June 13: When Gibbs "dropped the World Cup"

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Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 12:27 [IST]
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When Gibbs

For many, number 13 is considered unlucky. South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs too might be feeling the same when he thinks of 13. It is on the same day, June 13, that he "dropped the World Cup" and handed it to Steve Waugh and Australia.

[World Cup Scorecard: Australia Vs South Africa, June 13, 1999]

June 13, 1999, has gone down into cricket history as one of the most forgettable dates as far as South Africa and Gibbs are concerned. But for Australia and their former captain Waugh, it is is one of the most memorable ones.

The 1999 World Cup in England had reached the Super Sixes stage when Australia and South Africa met at Headingley, Leeds. On June 13, these two teams were up against each other.

South Africa won the toss and chose to bat. Gibbs turned out to be the batting hero with a fine 101. But when Australia chased 272, the opener turned out to be the team's villain.

Steve Elworthy had put Australia in strife with two quick blows. Australia were in huge trouble at 48/3 in 11.3 overs. In walked their skipper Waugh at number five and joined Ricky Ponting.

Waugh, who till that day, had only one century, had his task cut out. Known for his gutsy batting and backs-to-the-wall stuff, Waugh produced one of his finest hundreds, thanks to a dropped catch by Gibbs.

When on 56, Gibbs, in a bid to celebrate Waugh's catch at midwicket, spilled the offer. And supposedly, Waugh asked him "How does it feel to drop the World Cup?".

Waugh made the most of this reprieve and took Australia to victory in the last over, with an unbeaten 120, his highest in ODIs.

This result was significant in Australia progressing further to the final and winning the trophy as the semi-final between the same two sides ended in a tie four days later and as Australia had won earlier against the same opponent, that counted in taking Waugh's boys to the final against Pakistan.

While entire Australian team celebrated that success in Headingley, Gibbs and rest of his team-mates were left to rue that missed opportunity.

Till date, South Africa are yet to win a World Cup trophy. Gibbs' non-catch is considered as the "costliest drop ever" on the cricket field. But Waugh and Australia are not complaining.

Can we call this the 13 effect?


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