• Duckworth/Lewis despair

    South Africa were knocked out of their own World Cup in bizarre and cruel circumstances after a rain affected tie in their crunch clash against Sri Lanka in Durban at the 2003 World Cup.

    On this day in 2003 Sri Lanka scored 268-9 after a century from opener Marvan Atapattu and then restricted the Proteas to 229-6 in 45 overs before rain forced the players from the field.

    According to the Duckworth/Lewis-method, the scores were tied when the umpires called on the covers with South Africa needing 40 runs from the last 30 balls of the innings.

    With the points shared between the two sides, Sri Lanka’s place in the Super Sixes is confirmed and they top the Pool B table with 18 points. Kenya and New Zealand take second and third place respectively with 16 points.

    As the drizzle began to build, Lance Klusener and Mark Boucher helped South Africa reach 229 just before rain paused play. Believing that to be the total needed under the Duckworth-Lewis system, the batsmen and crowd celebrated. But the total required was actually 230, leaving the Proteas one run short.

    Mark Boucher smashed the penultimate ball of the 45th over – and what turned out to be final over – for six and punched the air, thinking he’d already done enough to qualify. Unfortunately for the hosts, he had merely brought the scores level after the 12th man, Nicky Boje, was unable to reach the middle in time to warn him.

    Shaun Pollock was left to stare out of the window for an hour or so before the umpires finally pulled the plug. It was his last act as captain. A week later he was sacked as captain.


    Picture: Reuters

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