In the build-up to the 2019 ICC Cricket World CupCricketCountry brings to you the most memorable moments and matches from the tournament over the years – right from its first edition, way back in 1975. With 47 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown we rewind to the 1999 World Cup semi-final at Old Trafford.

There’s no doubt that the ICC World Cup 1999 semi-final between Australia and South Africa will be ranked high up in cricket’s folklore. For one, the contest ended in a tie in such a dramatic fashion that even futurists would find it hard to decode, but then cricket throws up such interesting contests that makes the aficionado fall in love with the game every day.

Australia had just managed to gain the upper hand in the tournament. They were beaten by Pakistan and New Zealand, and it took a dramatic change in attitude to edge ahead in the Super Six stage. On the other hand, the South Africans looked assertive, although they faced a minor hiccup in the form of a loss to underdogs Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, they were stronger than the rest of the teams in the mix.

Chasing 214, Gary Kirsten and Herschelle Gibbs started positively. By the 12th over, the South Africans coasted to 48 for no loss, and Steve Waugh became fidgety. A gamble had to be taken, for his opening bowlers could yield absolutely nothing off the wicket. The ball was tossed to Shane Warne. In just the second ball of his first over, Warne dismissed Gibbs with a delivery very similar to the Mike Gatting ‘Ball of the Century’, a ball that pitched outside leg and turned enough to hit the top of the off-stump.

Warne took two more scalps, that of Kirsten’s and Hansie Cronje’s, to put South Africa into a spot of bother at 53 for three. Then, an incredible piece of fielding from Michael Bevan saw the back of Daryll Cullinan, and it further pushed the Proteas to a corner. (ALSO READ: The 1999 World Cup semi-final was a tragedy: Allan Donald)

Like Steve Waugh and Bevan did for Australia, Jacques Kallis and Jonty Rhodes got together and began the process of recuperation. An 84-run partnership ensued before Paul Reiffel had Rhodes caught off Bevan in the deep. Warne was then called upon again, and he duly dismissed Kallis, his fourth victim, to leave South Africa in a precarious position at 175 for six in the 45th over. But, in Lance Klusener, they had the perfect man, tailor-made for such situations, in the middle.

Damien Fleming was entrusted with the responsibility of saving those nine runs, but considering Klusener’s current state of mind, the chances of that happening looked bleak. In a dramatic over that had it’s own twists and turns, Donald’s run-out topped it all.

Australia’s joy knew no bounds. The match was tied, but owing to the fact that they were placed above South Africa in the Super Six stage, made the cut to the finals.

Brief scores: Australia 213 in 49.2 overs (Michael Bevan 65, Steve Waugh 56; Shaun Pollock 5 for 36, Allan Donald 4 for 32) tied with South Africa 213 (Jacques Kallis 53, Jonty Rhodes 43, Lance Klusener 31*; Shane Warne 4 for 29).

Australia qualified for the final as they finished above South Africa on the Super Six table.