In a cruel twist of fate Zulu Klusener once again found himself in a similar situation to that he found himself in in the 1999 world cup semi-final against Australia.
And, unfortunately for him, the last few balls again played to script with poor running again tripping him up.
Last night Northants took on Warwickshire in a Pro40 game at Edgbaston, scene of South Africa 1999 World Cup exit against Australia. Yip, it’s that game. The one where Allan Donald and Lance Klusener couldn’t claim a simple run in the last three balls of the game and so seal the deal and a spot in the final. Warwickshire, batting first, scored a cracking 266-5 with South Africa’s own Jonathan Trott scoring a very well-played 108. A masterful, comfortable, well-balanced innings he rightfully deserved the Man-of-the-Match award.
Ably assisted by some poor bowling by Northants (Andrew Hall 7-67-3), Trott made sure that the challenging total was always going to be a struggle to get.
Always chasing the score it seemed at times as if Northants weren’t even going to get close.
But then enters Mr. Klusener and one Rikki Wessels to amount a huge challenge with a flurry of boundaries to take Northants to within a hair’s breadth of victory.
When Wessels holed out for 54 (strike rate of 165+) in stepped another SA discard, Johan van der Wath, with three overs to go.
Needing about 14 runs an over it seemed possible, especially with van der Wath being dropped three times in the penultimate over. It was actually on one of these balls that the two batsmen gave away the chance to win the game.
On the third dropped catch, an absolute skyer from van der Wath, the batsmen had time to run two runs while the ball was in the air but instead were caught ball-watching and neglected to take any runs whatsoever.
In a repeat of Edgbaston circa 1999, again Zulu opted not to take the runs on offer and, ultimately, was forced to pay the price.
The irony, of course, is that everybody had thought they’d taken the runs on offer and the scoreboard was later changed to reflect the fact that they hadn’t taken the runs.
It was actually quite funy watching it unfold as van der Wath’s head drops the moment he hits the ball and he sort of starts bumbling down the pitch.
It seems they then realised that the new batsman would be on strike and then stopped to think about it in the middle of the pitch with a cup of tea. Then they turned back and ambled back into their crease.
To be fair to him it was actually van der Wath who didn’t take the runs on offer but ultimately it was another poor running display and again Klusener was involved.
6 or so balls later and Klusener is on strike needing a six off the final ball for victory.
And that’s the rub, because needing a four for victory off the last ball is one helluva lot easier than needing to put it over the fence. Having a huge smash Kluesner wasn’t able to find the fence and Northants lost their third Pro40 on the trot.
All-in-all a drama-filled last few overs and a thoroughly enjoyable game (if not of the highest standard), especially for one Allan Donald sitting in the stands as Warwickshire’s bowling coach… no sense of deja vu for him last night then!
With eight South Africans in the middle between the sides it was good to see some of the old faces again.Tweet