The Proteas after winning the ODI series against New Zealand. Picture: Andrew Cornaga/
In a series of features we will be running this week in the build-up to the ICC Champions Trophy, cricket writer Zaahier Adams highlights major moments in South Africa’s journey throughout the tournament.

ICC KnockOut Trophy Final 

South Africa v West Indies, Dhaka, Nov 1, 1998 

Jacques Kallis 5/30

It is possibly fitting that South Africa’s sole ICC global tournament success was achieved due to the brilliance of arguably its greatest ever player. Jacques Kallis - and South Africa - may never have won a World Cup but they will always have the 1998 ICC KnockOut Trophy - the predecessor to the current tournament. 

Aged only 23, Kallis played a leading role in taking South Africa to the final with a breathtaking 113 not out off only 100 balls (5x4, 5x6) in the semi-final against Sri Lanka.

Jacques Kallis Photo: Reuters

However, in an illustration of his invaluable all-round talents, it was with the ball that Kallis made a significant impact in the showpiece match in Dhaka. 

After a bollocking 103 from West Indies opener Philo Wallace, Kallis changed the course of the final with match-winning figures of 5/30 in 7.3 overs. It enabled South Africa to dismiss the West Indies for 245, which South Africa comfortably chased down with four wickets to spare. Kallis was named Man of the Series.

ICC Champions Trophy, Group Match

South Africa v West Indies, Colombo, Sept 13, 2002

Allan Dawson’s last-ball edge

Stay close to the telly when South Africa are playing during this upcoming Champions Trophy for there is bound to be a thriller when the Proteas are involved. 

Back in 2002, in Colombo with the ICC KnockOut Trophy’s name having formally been changed to the Champions Trophy, South Africa and the Windies once again produced an epic finish. 

Only this time it was the Proteas who held their nerve and caused the Caribbean side to choke. Merv Dillon had recovered from being struck for six off the first ball of the final over to remove both Shaun Pollock and Lance Klusener within three balls to leave South Africa requiring three runs off the final two deliveries. 

But that’s when Dillon buckled under the pressure and delivered a wide, which allowed Nicky Boje and Allan Dawson to scamper home for an extra bye. 

Dawson completed Dillon, and the West Indies’ misery, when he edged the final delivery to the third-man boundary to snatch victory for South Africa from the gaping jaws of defeat.

ICC Champions Trophy, Semi-Final

India v South Africa, Colombo, Sept 25, 2002

Herschelle Gibbs 116 retired hurt

This is a bitter-sweet moment in Herschelle Gibbs’s much-illustrated career. The South African opener was in superb form throughout the tournament, having struck a century en-route to the semi-finals. 

He was at his fluent best again in the semis and was on course to guide South Africa to a second Champions Trophy final in three attempts with another sublime century. 

Crucially, though, Gibbs suffered from severe cramps in the intense heat and could hardly even hold the bat when he was forced to leave the field with South Africa comfortably placed on 192/1 in pursuit of 261. However, Gibbs’s retirement triggered an almighty collapse as India’s spin contingent choked up the middle-order with South Africa eventually finishing on 251/6.

ICC Champions Trophy, Group Match

South Africa v West Indies, The Oval, Sept 18-19, 2004

Herschelle Gibbs’ pre-match diet

Another Gibbs century that ultimately did not lead to a South African victory at a major ICC tournament, with the maverick opener’s 101 not enough against the West Indies at The Oval on this occasion. However, this Gibbs innings is not remembered for the fluency of his strokeplay but rather his pre-match diet. 

“I had a pizza for the first time in a few months. Maybe it helped with the balance this morning. It would get me a bit more firm on my feet. It made me sleep a bit better. It was washed down with a bit of Jack Daniels!” said the Michaelangelo of the Proteas team.

ICC Champions Trophy, Group Match

Pakistan v South Africa, Mohali, Oct 27, 2006

Makhaya Ntini 5/21

In a tournament where bowlers dominated throughout, Makhaya Ntini prospered on a seamer-friendly track in Mohali. South Africa had stumbled to 42/5 in their innings, but recovered to 213/8 due to half-centuries from Mark Boucher and Justin Kemp. 

Makhaya Ntini. File Photo: Themba Hadebe

Ultimately, it was more than enough with Ntini wrecking through the Pakistani top-order to skittle the subcontinent giants for a paltry 89 all out in just 25 overs.

ICC Champions Trophy, Group Match

South Africa v New Zealand, Centurion, Sept 24, 2009

Wayne Parnell 5/57

It’s funny how as much as things change, things remain the same. Wayne Parnell, just 20 back then, admitted he had leaked “too many runs” but he still had that “X-factor” to pick up wickets at crucial stages of the innings. 

Wayne Parnell appeals successfully for the wicket of New Zealand's Ross Taylor during their ICC Champions Trophy cricket match in Pretoria September 24, 2009. Photo: Mike Hutching/Reuters

His five-for played a crucial part in South Africa defeating the Kiwis and the young left-armer finishing the tournament as the tournament's leading wicket-taker with 11 scalps, despite the Proteas not even progressing to the playoffs.

ICC Champions Trophy, Group Match

South Africa v England, Centurion, Sept 27, 2009

Andrew Strauss refuses Graeme Smith a runner

South Africa’s skipper Graeme Smith virtually carried his team on his back to try and haul them over the line and into the semi-finals with an epic 141. However, even heroes like Smith are defeated on occasion, and in this must-win game for SA, it was to be his arch-nemesis England’s Andrew Strauss that got to stick the dagger in. 

With Smith cramping up after spending 95 overs in the field, Biff requested a runner to complete his innings. Strauss declined and an already padded-up AB de Villiers had to make his way back up the SuperSport Park steps. 

Graeme Smith (L) plays a shot during their ICC Champions Trophy cricket match against England in Pretoria, September 27, 2009. Photo: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

Smith departed moments later and a despondent Proteas crowd, realising their leader had done everything he possibly could, rose in unison to salute Smith, even though SA were set to be knocked out of another major ICC tournament on home soil before the business end of the competition got underway.

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