It was South Africa’s first World Cup, a vibrant nation emerging out of the dark shadows of the apartheid regime. Led by Sir Allan Donald, victories over Australia, West Indies, Pakistan, India and Zimbabwe had propelled them all the way to the semi-final. Under the brooding Sydney skies, they had been left with needing 22 runs from their last 13 deliveries to defeat the favorites England, and reach the World Cup final. The target looked well within reach with 23 runs coming in the previous over itself. But it took only 12 minutes of rain interruption to disrobe them of their dream.
The Duckworth Lewis method was non-existent at that time, so to cope with rain interruptions a method was used in which the reduction in the target was to be proportionate to the lowest-scoring overs of the side batting first, to take into account the benefits of chasing. However, that didn’t work out so well, when the chase had been all but completed, and South Africa was made to rue Meyrick Pringle’s excellent figures of 9-2-36-2. At first the scoreboard showed a reduction to 22 off seven balls, and then moments later, it read 22 off one. Brian McMillan patted Chris Lewis’ last ball for a single, and set off to the pavilion visibly furious.
Edited by Shivang Aggarwal