A rewind to Herschelle Gibbs’ fantastic, unforgettable 175 for South Africa on a truly remarkable day

A rewind to Herschelle Gibbs’ fantastic, unforgettable 175 for South Africa on a truly remarkable day
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It’s interesting to think that over the years, Cricket has risen to become such an important part of our lives that, at times, we reminisce key moments or critical junctures of our very existence against a particular cricketing moment or memory. 

Likewise, modern cricket has produced so many “where were you moments,” that are both fascinating and exciting in equal measure. 

To suggest an example, a question is often asked by one and all that where were you when Sachin Tendulkar hit his 100th international century, a moment so epochal in the game that one suspects, it may never have another parallel. 

There are those who still keenly ask as to where were you when Brian Lara hit 400 runs in a single inning of a Test match, a feat that since its inception has remained unmatched and erect. 

There are many who ask with amazement as to what were you doing when Muttiah Muralitharan took the 800th international wicket and blazed a trail that many aspire to emulate. 

But that said, whenever it’ll come to one day international cricket, one will never get tired of asking as to what were you doing or where were you when Australians were left utterly surprised by the Proteas in completing the highest successful run chase ever accomplished by any team?

And those who well and truly understand the answer cannot possibly overrule the single most valuable knock that formed the central highlight of what remains today the record for the most successful run chase in 50-over cricket: Herschelle Gibbs’ 175! 

Long before celebrated commentator Ian Bishop uttered the words, “Remember the name,” and became a legend, the cricket romantics delved within and experienced a similar remember that time moment for the thing they’d witnessed had never been experienced before. 

The sheer audacity of what the South Africans achieved. The sheer might of their opponents versus whom they’d achieve the mighty. And the sheer timelessness and unbelievability of their monumental achievement; all of it was staggering and hasn’t since been surpassed. 

It was March 12. The year was 2006. All roads in international men’s cricket on that day led to the Wanderers in Jo’burg, which is sometimes rightly described as the spiritual home of the game in South Africa. 

But there was much trouble for the hosts as the top four in the Australian line up came to the party and cracked personal milestones as the team total ballooned much beyond South Africa’s liking. 

Gilchrist and Kattich made 55 and 79, respectively. Mr. Cricket aka Mike Hussey was at his joyous best with a belter of an 81 off just 51 to his name. 

But the bloke that produced a sheer ruthless knock with the bat was the Punter Ricky Ponting; his 164 came off just 105 deliveries and featured 9 sixes, the most he has ever hit South Africa in a one day game. 

On a pitch that was actually a peach for the batsmen, the bowlers were rendered helpless for there wasn’t much that went their way. The Australians emerged as dealers in fours and sixes cracking 43 fours in the end and not to forget, 14 sixes. 

In all, 434 runs had been put on the board and those that placed plausibility before sheer optimising didn’t give the Proteas a chance even before the run chase commenced. 

But eventually, one man had different plans in his mind. He wasn’t going to hold himself back having backer himself for an all out war with the bat. 

Wielding the instrument of destruction, i.e., the cricket bat in the hand, he was out there and ready to play a part in a cricket match that by sheer weight of runs scored by the Australians had already attained some cult-like status. 

With the odds heavily stacked against their favour, Herschelle Gibbs- batsman extraordinaire and a destructor to boot- went about his job. 

Truth be told, the onlookers and those transfixed onto the live proceedings on the TV set could get the sense that the icy cool batter wouldn’t change his strategy a great deal and would play the game in his natural style: see the ball- hit the ball. 

One of the few dashers in white ball cricket who was about as destructive as he was elegantly light in timing the ball, Gibbs placed the white ball to perfection, something that was evident early on. 

And make no mistake- they all came hard at him: Lee, Bracken, Lewis and Symonds. 

But there was no stopping the fluent right hander one famously saw belittling bowling attacks from the top of the order. 

A point to be noted here was that prior to scoring this monumental 175, the highest individual score in the highest team chase, Gibbs had hit 15 more ODI hundreds; but this one was special. This one was unforgettable. 

Despite the Proteas losing Dippenaar for just 1, which meant a loss of an early key wicket, Herschelle Gibbs kept up the ante of attack with only one plan in mind: to get into

the skin of the Australian bowlers with an attempt to shake their confidence. 

And boy, did he succeed at that one! 

Over after over, he’d hit the odd boundary and then offer two to three in the space of a single over. 

He just seemed tireless and immensely focused at all points of the game, something that eventually made it a true contest between undoubtedly good quality Australian bowling and the quintessential Protean self belief. 

Playing an attacking brand of cricket at the very top, one could argue that it was Gibbs’ self belief and that never say die attitude that kept his mighty side in the game. 

While one was aware that what the Proteas were in pursuit of was something truly daunting. For after all team scores of 434 weren’t made every single day, there was also this realisation that for as long as the asking rate was kept in check and attempts were made to rally together, the Proteas could perhaps even attempt the unfathomable. 

In the end, and one truly remembers to this day Brett Lee bowling the final over with Boucher hitting the winning runs, the seemingly improbable became possible thanks to the effort of the Proteas’ unputdownable right hander. 

With 21 precious boundaries and 7 half a dozens that both entertained and regaled the crowd, Herschelle Gibbs transformed himself into that spark that lit up the Protea fire on a truly unforgettable day for world cricket. 

  • Australia 434/4 (50)
  • South Africa 438/9 (49.5)
  • South Africa won by 1 wicket (with 1 ball remaining)
  • Herschelle Gibbs & Ricky Ponting

South Africa won by 1 wicket (with 1 ball remaining)

It was an inning to savour and one by the end of which you couldn’t help but ask your fellow cricket lovers- where were you when Gibbs powered his South Africa to chase the daunting 434 set by the Australians. 

Remember the effort. Remember the game. Remember the Name

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Cricket is a game played by 22 but opined by millions.Caught At Point will try to inform you and humour you on the game’s newsmakers, trends and, emerging patterns. Expect those deserving praise to be celebrated and expect tons of ‘arsehattery’ gifted to those who’ve earned it.I’ll cricket sincerely,Dev Tyagi

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