Former Zimbabwe, Western Province and Dolphins allrounder Neil Johnson
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- The Proteas haven’t been immune to ODI shocks, despite their excellence in the format for the large part of their existence since 1991.
- Their 43-run loss to Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday was the first time they’d lost to the Irish.
- Teams like Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have also had their day in the sun against South Africa.
South Africa’s 43-run loss to Ireland in Dublin on Tuesday was one of the few shocks they have suffered in ODI cricket.
The Proteas have generally been immune to them, but from time to time, they have been ambushed.
In chasing Ireland’s 290/5 after a below-par fielding effort, SA’s batting misfired and leaves them in danger of losing a series to Ireland for the first time.
Here are four other games where the Proteas were unexpectedly caught short:
South Africa v Sri Lanka, 14 March 1992, Basin Reserve, Wellington – Sri Lanka won by three wickets
While South Africa were newer to ODI cricket than Sri Lanka were, SA had a better domestic structure than the islanders and that allowed them to adapt quicker to international cricket. That said, pre-Muttiah Muralitharan Sri Lanka were still minnows, but with Arjuna Ranatunga finally coming together as an international cricketer, small embers of their ability were flickering. They restricted SA to 195 all out, a laboured effort summed up by Kepler Wessels’s 94-ball 40 that contained no boundaries. Roshan Mahanama’s 68 from 121 anchored the chase, but Ranatunga freewheeled the Sri Lankans home with an unbeaten 73-ball 64. The next highest score in that chase was Hashan Tillekaratne’s 17, but seven players from this team would feature in the 1996 World Cup success.
South Africa v Netherlands, 4 September 1994, The Hague, Netherlands – Netherlands won by nine wickets
While this game is registered as a List A game instead of an ODI, this was a shock defeat by all accounts. It came at a time where the Proteas had thoroughly lost their way in ODI Cricket. Between 6 April and 8 October 1994, they lost 10 consecutive ODIs to Australia, England and Pakistan respectively. This Netherlands defeat was sandwiched at the end of the 1994 England tour after the 2-0 Texaco Series loss to England. Batting first, a South African team containing nine Test players at the time was limited to 134/8 after 40 overs. Bajan Nolan Clarke (78) and Queenslander Peter Cantrell (43*) shared an opening stand of 122 that ensured SA wouldn’t be able to mount any sort of fightback.
South Africa v Zimbabwe, 29 May 1999, Chelmsford, England – Zimbabwe won by 48 runs
Zimbabwe had their Indian summer at the 1999 World Cup and one of their big scalps was South Africa. They’d already served notice of their giant killing abilities when they beat India earlier in the pool stages. This defeat had bigger implications for the Proteas as the points lost here came back to bite them when they lost to Australia in the Super Sixes. That said, Neil Johnson, a former Dolphins and Western Province all-rounder, powered Zimbabwe to 236 on the back of his 117-ball 76. He then combined with the now-disgraced Heath Streak and Andy Whittall to reduce SA to 40/6 in the 12th over. Half-centuries from Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock gave the result a veneer of respectability, but it was Johnson’s and Zimbabwe’s day.
South Africa v Bangladesh, 7 April 2007, Providence, Guyana – Bangladesh won by 67 runs
In what was a World Cup of shocks, this result wasn’t surprising. By the time the tournament had reached the Super Eights, Bangladesh had beaten India, Ireland (yes, them) tied with Zimbabwe and beat Pakistan. India and Pakistan were missing from second stage, so another team had to be prime for a beating. On a sticky Providence Stadium surface, Mohammad Ashraful showed glimpses of his fitful talent with 87 off 83 balls which helped the Tigers to a competitive 251/8. While Andre Nel took 5/45, his canny use of slower balls was picked up by Bangladesh and they forced SA to squelch shots off paceless balls. Bangladesh’s army of left-arm bowlers then proceeded to restrict SA to 184 all out, with Herschelle Gibbs (56*) top-scoring from from number seven while Jacques Kallis’ 32 was the only other score of 20 and above. Two youngsters from the 2007 side in Shakib-al-Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim popped up 12 years later at The Oval in London to beat SA for the second time in the World Cup.