Home > Features > Moments in history >

South Africa defend third lowest ODI score ever against beleaguered England in 1996

South African captain Hansie Cronje marshalled their resources well against England in 1996 © Getty Images
South African captain Hansie Cronje marshalled his resources well against England in 1996 © Getty Images

South Africa successfully defended a target of 130 at East London on January 19, 1996. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at the third-lowest ODI score ever defended.

In the dark days of the 1990s when Graeme Hick was the saviour of England who never materialised, about ten ‘next Ian Bothams’ turned up and vanished from the scene, men like Eddo Brandes turned up in the nightmares of the English batsmen, and the word Ashes was found only in Wisdens, England undertook a tour of South Africa.

To their credit, England began the One-Day International (ODI) series on a high note: they lost the first ODI at Newlands, but some exceptional batting helped England comeback strongly into the series with a victory at Bloemfontein. Thereafter, it all went wrong, as South Africa clinched the series by winning the next three ODIs at The Wanderers, Centurion, and Kingsmead.

The teams then moved on to the sixth match at East London. Having won the series already, South Africa rested Allan Donald and included a debutant all-rounder from Durban who bowled quite fast and hit the ball extremely hard: he went by the name of Lance Klusener.

Hansie Cronje and Michael Atherton went out to have a close inspection of the pitch — only to find out that the strip was definitely under-prepared. Wisden later called the pitch ‘substandard’, and once he won the toss, Cronje had no doubt in having first use of a pitch that would almost certainly deteriorate.

English seamers rout hosts…

Cronje decided to do something different in the match by sending Richard Snell to open the innings. Snell had earlier opened batting in the second ODI at Bloemfontein, scoring a 65-ball 63; here, however, he struggled, eventually edging one to Atherton in the slips off Peter Martin — but not before Dominic Cork had snared Gary Kirsten. Martin’s next ball had Jacques Kallis leg-before, and the hosts were suddenly reeling at 29 for three.

Cronje promoted Brian McMillan to five, and somehow managed to battle it out before being bowled by Craig White. McMillan and Jonty Rhodes restored some sanity to the score, with the latter hanging on despite groping at balls pitched up to him. Once the seamers had had their fill, Atherton turned to Richard Illingworth; he struck almost immediately as Rhodes holed out to Darren Gough off him.

Klusener did not have the most pleasant of debuts: Gough trapped him leg-before for a three-ball duck next over. Gough clean bowled Shaun Pollock as well, and two balls later, he had Dave Richardson leg-before as well. South Africa were 98 for eight: would they make it to three figures?

McMillan finally found support in Fanie de Villiers, and the pair trudged on, scraping out runs in a trickle. Once he got set, however, de Villiers opened up, hitting two boundaries, and the pair ended up adding 30 in 22 minutes before de Villiers was bowled by White. Paul Adams was cleaned up by Cork next over, but the McMillan-de Villiers partnership had done enough to exert pressure on the tourists.

South Africa were bowled out for 129 in 41.4 overs. Gough picked up three for 25, while the other seamers — Cork, Martin, and White — finished with two wickets apiece. Only twice had a side won after scoring lower totals in ODIs (barring shortened matches): India had defended 125 against Pakistan at Sharjah in 1984-85, while West Indies had defended 127 against Pakistan at Kingstown in 1980-81.

… but South Africa hits back

Atherton took a leaf out of Cronje’s book and got White to open batting with him. As with Snell, White did not turn out to be effective with the bat either, being caught-behind off de Villiers early in the innings. Robin Smith was clean bowled by Pollock for a duck the next over, and Atherton edged one to Richardson off de Villiers next over. England were 19 for three: the South Africans had hit back.

Atherton promoted the obdurate Jack Russell to join Hick, and the pair batted on grimly, holding out obdurately against Pollock, de Villiers, Klusener, and Snell. A big blow came when Rhodes injured himself and had to leave the field, but perhaps the bigger blow was when Richardson fractured his left index-finger. He had to leave the field, forcing Kirsten to adorn the gloves.

But Hick and Russell carried on unfazed with Donald rested, McMillan unable to bowl, and both Rhodes and Richardson injured. Running out of fast bowling options Cronje summoned Adams: bowling his chinaman found the edge off Hick (39 in 65 balls, three fours), Kirsten appealed for a caught-behind, and the umpire ruled him out though, the decision seemed dubious. Adams’s next ball to Graham Thorpe was a wide; the next ball met with an ugly swipe that hit the timber, and suddenly, out of nowhere, England had managed to slump to 76 for five.

Two runs later Russell was run out by a direct throw from Kirsten; the wicket-keeper had managed to scrape for 12 in 68 balls. Neil Fairbrother, England’s quintessential crisis man in ODIs, was standing firm at one end, but would the others be able to support him till the end?

Cork lasted 15 balls before he was bowled by Adams; Illingworth batted for seven balls before he was run out by another direct hit from Kirsten; and Gough was leg-before to Martin after he hit a boundary. With England requiring 26 runs for the last wicket both Fairbrother and Martin decided to hit out.

Martin connected well and found a boundary, but Fairbrother was eventually bowled by Snell for 13, as England finished 14 short of South Africa’s total. Other than Hick, Russell, and Fairbrother, nobody else had crossed 13. Though de Villiers and Snell had picked up two wickets apiece, Adams won the Man of the Match award – not only for his three for 26 – but also because of the fact that it was the two balls from him that had decided the match in the favour of the hosts.

What followed?

-          Border was fined R5,000 by Cricket South Africa (CSA) for the underprepared pitch.

-          England lost the seventh ODI at St George’s Park as well, conceding the series 1-6. Their poor form spilled over to the World Cup that followed, where they lost all four matches against Test-playing nations.

-          Richardson was replaced by Steve Palframan, who made his debut in the seventh match. With Richardson ruled out for three weeks, Palframan played in all matches of the World Cup, but did not play any international cricket thereafter.

-          South Africa’s 129 still remains the third-lowest total ever defended in a match that had not been curtailed.

Brief scores:

 

South Africa 129 in 41.4 overs (Brian McMillan 45*; Darren Gough 3 for 25) beat England 115 in 43.4 overs (Graeme Hick 39; Paul Adams 3 for 26) by 14 runs.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is a cricket historian and Senior Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He generally looks upon life as a journey involving two components – cricket and literature – though not as disjoint elements. A passionate follower of the history of the sport with an insatiable appetite for trivia and anecdotes, he has also a steady love affair with the incredible assortment of numbers that cricket has to offer. He also thinks he can bowl decent leg-breaks in street cricket, and blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in. He can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 19, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI at Chittagong Preview: Hosts look to build on winning start

Colin Ingram joins Glamorgan under Kolpak ruling

Assad Fudadin replaces Darren Bravo in West Indies Test squad for South Africa tour

George Bailey does not expect Test recall for series against India

Kumar Sangakkara asked to review retirement plans: Reports

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

World Cup 1979: Mike Hendrick blows Pakistan away

Shakib Al Hasan becomes 12th player to hit ODI century and take four wickets in same match

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here