On June 17, 1999, 22 years from today, Australia and South Africa were involved in one of the greatest matches in the history of cricket, if not the greatest. It was the match in which the dream of a team was shattered in the most agonising way possible.
No team deserved to lose such a game. In fact, no one lost. But it was Australia who progressed to the final on the basis of the positive result in the Super Sixes.
Steve Waugh, one of the finest captains in the history of cricket, announced that if Australia failed to qualify for the final, he would quit playing international cricket. That really charged up the Aussies, who after a quiet start in the tournament, gained a lot of momentum.
Batting first, Australia posted 213 which wasn't a bad total given the condition. Although South Africa began the chase smoothly, Shane Warne spun a web around them. South Africa, though, were always in the game because Lance Klusener, comfortably the best player of the tournament, was still at the crease.
The match went right down the wire and South Africa needed nine off the last over. Steve Waugh entrusted Damien Fleming, who won them the 1996 World Cup Semifinal, with the last over. But a South Africa win was a matter of time given the form Klusener was in.
Unsurprisingly Klusener bludgeoned the first couple of balls to the boundary and there was now no way the Aussies could win. Just one needed off four.
Klusener was in the mood of finishing off in style. He threw his hands at the third delivery. It wasn't timed well and the ball travelled straight to Darren Lehmann at mid-on. Allan Donald, the non-striker, set off for a single which was never there. A direct hit would've been curtains for Donald but Lehmann missed not by much.
Klusener mistimed the fourth delivery too and set off for a tight single. Donald wasn't looking at him. By the time he realised that he would have to scamper, he lost his bat while trying to turn around. Donald took off, but it was too late. Fleming passed the ball to Adam Gilchrist, who dislodged the bails, and South Africa were denied a win.
Shane Warne knew that Australia had progressed to the final on the basis of their positive Super Sixes result against South Africa. He screamed, "We through, we through..". Australia fielders were ecstatic.
Donald was distorted in agony. A disappointed Klusener ran towards the pavilion. The ground was invaded by spectators. It was so close, yet so far for Hansie Cronje's men.