick, thus becoming only the second bowler after his compatriot and captain Wasim to record two hat-tricks in ODIs.

  Saqlain (3/16)  struck off the first three balls of his seventh over, having Henry Olonga and Andy Huckle stumped by Moin and Pommie Mbangwa leg-before to condemn Zimbabwe to 123 in the 41st over, thus sealing a semifinal berth for Pakistan. This was the second hat-trick at the World Cup – India’s Chetan Sharma was the first to achieve the feat, against New Zealand at Nagpur in the 1987 edition. 

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