World Cup Countdown: Neil Johnson helps Zimbabwe beat South Africa

Zimbabwe entered the Super Sixes of the 1999 World Cup and enhanced their reputation in world cricket.

Neil Johnson top-scored with 79 off 117 balls in Zimbabwe's win over South Africa

Neil Johnson top-scored with 79 off 117 balls in Zimbabwe's win over South Africa. © AFP

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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 49 days to go, in our latest World Cup Countdown we rewind to the day Zimbabwe beat South Africa 20 years ago.

Zimbabwe were a team to reckon with by 1999, and their biggest scalp of the tournament was South Africa.

Zimbabwe had until then beaten Kenya by five wickets and India by three runs, lost to defending champions Sri Lanka by four wickets and hosts England by seven wickets.

Hansie Cronje’s pre-tournament favourites had downed India by four wickets, Sri Lanka by 89 runs, England by 122 runs and Kenya by seven wickets.

Starring with the ball on this historic day was Neil Johnson, who had represented South Africa A before returning to his motherland, with a fine all-round performance. Opening the innings after Zimbabwe had opted to bat, Johnson struck a sparky 76 full of hard-hit drives and was especially severe on Jacques Kallis with the new ball.

Zimbabwe struggled thereafter and posted 234, a total which Johnson made to appear way too much for a strong South African outfit.

His first delivery reared up at Gary Kirsten and Andy Whittall took a good catch at gully, the first of three he would pouch. Kallis fell fourth ball and Cronje was yorked; South Africa were in disarray at 40/6.

Zimbabwe went on to hand South Africa their first defeat of the tournament and moved to the second stage of a World Cup for the first time.

Brief scores:

Zimbabwe 233/6 in 50 overs (Johnson 76, Donald 3/41) beat South Africa 185 in 47.2 overs (Pollock 52, Klusener 52*, Johnson 3/27, Streak 3/35) by 48 runs

Man of the Match: Neil Johnson



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