Down the road, March 20th, 03.

24 Mar 2011 by Vinay Anand in News

This day would be remembered for two famous cricket matches in two different continents. One was in the West Indies and the other in South Africa.

The year was 2000. West Indies was playing Zimbabwe in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This was the first Test match for Jimmy Adams as West Indies captain. However, the hosts were on the verge of being humiliated as Zimbabwe needed only 99 runs to win in the second innings. But Franklyn Rose, the Windies pacer had other ideas. From 47/3, Zimbabwe collapsed sensationally to 63 all out and it was a record that for the first time a team failed to reach a double-figure target in Tests.

Three years later, India clashed with minnows Kenya in the World Cup semifinals in Durban. Kenya were having a magical run in the tournament but they had to defeat a resurgent India, if they had to play Australia in the final. This though did not happen. Sourav Ganguly had a field day. The Indian captain won the toss and elected to bat first in damp conditions. And then, he took charge and smashed an unbeaten 114-ball 111, which included 5 fours and 5 sixes. It was his second hundred in the World Cup 2003 and incidentally both of them were against Kenya. He was well backed by Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 83 and India posted a total of 270/4 after 50 overs. Kenya were never in the game as a dismal batting performance followed. Barring skipper Steve Tikolo’s fifty, none of the Kenyan batsmen showed application at the crease and as a result Kenya were bundled out for 179, giving India a comfortable 91 run victory and a shot at the World Cup for the first time since 1983.

On this day, the flamboyant South African all-rounder Nicky Boje was born as well. He was a left-arm orthodox bowler who could bat as well. His moment in the sun was when his all-round performance helped South Africa beat India in the Bangalore Test in 2000, giving his team their first Test series win in India. But soon, pandemonium was to follow as Boje was accused of match-fixing in the ODI series against India alongside captain Hansie Cronje and batsman Herschelle Gibbs. After 2003, he clinged on to a place in the national side but without much success. He retired from international cricket in 2007, before joining the unofficial Indian Cricket League. But he still remains an integral part of the Warriors team in the South African domestic competition as he was last spotted playing for them in the Champions League 2010.

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