Knockout punches and an epic chase
113* v Sri Lanka, Dhaka, 1998
Rain delayed the start of the first semi-final and the match had been reduced to 39 overs a side by the time South Africa, sent in to bat, began their innings. Sri Lanka had bowled New Zealand out for 188 in their quarter-final, and were looking good once again when Nuwan Zoysa took two wickets in the 10th over to leave South Africa 57 for 3.
This was when Jacques Kallis walked in and deflated Sri Lanka's hopes, smashing five fours and five sixes to power South Africa to 240 for 7 with little help from anyone else. Daryll Cullinan, who had opened the batting, made 30, the second-highest score in the innings. Muttiah Muralitharan bore the brunt of Kallis' assault, finishing with figures of 1 for 48 from six overs. With more rain falling during the innings break, Sri Lanka's target was revised to 224 from 34 overs. They didn't get remotely close, getting bowled out for 132 in 23.4 overs.
5 for 30 v West Indies, Dhaka, 1998
Having played a massive role in taking South Africa into the final, Kallis won them their first - and to date only - ICC title with a match-altering spell of bowling. Having chosen to field, South Africa ran into a marauding Philo Wallace, who smacked 103 of 102 balls. When Hansie Cronje dismissed Wallace, West Indies were 180 for 4 with more than 15 overs left and a set Carl Hooper at the crease, and 300 seemed possible. Kallis, though, had other ideas. West Indies lost their last six wickets for 52 runs in 11.3 overs, and Kallis took five of them, including three lbws. Chasing 246, South Africa won with three overs to spare, with Cronje guiding them home with an unbeaten 61. Kallis played his part with the bat too, scoring 37.
53* and 2 for 15 v New Zealand, Edgbaston, 1999
With their twin heartbreaks against Australia still to come, South Africa were looking the side to beat at the 1999 World Cup. Describing their 74-run Super Six win over New Zealand, Wisden wrote that South Africa "looked like raging bulls determinedly charging along the road to the final". Kallis was the architect of that win with bat and ball. Coming in at 187 for 2, after Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs had put on 176 for the first wicket, Kallis applied the brutal finishing touches to South Africa's innings, smashing three sixes in an unbeaten 53 off 36 balls and putting on 54 in 31 balls with Hansie Cronje. And he wasn't done by any means. Opening the bowling as New Zealand began their chase of 288, Kallis dismissed both openers to finish with figures of 2 for 15 in six overs.
139 v West Indies, Johannesburg, 2004
By the time the final match of their tour rolled around, West Indies were sick of Kallis, who had scored four centuries in the Test series and another in the first ODI. Now, in the fifth ODI, he broke West Indian hearts for the final time on their tour, and in most gut-wrenching manner. With rain ensuring there was no result in the third ODI, West Indies came into the match with a chance to level the series 2-2. With Chris Gayle scoring 152, they began brilliantly, scoring 304 for 2 in their 50 overs. But they still weren't Kallis-proof.
South Africa's No. 3 walked in at the fall of Herschelle Gibbs in the sixth over, and was in the middle till the penultimate over of South Africa's innings, having put on productive partnerships with Graeme Smith, Boeta Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph. When Kallis was out to Ravi Rampaul after striking 11 fours and three sixes in a 142-ball 139, South Africa needed nine runs from eight balls, and they eventually sneaked home with two balls to spare.
86 v Sri Lanka, Guyana, 2007
Lasith Malinga's astonishing four-wicket burst had gone on to overshadow everything else that happened in this match, but Kallis' 86 was as effective as South Africa sneaked a one-wicket win in their first Super Eights game at the 2007 World Cup. Charl Langeveldt's 5 for 39 had sent South Africa on their way, as Sri Lanka, having chosen to bat first, were bowled out for 209.
Kallis walked in early, with Chaminda Vaas bowling AB de Villiers in the first over of South Africa's chase, and proceeded to do what he does best. Steady at one end, he put on 94 with Graeme Smith, 65 with Herschelle Gibbs, and was still at the crease when South Africa needed four runs to win with five wickets in hand and more than five overs remaining. Improbably, Malinga nearly won the game for Sri Lanka, taking four wickets in four balls, before Robin Peterson and Langeveldt saw the gasping South Africans home.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo