Robin Peterson, who turns 37 today, was instrumental in the Proteas’ comeback victory over India at the 2011 World Cup.
Going into the knockout stages, the Proteas were seen as one of the favourites to go all the way and secure their first ever World Cup title. This was due to their dominance in the group stages that saw them win all but one of their six matches. Their most memorable was their win against hosts India in Nagpur.
India were 267-1 with over 10 overs remaining – a huge total in sight. An incredible collapse, however, inspired by a five-wicket haul from Dale Steyn and a couple of crucial wickets from the spin of Peterson, saw them bowled out for 296.
Fifties from Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers ensured the Proteas were always in it, but when Peterson strode out with 12 balls left, 17 were still needed with three wickets in hand. Peterson’s first run was a nervous scamper following confusion between the 32-year-old and Faf du Plessis.
With one over remaining, Peterson had only scored two off three balls, with 13 runs still needed. Facing the first ball of the last over, fortune favoured the brave as a thick inside edge saw Ashish Nehra’s delivery go for four. The next wasn’t luck, as Peterson walloped it for six over cow corner. Suddenly just three were needed off four. Somehow he dug the next ball out for two, and just to put the icing on the cake, he slammed the fourth ball through the covers for four, to finish on 18 off just seven balls, and seal the victory with two balls remaining.
Speaking after the match skipper Graeme Smith said: ‘I haven’t seen Robbie hit the ball that clean in a long time, we’ve backed him in this world cup and he’s performed.’
The Proteas were knocked out in the quarter-finals to New Zealand, and India eventually went on to lift the trophy, but it will still go down as one of South Africa’s best World Cup victories.
Photo: Daniel Berehulak