South Africa’s luck at cricket World Cups has always made for a sensitive topic when it comes to the influence of rain.
None of them probably more ridiculous than the 1992 semifinal against England at the Sydney Cricket Ground where obscure laws involving rain resulted in the Proteas’ exit from the competition.
England batted first in the day-night encounter and posted 252-6 in 45 overs after South Africa had bowled too slowly during the overs, which saw them cop a fine in the process.
But, the chase was a rather controversial one as rain began to play a part at the SCG.
At that time, before the Duckworth Lewis Method was introduced, the calculation was meant for the reduction in the target to be proportionate to the lowest scoring overs of the side batting first, which made it easier for teams chasing.
But the advantages for the method showed a lot of cracks, especially in South Africa’s chase for the 253 target.
With 47 needed off 30 overs, the Proteas were very much in it and when that was reduced to 22 from 13, there was still a big chance of reaching the final.
But rain interrupted play once again which meant a reduction was due for a possible result.
The original announcement at the SCG was that the reduction was one over in the short time that was lost meaning 22 runs were needed off 7 deliveries for South Africa.
The announcement proved incorrect as South Africa actually required 21 from one over due to a leg-bye that was overlooked.
But when the players went out onto the field again they and the crowd were unaware that another over had been deducted because of the rain, which as a result meant the Proteas needed 21 from one ball.
The players were informed by the umpires, which put the result beyond doubt as England claimed victory, although both camps were equally confused and angered by the revised system that calculated the winning total.
England would eventually lose to Pakistan in the final but the result hurt in South African cricket circles in what was a perfect opportunity to reach the final and announce the country’s return to cricket from isolation.