The semifinal of the 1999 Cricket World Cup between South Africa and Australia is remembered as one of the best ODI matches of all time. The reasons behind it are plenty. For one, the match ended in a tie, and in a way no one could have assumed. Thrilling finishes weren't as common back in the day, and what South Africa and Australia produced on that day in Edgbaston ranks right up there in cricketing folklore.
Australia and South Africa had been assertive on their roads to the World Cup semifinal, including a little dice rolled by fate in Australia's favour when these two teams had faced each other four days ago. Australia had jumped ahead of South Africa in the points-table with a win, and it would come to haunt the Proteas in the worst possible way in this crunch knockout game.
Shaun Pollock's five wicket haul had restricted Australia to 2013, with only Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan's half-centuries being crucial contributions. South Africa started off positively with Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs putting on 48 in 12. Sensing that the match was slipping away, Waugh threw the ball to Shane Warne, a gamble that paid off. Warne took out Gibbs with a ball similar to his Ball of the Century, one that pitched on leg stump and turned enough to clip his off.
From 48/0, Warne's three had South Africa slip to 53/3, before Jacques Kallis and Jonty Rhodes began the repair work. The two put together 84 runs for the fifth wicket before Rhodes was caught by Michael Bevan in the deep. Warne returned to take out Kallis and Australia seemed all over South Africa at 175/6. With 49 needed in less than five, out walked Lance Klusener, the Man who put the 1999 World Cup on fire, and raced to 23 off 12.
Damien Fleming was selected to defend nine off the last over in which drama unfolded. With Australia needing one wicket, the first two balls were drilled for boundaries, through covers and wide of long off. The next was a dot ball, bringing the equation down to 1 needed off three. That is when a moment of chaos ensued. Klusener drilled the ball to long off and took off, but Allan Donald, the No. 11, in a moment of brain fade, did not. Before he realised and ran with all his might, it was too late and Adam Gilchrist had taken the bails off.
Klusener ran straight to the dressing room in disbelief, while Donald dropped his bat, and the World Cup. The match ended in a tie but since Australia were ahead in the Super Six table they advanced to the final, where they beat Pakistan and won a second World Cup title.