Top 10 Memorable Moments in South African Cricket

South African cricket is filled with a rich history of cricketing passion, battles and achievements. In their illustrious history, South Africa has accomplished number 1 rankings in all three formats of the game. The ICC imposed a ban on the South African team in the 1960s due to global outrage against apartheid. However, Proteas cricketers never let the love for the game diminish in their country and made a massive comeback in 1991 when ICC lifted the ban on Cricket South Africa. To celebrate the undaunting spirit of South African players, Cricreads have created a list of some great moments in Proteas cricket history.

Here are the 10 great moments in South African Cricket:

1- Highest ODI Chase

South Africa scripted history in ODI cricket when they chased the highest total ever in 2006 versus Australia at Johannesburg. The Kangaroos posted the highest score in the first innings of the match in ODIs at that point in time, and every cricket enthusiast and critic gave Proteas no chance of winning the game. However, South Africans, led by Graeme Smith, showed a memorable fighting spirit that helped win the game by one wicket. In perhaps the greatest ODI of all time, Graeme Smith blasted 90 off 55 while Herschelle Gibbs played an explosive inning of 175 off 111 deliveries.

2- Historical First Test after Ban

South Africa played its first-ever Test on South African soil after the ban in 1992 against India. The Test was historic as it marked the debut of the first-ever black person to play for Proteas in Test cricket. Omar Henry, the debutant for South Africa at the age of 40 years, became the oldest player to debut for Proteas in Tests. However, he was heavily boycotted by the fans and Wisden registers that only 30,000 people attended the historic Test that marked the beginning of a new South African cricket side free from any racial discrimination.

3- Herschelle Gibbs Six Sixes

Before Yuvraj Singh and Kieron Pollard, Herschelle Gibbs did the unthinkable in the 2007 World Cup against the Netherlands. He blasted Daan Van Bunge for six consecutive sixes to become the first player in international cricket to hit six sixes in an over. No player has replicated Gibbs’ herculean effort in One-Day Internationals.

4- Fastest International Century

Ab de Villiers, the superhuman, aka Mr. 369 degree of cricket, scored the fastest ever century in international cricket in just 31 balls. He achieved this feat against West Indies in ODIs in 2015 at Johannesburg. He remained unbeaten on 149* off 44, including 16 massive sixes and 4 classy fours to give South African fans a memory to cherish forever in their history.

5- Graeme Smith’s Grim One-handed Effort

Graeme Smith, the bravest man in South African cricket, came out to bat on the last day of the Test to secure a draw against Australia in 2009 in Sydney with a broken hand and elbow. Smith did not intend to bat in the Test. However, Australia ran through the South African batters on the last day to force Smith to come out to bat or lose the Test. Graeme Smith displayed utmost audacity by coming out to bat against an Australian attack consisting of Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Doug Bollinger. Smith failed to save the Test, but his fearless endeavour created history.

6- 2nd Highest Chase in Tests:

In 2008 at Perth against Australia, South Africa successfully chased 414 runs to register a memorable win. Proteas breached the Australian fortress at WACA on the back of extraordinary performances from AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis. Smith and de Villiers both scored hundreds, while Amla and Kallis notched up half-centuries to add pages in the history books of cricket.

7- Dale Steyn’s 400th Test Wicket

The South African Speedster achieved the historic mark of 400 wickets in Test by dismissing Tamim Iqbal in the 2nd Test of 2015’s tour of South Africa to Bangladesh. He only needed 80 matches to reach the landmark with the best strike rate for any bowler with 400 wickets at 41.6. A phenomenal swing bowler, Steyn has contributed to many South African victories and provided countless memorable moments.

8- Faf’s Epic Test Saving Knock

Faf du Plessis earned player of the match in his debut match for exhibiting extraordinary resilience. Faf played like a veteran familiar with heavily pressurised dire situations in the game. Chasing Australia’s 430 runs, Faf realised that the Proteas had no chance of winning, and the best possible outcome for them would be to secure a draw. Du Plessis remained not out on 110* off 376 balls in a marathon Test inning that shattered Australia’s hopes.

9- Philander’s Fifer on Debut

In the third innings, Vernon Philander took 5 wickets for 15 runs of probably the craziest Test ever in history played at Capetown in 2011. Michael Clarke’s 151 in the first innings propelled Australia to 284 that seemed like a match-defining knock when South Africa managed only 96 in reply. However, in his debut match, Vernon Philander took a sensational fifer to reduce Australia to 21/9 at one point in the game that the Proteas ultimately triumphed.

10- Amla’s unbeaten 311*

Hashim Amla is the only South African cricketer to cross the elusive 300 run mark in the Test. In the first Test between South Africa and England in 2012 at The Oval, Amla scored the highest ever test score in South African cricket history. He batted for 529 balls in his marathon knock of unbeaten 311*, including 35 boundaries. Amla smashed James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann in their prime to create a record worth remembering.


Also read: Top 10 Memorable Moments in Australian Cricket by Cricreads


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