The 1999 World Cup tied Semi Final between Australia and South Africa is etched in the folklore of Australia’s cricket history and was one of those remember where you were moments.
Someone who was at the ground was future Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris. Rhino was in the UK playing club cricket in 1999 and originally had tickets for the NZ v Pakistan semi final. Fortunately he was able to swap his tickets ensuring he was at Edgbaston for the first ever tie in World Cup history.
With 1 run needed to win for South Africa and the dangerous Lance Klusner on strike the odds were certainly stacked in South Africa’s favour. However the calm execution from DW Fleming with the ball was mirrored with confusion between Klusner and his batting partner Alan Donald. A tidy piece of fielding from ME Waugh who sent the ball to Fleming executing an under-arm throw with the highest possible precision for Gilly to effect the match winning run out.
As the pandemonium ensued out in the middle a 19 year old Ryan Harris was one of many fans who stormed onto the ground jubilantly. Ryan recounted the moment on the Cricket Library Podcast.
“I think what jogged Boof’s memory of me being there was when we won, I went flying out onto the field and ran across to him and gave him a big high five and he came back and gave me another high five and said I’ll call you and then ran off.”
The good news for Ryan was that Darren was able to get him tickets to the World Cup Final which although it was without the high drama witnessed at Edgbaston was a lasting memory for a future member of the Baggy Green club.
Australia were comfortable winners largely thanks to SK Warne spinning a web claiming four wickets and Pakistan bowled out for a well under par 132. Australia chased them down without much fuss with Boof Lehmann finishing the job, cutting Saqlain Mushtaq to the boundary to bring up the winning runs.
It was a massive thrill for Ryan who got to witness the victory and also spend some time after the game soaking it all in with the successful Australian team thanks to his mate Darren Lehmann as he recalls “I think I was only there for a couple of hours but to be able to mingle with those guys, especially at that age at 19 was a phenomenal thing and again very appreciative of Darren to be able to get me in that position”
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