Cricket Classics

India v South Africa, 1st ODI, 2000, Kochi

Wednesday, January 30, 2022
Sportz Interactive
When: March 9, 2022
Where: Nehru Stadium, Kochi,
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Edge of the seat excitement is what makes ODI cricket the most breathtaking and prized format. The 75,000 strong crowds that had gathered at the Kochi stadium for the first match of the one-day series against South Africa got what had been longing for – a spectacular victory for the hosts. 


  • Indian losing streak: The hosts were coming off a disastrous Australian tour and had suffered an embarrassing loss to South Africa at home.
  • Momentum with Proteas: South Africa had won the Test series 2-0 prior to the start of the five-match ODI series.
  • New skipper: Sourav Ganguly was made new ODI captain following Tendulkar’s grievous
    record at the helm.
  • "I think its one win. We somehow have to manage one win," were the words of Sourav Ganguly who was thrust into the cauldron of leading India in the crucial tie at Kochi.

    Overpowering the stiff South African total of 301 was going to take a giant effort from the Indians as no team had ever managed to put up that many runs on against the Proteas.

    The Indian team had weathered three dry months and the fresh air of optimism was the need of the hour. Handing over the reins to the ‘Prince of Kolkata’ was certainly a step forward in that direction.

    Many believed that the match was very important for Team India’s morale after the hammering defeats in Australia. The Sachin Tendulkar-led team was clean swept 0-3 in the Test series and it was followed by an embarrassing loss at home to South Africa. It was the first time that India had lost a Test series in their own backyard for over a decade.

    Gibbs-Kirsten off to a flier

    The South African openers were adamant in subverting the rhythm of the new ball bowlers and launched an attack that was enough to dent the morale. The first ten overs had set the order for the day as Kirsten and Gibbs toyed with the bowling. Thiru Kumaran, who was just two games old, was targeted and seemed to be succumbing under pressure. It was clearly evident that India were missing their pace spearhead Javagal Srinath. Anil Kumble and Sunil Joshi were introduced much earlier with a hope of finding a breakthrough.

    The spin duo tossed the ball up but each hit by the Proteas’ openers either reached the fence or cleared it. The change in pace did not rattle the openers as South Africa put on 105-0 from the first fifteen overs. The spin duo later managed to pull back the run-rate as the field scattered. Sachin Tendulkar was introduced later and he mixed up the deliveries well but the partnership still remained dangerously undefeated. 

    © AFP
    Gary Kirsten scored 115

    Century galore

    Sammer Dighe, wicketkeeper failed to read his Bombay-mate Tendulkar and messed up the second stumping of Gibbs. However, with tight line the Indians conceded just 37 runs from the next 10 overs. After 35 overs, South Africa were comfortably placed at 206-0. Gibbs reached his third entertaining ODI ton and Kirsten brought up his ninth, painting a harsh picture of the Indian bowling.

    The Kochi fans finally found a reason to smile as opener Gibbs was dismissed in the 40th over for 111 after stitching a marvelous record partnership of 235 for the first-wicket. Kirsten too followed quickly for 115. The run-feast included 23 boundaries and 2 sixes. Surprisingly, Rahul Dravid, arguably the batsman with best technique, emerged as the leading wicket-taker for the Indians, claiming career-best figures of 2/41.

    Riding on a magnificent launch pad South Africa put 301 on board for the loss of three wickets from 50 overs. 


  • Man-of-the-match Ajay Jadeja was returning to the team after a shoulder injury kept him out for a gap of almost six months
  •  An umpiring slip-up from M.R Singh resulted in a 15-minute hold up during the last over of the match
  • Rahul Dravid claimed his best-ever ODI bowling figures of 2/43
  • Sourav sends strong signals

    In cricket even a small thing can make a big difference to a side’s confidence and Sourav Ganguly, India’s newest skipper signaled the upbeat attitude, when he took guard and got ready to face the first ball. It is worth noting that the southpaw was the non-striker in all the games that India played in the tri series Down Under prior to this series. 

    This move surely helped to calm the tensed nerves in the dressing room as Ganguly indicated that he had a positive approach and determination to overcome the intimidating challenge thrown by the Proteas. 

    Chasing a total of 302, the Indian openers launched the run-chase in a blazing manner with Ganguly leading from the front. The stylish opener sent three successive deliveries of Pollock to the fence and followed up with two straight fours of the next over off Kallis. 

    © AFP
    Gibbs plunders Sunil Joshi
    Early wickets shake India

    Shaun Pollock wisely changed his pace to dismiss Ganguly caught behind for 31 of 28 balls. The skipper had set the platform with six boundaries. Rahul Dravid joined Sachin and the duo ran well between the wickets. South African skipper Hansie Cronje introduced himself in the attack and was rewarded as India lost lost Dravid for 17. The home team lost opener and their most trusted batsman Sachin Tendulkar (26 runs from 25 balls) in the 25th over. 

    Sunil Joshi was promoted up the order to boost the run-rate and he hit two boundaries justifying the decision. However, the pinch-hitter’s hit came to an abrupt end as he was run out for 13. 

    Reliable Indian pair back together

    The responsibility of guiding India closer to the South African total was now on former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and one-day specialist Ajay Jadeja. They were widely renowned as masters in taking singles and the situation demanded them to play in the exact manner. Jadeja played a waiting game and allowed Azharuddin, who last played in the ODI a year before in the World Cup to flourish.


  • For the first time India scored 300 runs in an ODI to win a game on Indian soil. An umpiring slip-up from
  • It was also the first occasion that any team had scored 300 plus runs against the mighty South Africans.
  • Sourav Ganguly emerged victorious in his maiden stint as captain
  • Kirsten and Gibbs shared a record opening partnership of 235 runs for South Africa
  • Agile legs lift fragile hopes 

    By dismissing Azharuddin, Kallis picked up his first wicket and opened the doors to victory for the South Africans. The last recognised batting pair of Jadeja-Robin Singh needed to get another 122 runs. The Haryana batsman started getting into his groove, playing in his first game after the shoulder injury that kept him out for over 12 months. 

    Jadeja belted two sixes off Crookes as the partnership started to build. With two fittest Indian players in the middle, the South African fielders were kept on their toes. The left-right combination pushed for singles. 

    With Jadeja’s lusty blows the difference between required runs and ball was equaled. Under intense humidity the right-hander shared a vital 92-run partnership for the sixth wicket before being dismissed to Cronje for 92. Ajay Jadeja’s contribution was very important as it helped India move closer to the target.

    With Sammer Dighe, the Indian keeper adding just four to the total, the task of taking India to a phenomenal victory rested on the shoulders of Robin Singh and Anil Kumble.

    Final over- Men in white take centre stage

    High drama unfolded in the 50th over with India needing 8 runs from the final over off Pollock’s bowling. The first ball was pushed


                         © AFP
    Ajay Jadeja and Robin Singh were assigned the role of finishers and they executed it brilliantly.

    Ajay shared two crucial partnerships of 79 runs with Mohammad Azharuddin and later a 92-run stand with Robin Singh.

    Robin Singh kept his cool in the final moments of the game to steer India to a memorable victory.

     for one, which meant the home team needed 7 runs from 5 balls. The next ball was called a no-ball off which a single was taken. The decision turned out to be controversial as the TV replays showed that some part of the Pollock’s foot was behind the line. Further angles revealed that the fast bowler had dragged his feet while delivering. 

    A single later followed by a dot ball meant India needed three runs of three balls. The tension and excitement was palpable and when Kumble edged the third delivery to third-man of which Kallis made a gallant effort at the ropes umpire signaled four runs and the Nehru Stadium roared in unison.

    Third umpire came into play and directed that Kallis’ had actually stopped the ball within the line and it meant that scores were tied. The Indian batsmen returned back and the action resumed and ended immediately as the ‘winning run’ was scored of the fourth ball. The confusion led to 75000 strong crowd cheer the winning stroke twice with same vigor.

    The first Indian victory after a disastrous run was much more special as after a long time the home team broke the shackles of ‘individual brilliance’ and stitched together a collective team effort.

    Brief Summary

    South Africa 301/3 (G Kirsten 115, H Gibbs 111, Dravid 2/43), India 302/7 in 49.4 overs (Jadeja 92, R Singh 42, Azharuddin 42, Pollock 2/59)

    Relive the magic

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