The Greatest One Day Game between South Africa v Australia
by Arshad Chughtai

Ground:New Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg
Scorecard:South Africa v Australia
Player:RT Ponting, HH Gibbs
Event:Australia in South Africa 2005/06

DateLine: 17th March 2006


The fifth and final One Day International between South Africa and Australia played at Wanderers Stadium Johannesburg on Sunday the March 12 2006 will go down in the history of the game as the greatest match ever.


Prior to what happened on the day one could hardly believe that on the aggregate 872 runs were scored and Australian innings total of 434 which until then was a new World record for highest innings total would last only for a couple of hours and will be overhauled by the host team to claim an incredible victory. It was an amazing feat, South Africa really has done a wonder. Certainly a performance of which the followers of the game the world over are proud of.


Prior to the stunning performance by both teams in the Final the series stood level 2-2 at the end of the fourth ODI at Durban. Yet Ricky Ponting was the real difference between the two teams. True to the expectations of his supporters Ricky Ponting gave an enormous response on the occasion. He slammed a career best 164 off 105 balls and remained associated for the second and third wicket partnerships of 119 and 158 runs with Simon Katich and ME Hussey respectively. All Proteas bowlers conceded over 50 runs as Australia reached towering 434 for 4. Adam Gilchrist the Master blaster knocked up 55, Simon Katich made 79 and ME Hussey scored 81.


South Africa in reply had an early shock, Boeta Dippenar was removed in the second over. But the damage was soon forgotten. Skipper Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs took the challenge in high spirit as both men thrashed the Aussies bowling and scored 187 quick runs off 126 balls for second wicket before the departure of Smith. Herschelle Gibbs's dominance continued and he blasted 21 fours and 7 sixes in masterly display of batsmanship, hammering 175 off 111 balls. Gibbs was fourth out with the total on 299 in the 32nd over and at that juncture Australia seemed to be in control. But the South Africans intensified the chase with more determination. Subsequently tremendous effort particularly by Mark Boucher (50 not out off 43 balls) and John Vanderwath who cracked 35 only off 18 balls brought South Africa a sensational triumph, unprecedented in the history of the game. Australian medium pacer became the first man to concede over 100 runs in 50 overs One-Day Internationals.


The match also established the fact that the two teams on the present form are the best in the world and perhaps miles ahead of the remaining.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2006


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