Perhaps the most dramatic moments in ICC Cricket World Cup history came in 1999 when Lance Klusener got South Africa to the brink of a famous win in the semifinal against Australia at Edgbaston, only to falter at the last hurdle.
Nineteen years since that unfortunate run-out that ended South Africa’s campaign, Klusener, looking back, acknowledges he could have been a little patient.
Chasing 214 for a win to enter the final of a World Cup for the first time, Jacques Kallis (53) and Jonty Rhodes (43) helped South Africa get closer to the target. However, a four-wicket haul by Shane Warne stymied the side’s progress.
Klusener, who was in terrific form with both bat and ball throughout that edition and was later named Player of the Tournament, almost single-handedly got South Africa to the doorstep of victory.
With nine runs to get in the final over, but only one wicket left, Klusener smoked Damien Fleming for two fours off successive deliveries to leave his side needing just one run in four balls.
The fourth ball of the over, Fleming bowled a full length delivery outside off, which Klusener mistimed to mid-off and set off for a run. Allan Donald, though tried to get back to his crease at the non-striker's end, and didn’t hear his partner's call.
Mark Waugh threw the ball to Fleming, who trickled it back to Adam Gilchrist, who whipped the bails off, running Donald out and sparking wild celebrations in the Australian camp.
The match ended in a tie, but because Australia had a superior net run rate in the group stage, they qualified for the final and eventually won the tournament, beating Pakistan.
Looking back, Klusener says he could have been more patient with the run, but insisted that he thought it was the right opportunity to end the game.
"I was upset with myself that I could have maybe been a little more patient," recalls Klusener. "But hindsight is a brilliant science. You can always sit and say ‘what if we only would have waited’ or whatever it was.
"But those last two balls could have been brilliant yorkers and we could have been sitting saying, 'Oh why didn't we take out opportunity early on'."
Klusener finished on an unbeaten 31 in just 16 deliveries. "I was a little cross with myself that I hadn't been a little more patient with myself in trying to just get that one more run but that's just the beauty of the game," he added.
"I am always one for taking the opportunity when it's there. I thought that was the right opportunity but it didn't turn out to be."