On this Day: Herschelle Gibbs and South Africa’s costliest dropped catch
South Africa and Australia played a memorable match in the Super Six stage of the 1999 World Cup,where Herschelle Gibbs put down what would later get to be known as the costliest dropped catch in the history of South Africa cricket.Updated: Jun 13, 2020 13:33 IST
Australia and South Africa produced a thrilling match in the second semifinal of the 1999 World Cup. Yes, the same match where Allan Donald got himself run out and denied South Africa what could have been their first World Cup final.
However, as big a classic as that was, South Africa and Australia played another memorable match, in the Super Six stage of the tournament which took place on June 13, where Herschelle Gibbs put down what would later get to be known as the costliest dropped catch in the history of South Africa cricket.
The match in itself was pretty good. Batting first, South Africa posted a strong 271/7, led by Gibbs himself, who top scored with 101 off 134 with ten fours and one six. He and Daryll Cullinan added 95 runs for the second wicket, and with a couple of crucial lower-order contributions from Jonty Rhodes and Lance Klusener, South Africa were able to cross the 250-mark comfortably.
Australia’s response was far from ideal. Adam Gilchrist was cleaned up by Steve Elworthy and his partner Mark Waugh was run out, each at a personal score of 5. Elworthy had Damien Martyn out caught for 11, leaving Australia in on the brinks of 48/3. Out walked their captain Steve Waugh hoping to put the innings on track. On 11, he flicked a ball off Klusener to Gibbs, who, in an act of premature celebration, dropped it. That is when Waugh famously told Gibbs, “How does it feel to drop the World Cup, Herschelle?”
Waugh went on to score a crucial century, his 120 helping Australia chase down the target in the final over with support from Ricky Ponting’s 69 in the middle order. Besides helping Australia remain in the tournament, Waugh’s knock lifted Australia above South Africa in the Super Six stage. While it wasn’t too significant at that point of time, its impact was felt four days later when the second semifinal between Australia and South Africa ended in a tie and Waugh’s team advanced to the final.