It was a photo finish of entirely the wrong kind when Lance Klusener met Allan Donald at the bowler's end while Adam Gilchrist broke the stumps on the striker's side to send South Africa home from the 1999 World Cup. The semi-final tie meant Australia advanced after finishing on a higher number of points, having beaten South Africa four days earlier in their Super Six face-off.

in that game, Australia were chasing 272 and had been reduced to 48 for 3 but Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting staged a recovery. Waugh was on 56 when he lobbed a catch at midwicket to Herschelle Gibbs, who dropped it in premature celebration. Waugh went on to score an unbeaten 120 and Australia won by five wickets with two balls to spare.

In the semi-final, South Africa had the much simpler task of gunning down 214, and at 175 for 5 appeared on track. But they lost four wickets for 23 in the space of 24 balls to leave the audacious Klusener with only Donald to assist in getting the last 16.

Klusener scored 15 of those runs before tapping the ball past Donald and running for what would have been the winning single. Donald was backing up as Klusener advanced, and by the time he turned around, Klusener was already at his end. Donald dropped his bat and tried to run through but had only reached mid-pitch by the time Gilchrist ran him out. A hangdog Donald was left in the midst of a cock-a-hoop Australia, who went on to win three consecutive World Cups.

Although South Africa had been knocked out of World Cups in curious circumstances before - the 22 runs they needed off one ball in 1992 was the first example - their 1999 exit birthed a ghost that haunts them to this day. It earned them the label "chokers" for their inability to deal with pressure, and they have departed four more World Cups in similarly heartbreaking style.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent