South Africa and Australia have often played memorable games in all formats of the game but not many come close to the contest which happened on this day in 2006. In the fifth ODI of the series, at Johannesburg, with the series on the line, both teams played out of their skins.
Australia put a massive 434 for 4 on the board only to be overhauled by the hosts who got over the line in the final over with a wicket and a ball left.
Having elected to bat first and the tourists were given a good start by Adam Gilchrist who scored a 44-ball 55. Ricky Ponting came in and batted as a man possed to stroke a belligerent 164 in just 105 balls, inclusive of 13 boundaries and nine sixes. He got able support from Michael Hussey who scored a quick-fire 81 in just 51 balls. Andrew Symonds provided the perfect finish with a 13-ball 27 to take the visitors to 434.
The hosts began their chase in disastrous fashion with Nathan Bracken dismissing Boeta Dippenaar for 1. Just like Ponting, Herschelle Gibbs came out on a mission, batting at No. 3 and carted the Australian bowlers to all parts of the ground. Graeme Smith departed after scoring 90 in 55 balls but by then the hosts had momentum on their side.
AB de Villiers (14) and Jacques Kallis (20) couldn’t contribute much but Mark Boucher stepped up with a 50 in 43 balls. Nathan Bracken who finished with 5 for 67 in the game was involved in what was a crucial moment in the game. He dropped Gibbs on 130 and it cost them big time.
Gibbs fell to Symonds having scored 175 in 111 balls with 21 boundaries and seven maximums. It came down to the final over where Brett Lee had seven runs to defend.
The hosts had a couple of wickets in hand but lost Andrew Hall after he hit a boundary. Makhaya Ntini took a single with two runs needed and Boucher finished things off in style with a lofted shot over mid-on, sealing one of cricket’s most memorable wins.
Both Gibbs and Ponting were named Player of the Match and it was the hosts who took the series 3-2 with a one-wicket win.