Helping cricketers overcome disappointments | Daily News

Helping cricketers overcome disappointments

Allan Donald is run out and the game is tied and Australia are through to the 1999 World Cup final at Birmingham.
Allan Donald is run out and the game is tied and Australia are through to the 1999 World Cup final at Birmingham.

South African cricket legend Allan Donald uses WC setbacks:

South Africa’s fast bowling legend Allan Donald played in four cricket World Cups since his country’s readmittance to international cricket in 1992 and ranks the last two he played in England in 1999 and in Africa in 2003 as the worst disappointment.

Although South Africa possessed one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket in the likes of Donald, Shaun Pollock, Steve Ellworthy, Lance Klusener, Jacques Kallis, Nicky Boje and Makhaya Ntini they have yet to reach a World Cup final.

The two years that Donald singled out are ones that South Africa was on course to qualify for a place in the final if not for their own undoing.


South Africa had their best chance when they hosted the world event in 2003 with Kenya and Zimbabwe.

“It wasn’t very happy memories. My form in the 2003 World Cup was not the best,” recalled Donald.

“Coming into the World Cup I had a very good ODI series against Pakistan. Sometimes things just don’t click and then having to be left out against Sri Lanka was a big kick in the teeth, and then obviously getting the Duckworth/Lewis wrong. It wasn’t a great way to go out of your home World Cup, it really hurt. It was a challenging time in my life the 2003 World Cup,” he said.

It was South Africa’s final Group B match against Sri Lanka and it ended in a tie when rain stopped play with five overs remaining at Durban.

South Africa who started the tournament as second favourites behind defending champions Australia needed to win to reach the Super Six. They were 229-6 after 45 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 268-9 when rain which had been falling for more than ten minutes drove the players off the field.

According to the Duckworth/Lewis method the “par” score was 229 which meant the honours and the points were shared.

Amazingly, Mark Boucher was wrongly told that 229 runs would be enough to win, it was revealed after the dramatic tie. South Africa captain Shaun Pollock said a message had been sent out to the wicketkeeper at the crease as the falling rain threatened to wash out the game.

As the rain began to pour down, Boucher hit a six off Muthiah Muralitharan’s next delivery, flat-batting the ball over mid-wicket to take the score to 229 for six. Boucher blocked the next ball - a single would have been enough for victory - before the players were ordered off.

Thanks to South Africa’s blunder Sri Lanka went through to the Super Six stage and reached the semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions Australia.

That World Cup ended Donald’s international career as a cricketer.


The 2003 incident was an uncanny repeat of the 1999 World Cup when South Africa’s semi-final against Australia in Birmingham ended in a tie and Australia went through because they had been higher on the Super Six log table.

The match reached an exciting climax, as South Africa took the game to the final over with a wicket to spare, thanks to Lance Klusener going hammer and tongs against the Australian bowlers.

In the final over, with nine needed, Klusener smashed the first two balls for four. With just one required off four balls, the final seemed to be South Africa’s destination.

The third ball of the over was a dot ball. But calamity struck on the fourth when Klusener was involved in an unfortunate mix up with last man Allan Donald, resulting in the latter’s run-out, which allowed Australia to tie a sensational game and progress to the final.

This was because Australia had won their game against South Africa in the league stages. The match remains a missed opportunity for South Africa in their World Cup history, and still raises questions as to what may have been if it were not for Donald’s unfortunate run out.

“It was a horrible time for South African cricket but that’s sport. I’ve been through a number of disappointments but the 1999 World Cup is the worst disappointment I will remember. You don’t have to ask me again,” said Donald.

“Those are the lessons that I’ve embraced in life the lessons I can convert to other cricketers to get over their disappointments,” he said.

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