Sunday, 19 April 2020 marks exactly 24 years since batsman Gary Kirsten struck an ODI century to lead the Proteas to victory over India in the final of the Sharjah Cup.
India and South Africa had outdone Pakistan to reach the final of the tri-series. Kirsten ensured the Proteas were the ultimate victors with a Player of the Match and Player of the Series performance.
His 115 not out spanned 142 deliveries – and featured just four fours and one six. He spent over three hours at the crease – and ran several singles and twos in the sapping Sharjah heat.
Pinch-hitter Pat Symcox was deployed in the middle order and afforded Kirsten solid support en route to an ODI career-best 61 from 49.
The left-handed Kirsten thwarted a challenging opposition attack, spearheaded by seamer Javagal Srinath and spinner Anil Kumble, throughout.
South Africa amassed a final total of 287 for five, to which the Indians replied with an insufficient 249 for nine
The century was one of six struck in ODI cricket by Kirsten in 1996. Five days prior, he had hit one against the same opposition at the same venue.
Two months earlier, he collected a near World Cup double-century against the United Arab Emirates – and a sterling 116 during South Africa’s bilateral ODI series in England.
October 1996 brought two more, against Pakistan and Australia in Nairobi and Indore, respectively.
Kirsten collected 13 centuries in 10 years of ODI cricket overall, almost half of which came in that prolific 1996.
Photo: Gallo Images