Heartbreak at Edgbaston

Lance Klusener dazzles before burning out at the crucial moment

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Lance Klusener takes a run for Allan Donald fails to make his crease at the other end, Australia v South Africa, 2nd semi-final, World Cup, Birmingham, June 17, 1999
The mother of all mix-ups © PA Photos
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Series/Tournaments: ICC World Cup

Zimbabwe v India, Leicester
An upset in a thriller that kicked off Zimbabwe's best World Cup performance yet. India were without Sachin Tendulkar and were docked four overs in their chase, but appeared set to overhaul a target of 253 with opener S Ramesh going strong. But soon things turned dramatically and the Indian tail was left to complete a big chunk of the chase. Robin Singh and Javagal Srinath had put together a spirited stand but their dismissals in the space of three balls took the underdogs to the brink. With a wicket in hand, India needed four off seven but Henry Olonga trapped No. 11 Venkatesh Prasad in front. It remains one of Zimbabwe's most memorable wins yet.

Pakistan v Australia, Headingley
A high-intensity clash that was a contrast to the one-sided affair in the final. Pakistan sealed a ten-run win in front of a partisan crowd. The ploy to consolidate steadily before teeing off at the death worked well for Pakistan in the tournament, and Abdul Razzaq, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan carted the Australian fast bowlers round the park to post 275. Glenn McGrath was at the receiving end of a Moin onslaught. The chase was on even terms before Steve Waugh was done in by an inswinging yorker from a fiery Shoaib Akhtar. That triggered a collapse: five wickets fell for 27 in a scintillating display for pace bowling led by captain Wasim Akram.

Pakistan v South Africa, Nottingham
The two best teams in the tournament to that point clashed in a Super Six game that lived up to its billing. Again, there was little to choose between the two so any indication of a team dominating was offset by a counterattack from the other end. South Africa held the early advantage, keeping Pakistan in check, but Moin Khan rose to the occasion with some audacious strokeplay, swinging Allan Donald into the crowd on his way to a 56-ball 62. Pakistan reached 220 and were on their way to sealing a semi-final berth, having reducing South Africa to 58 for 5. But Jacques Kallis and Shaun Pollock added 72, laying the stage for Lance Klusener to unleash the kind of performance that would eventually win him the Player-of-the-Tournament award. The ferocity of Pakistan's pace was overpowered with ruthlessness as Klusener blasted three sixes in his unbeaten 46, which steered South Africa home by three wickets in the penultimate over.

Australia v South Africa, Headingley
A prelude to arguably the greatest ODI ever played. Australia faced South Africa in a must-win Super Six encounter at Headingley, one they appeared to have let slip when South Africa posted 271, thanks to a classy century from Herschelle Gibbs. Gibbs played a decisive role in the game, but not with his batting. Ricky Ponting struck a measured 69 after Australian hopes had begun to recede with the score on 48 for 3. However, it was Steve Waugh who stole the show. He swept, cut, slog-swept and countered South Africa's charge in a typically gutsy innings that could have been stopped short had Gibbs not celebrated prematurely when Waugh offered him a catch at midwicket when on 56. The lapse proved costly - it would haunt South Africa forever four days hence - as Waugh progressed to a match-winning century that sealed Australia's place in the semi-final against the same opponents.

Australia v South Africa, semi-final, Edgbaston
Heartbreak could not have been worse. Lance Klusener had played a breathtaking innings to send Australian hopes crumbling with 31 off 14 deliveries. He hit consecutive fours off Damien Fleming in the game's final over to level the scores. One needed off four, with Klusener on strike, South Africa were on the brink of their first World Cup final. He struck Fleming past the bowler, towards Darren Lehmann, and refused the single; had Lehmann aimed accurately at the bowler's end, Klusener's partner, Allan Donald, would have been gone.

An opportunity was squandered the next ball: Klusener hit Fleming towards mid-on, Mark Waugh, who flipped the ball back to Fleming, who rolled it down the pitch towards Adam Gilchrist. Donald, in a fatal moment of indecision, tried to get back to his crease, dropped his bat and recovered only to see Klusener charging towards his end. By the time he tried to complete the single, Gilchrist had broken the stumps down to trigger wild celebrations around a stunned South African camp. Australia were through to the final on net run-rate, with half-centuries from Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan followed by an inspiring spell from Shane Warne giving them the boost that Klusener's assault came so close to crushing. For Australia, the momentum of their performance won them a one-sided final against Pakistan. For South Africa, it was a memory that would haunt them forever.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

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