Fair enough about the 14-10 record, but as I said, in crunch games Australia always came out on top. As you say, in the 97/98 tri-series SA won most of the preliminary matches but were beaten in the finals, and lost from winning positions twice in a row in the 99 WC (yes, the second one was a tie). They maintained an impressive record in the less important matches against Australia, but never won the significant ones.Originally Posted by tooextracool
And again, you're seriously underrating Waugh's impact in those encounters. Whether you think Cronje is a superior tactical captain or not, Waugh had a significant impact in both the 99 WC matches while Cronje did not (a duck in both games, in fact). In fact, Waugh also had a big impact in the deciding C&U series final. Leadership is about more than field placings, and Waugh came through in a big way in those pressure games, despite being a fairly mediocre ODI batsman in many other cases.
That's more or less right, I was just pointing out that Ponting also had a good average at the time. I think Gilchrist was more than "acceptable" as an ODI batsman, and his opening partnership with Mark Waugh was crucial to Australia's success in ODIs in the late 90s, but generally speaking the side relied on consistency from a few batsmen and occasional contributions from a few others, and SA had a much more consistent batting lineup.Originally Posted by tooextracool