Good luck messages pour in from South Africa April 25, 2007

'Do it for Bob' - Gill Woolmer

Cricinfo staff

Bob Woolmer experienced the highs and lows of the South African team through the '90s © Cricinfo Ltd
Gill Woolmer, the widow of late Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, has offered her good wishes to the South African team as they prepare to take on Australia in the World Cup semi-final in St Lucia. On the eve of the clash between the top two one-day sides, she urged the team to win it in memory of Bob Woolmer, quoting "do it for Bob - I hope they win", referring to his stint as coach of South Africa in the 1990s.

South Africa have a chance at redemption after they were lost out in a thrilling tie in the 1999 semi-final at Edgbaston. South Africa needed one to get off four balls with one wicket in hand before a farcical run-out ended their World Cup campaign, as Australia edged ahead on net run rate. The result left the South Africans devastated ,and Woolmer later referred to that moment as the darkest in his career. Woolmer, who later took over as coach of Pakistan, was murdered in Jamaica after Pakistan's early exit from the World Cup.

The team has been flooded with good luck messages from several supporters in South Africa, including ex-players. The Cape Argus, a South African daily, forwarded over 1000 SMS messages of support from readers to the team.

"They must play like they played against England," Helen Zille, the Cape Town mayor, was quoted as saying on the website Independent Online. "We're all with them, behind them, holding our breaths and supporting them all the way."

Gary Kirsten, the former South African opener who also played in the Edgbaston semi-final, also extended his wishes, as did the father of current opener AB de Villiers. "It's just going to be a mental battle," Kirsten was quoted on the same website. "We've got the players. We chased down 438 not so long ago - and they'll still have that in their memory."

"AB said we have a very good chance of whipping them and they're all in very good spirits," said de Villiers senior. de Villiers slammed 92 against Australia in a group stage match in St Kitts recently.