Great Moments

Another magic ball

When called upon, Shane Warne pushed thoughts of retirement away with a bravura spell

Peter English

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South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs (R) misses his shot as he is bowled by Australia's Shane Warne 17 June 1999,  during their semi-final match in the Cricket World Cup at Edgbaston, Birmingham. The final will be at Lords  20 June 1999
Over the course of two matches, Gibbs' World Cup went pear-shaped © AFP
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Players/Officials: Herschelle Gibbs | Shane Warne
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Cup

It was looking like Shane Warne's final international as South Africa burst to 0 for 43 off ten overs in their chase of 213 for a spot in the final. Warne was down and almost out. He had been dropped from the Test team in West Indies, missed the birth of his son, Jackson, and was contemplating retirement during a Hyde Park walk with Steve Waugh. It wasn't the best preparation for a contest that would become the most famous in limited-overs history. South Africa had already given up the Super Six game at Headingley four days earlier, but Herschelle Gibbs was making the chase more comfortable with each ball he faced. After ten overs Waugh was desperate. He called for Warne.

Moment
Warne's opening over went for three and he had to wait for his eighth ball to strike. Gibbs had become a villain by dropping Waugh in the previous game during a premature celebration of a simple catch, but he was forgiven for this lapse to a delivery that would quickly be compared to the Gatting ball. Drifting outside Gibbs' pads, it turned sharply past the batsman and removed the off ball. Warne roared and Gibbs, like Mike Gatting, was silent and confused. How could I have been bowled? Warne was suddenly charged to full power and Gary Kirsten and Hansie Cronje, who was ruled to edge a ball he missed, fell in his next seven balls, surging Australia back into the contest. Jacques Kallis was later added to his amazing haul of 4 for 29 off ten.

Boundary view
"There was a performance by Shane Warne that people will talk about when they are old and grey and nodding by the fire. Combining the brilliance and bravery that is granted only to the great, he took hold of this match when it was drifting away from Australia and enabled them to win it. Hooray for Warne, and hooray for cricket lovers everywhere. He was sensational." -Michael Henderson in the Daily Telegraph

What happened next
Australia still had work to do once Warne finished and Lance Klusener started felling, but his fatal mix-up with Allan Donald allowed Waugh's men through to the final despite the tie. After winning at Lord's, Warne talked about quitting. It would take more than seven years for him to walk away from international cricket.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of ESPNcricinfo

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