READER REPORT:

Cricket's greatest choke moment

ED WADDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 24/02/2014
shane warne cricket
MAGIC: Shane Warne.

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Cricket's greatest choke moment

As an England fan in my late 30s, Cricket World Cups since 1992 generally are painful occasions with embarrassing defeats.

Even 1992 doesn't bring back fond memories, as watching us lose the final to a team we'd bowled out for 72 earlier in the tournament wasn't the best experience.

England have won no more than half a dozen meaningful world cup games against test opposition since then - and two were Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. 

But it's Cricket World Cup 1999 which brings my greatest World Cup Memory. It might have been a horrible tournament for the hosts - a panic strewn collapse against India sticks in the memory - but it also contained what was surely the best ODI of all time. 

Yes, South Africa chased down 400-odd in 2006; yes, there's been a fair few 300-plus chases won off the last ball. But they were in simple series. This was a World Cup. The Semi Final. Intense Pressure.

I am, of course, referring to Australia versus South Africa at Edgbaston in 1999. 

The Australian innings was unremarkable. They got 213. Then came the South African reply - they were off to a flier - then Shane Warne produced his magic.

The Aussies took control, only for a magnificent counter punch innings by Lance Klusener to pull South Africa back. The last two overs were gripping.

On the English commentary Mike Proctor and Bill Lawry were having apoplexy. Lance Klusener looked like he'd won it - scores were level - then Allan Donald panicked, Klusener panicked, the Aussies remained cool and they went into the final, as they'd previously beaten South Africa in the group. 

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South Africa was beaten, and, in cricket at least, have probably never shaken off that choker tag. For Australia - the first of three consecutive world cup wins. And for cricket? The best ODI ever played.

What's your favourite Cricket World Cup moment? Find out about this assignment my clicking the big green button below.


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