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9th Super Six Match: Australia v South Africa
Sa'adi Thawfeeq - 13 June 1999

Gibbs ton sees South Africa to 271 for 7

LEEDS, Sunday - In what captain Steve Waugh calls a cut-throat contest, Australia were left to score a 272 runs to beat South Africa and book themselves the last semi-final place in the World Cup in their Super Sixes match played at Headingley here today.

Opening bat Herschelle Gibbs' second one-day century anchored South Africa to a total of 271 for 7 off 50 overs after skipper Hansie Cronje had won the toss and decided to bat first.

Pressure, said Waugh seems to bring out the best in this Australian side and whoever wins here would gain a huge psychological advantage. That was only if Australia won, because it probably would have set up another confrontation with South Africa again in the semi-finals.

From South Africa's view point it was better if they could get Australia out of the way as early as this because they could be very dangerous opponents if given the slightest leeway.

For South Africa, who will host the next World Cup in four years, the tournament has gone according to plan. With the exception of a slight hiccup against Zimbabwe in their last group match at Chelmsford, South Africa are well on course to win this World Cup with due respect to the unreliable, but brilliant Pakistanis.

South Africa have been twice denied the World Cup. In 1992 they entered the semi-finals, but an absurd rain-rule meant that they had to score 22 runs off one ball at Sydney. Four years later, South Africa reached the quarter-finals beating all and sundry before meeting their waterloo at Karachi where they lost to West Indies by 19 runs.

Gibbs who missed out on a century by nine runs in South Africa's game against New Zealand on Thursday, ensured he reached it on this occasion, stroking his way to 10 fours and a six off 131 balls.

With Darryl Cullinan who scored a cultured 50 off 62 balls (1 six, 4 fours) he added 95 for the second wicket off 20 overs.

When Gibbs was fourth out at 219, bowled by Glenn McGrath while attempting to cut a straight ball, Jonty Rhodes and Lance Klusener took over the scoring to raise the total to one of immense proportion.

Rhodes made 39 off 36 balls hitting two sixes and two fours, and Klusener, slammed 36 off 21 balls with four fours and a six so much so that, the total skyrocketed by 88 runs in the last ten overs.

Leg-spinner Shane Warne who had his reputation at stake, saved face with an inspired spell of bowling which brought him two wickets in two balls. He dismissed both Cullinan and Cronje on the sweep to finish with figures of 2 for 33 off 10 overs.

Damien Fleming picked up two late wickets as South Africa went in search for quick runs to end with 3 for 57, while McGrath, the spearhead of the Australian bowling had to be content with the soloiraty wicket of Gibbs. His figures were somewhat spoilt by Klusener who took him to task with his bludgeoning 3lb plus bat.

Source: The Daily News