Best cricket World Cup matches - Part X
It was the second semi-final of the 1992 World Cup that things came to head with the silly rain-rule that had caused many concerns to the teams throughout the tournament. England took on South Africa on March 22 in 1992, and were asked to bat first by South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground. >
After the early loss of Graham Gooch and Ian Botham (21), the side was propped up by the batting of wicket-keeper Alec Stewart and Graeme Hick. The pair took the score to 110 but most importantly, they helped the side to rebuild and see off the early moisture and wickets.
Even after the dismissal of Stewart for 33, there were healthy contributions from Neil Fairbrother, Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis to help Hick with his 83. In the end, Dermot Reeve smacked a 14-ball 25 to propel the side to a total of 252/6 in 45 overs before the innings had to be ended because the South Africans had overshot the stipulated time.
The target of 253 in 45 overs was always going to be stiff in a pressure semi-final but the good thing from the South African perspective was that all their batsmen got starts. After Kepler Wessels and Peter Kirsten were dismissed early, Andrew Hudson made a 46 while Adrian Kuiper scored 36 to push the first-timers forward.
The side was falling behind on their run-rate when Jonty Rhodes strode out and played an excellent hand of 43 from 38 balls in a fashion that one would see for the rest of the career. There were only three boundaries and for the rest of the time, he ran well between the wickets.
However, when Rhodes was dismissed, the side needed 47 to win at an asking rate of almost eight runs per over. Brian McMillan and Dave Richardson continued with the good effort of Rhodes and ran well between the wickets to pull the required runs down to 22 off the last 13 balls when it started to rain.
12 minutes were lost in the ensuing drizzle which meant that the number of overs had to be reduced by two. However, the target came down by only one run due to the strange rule and that meant that the South Africans needed 21 to win off the last delivery.
The last ball was completed, England entered the final and that was the last one saw of the rain-rule.
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