It is exactly 23 years to the day (26 February 1992) that South Africa competed in their first World Cup and ended up upsetting hosts Australia by nine wickets.
There were plenty of questions raised about whether Kepler Wessels was the right man to lead South Africa and in a move that evoked widespread outcry, the selectors picked Wessels as captain ahead of fan favourites Clive Rice and Jimmy Cook (neither of whom made the squad). Although Wessels had considerable experience, having played for Australia in 24 Tests, the South African public was quite disappointed with the decision, even launching a petition condemning the decisions.
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that Australia were the clear favourites. But in the 49-overs-a-side match, Allan Donald took 3 for 34 to restrict Australia to 170-9.
Against his former team, Wessels laid the foundation for South Africa with Andrew Hudson, forging a 74-run opening stand. In the 16th over, after having driven Mike Whitney for four to midwicket, Wessels edged the ball to the wicketkeeper. Fortunately for him, Australia’s regular wicketkeeper Ian Healy had pulled a hamstring while batting and stand-in wicketkeeper David Boon dropped the chance.
The error proved to be costly for Australia. Hudson fell for 28, but Wessels was in no mood to budge. Strong on the offside, he cut the ball to the boundary off Steve Waugh just a few overs later, and drove Allan Border through the covers in the 33rd over. Wessels continued to pierce the gaps, reaching his fifty in the 35th over.
South Africa reached the target in 46.5 overs, with Wessels pushing the ball to thirdman to score the winning run, Peter Kirsten alongside him unbeaten on 49.
Scores: Australia 170-9 in 49 overs (David Boon 27, Steve Waugh 26; Allan Donald 3-34, Adrian Kuiper 2-15, Brian McMillan 2-35).
South Africa 171-1 in 46.5 overs (Kepler Wessels 81no, Peter Kirsten 49no, Andrew Hudson 28).
Watch footage of Allan Donald’s first ball of the match, to Australia’s Geoff Marsh. The umpire gave not out.