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23rd April that year - “When Curtly Ambrose and Company Shattered South Africa's Resurgence”

23rd April that year - “When Curtly Ambrose and Company Shattered South Africa's Resurgence”
Image Credit- EspnCricinfo

Somewhat similar to an upstream sail, the readmission TestMatch of South Africa that took place in April 1992, was no less than an adventurous ride in the history of cricket. The match which took place in thesurrounds of Kensington Oval, Bardbados turned out to be a completely unexpected victory for West Indies.

Sir Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose, fondly called just Curtly Ambrose and regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of cricket, hadalways made it a hard nut to crack for the batsmen. This former cricket from Antigua was born on 21st September 1963. He took 405 Test Wickets in total 98 matches he played for West Indies. His average was 20.99. He was rated the best bowler in the world and topped in the ICC Player Rankings during most of the time of his career. His tall persona (his heightwas 6 feet 8 inches i.e. 2.03 m) made the balls bounce unusually high. He was really a difficult bowler to face.

The tour had already been a tough one for Proteas and they had already lost the ODI Series of 3 matches. They started to treat theupcoming only Test Match of the tour as “Win at any Cost” match and had gearedup for the same.  The Test Match scheduled between 18-23 April 1992 was South Africa’s first since their return to international cricket after 22 years, andthat was the reason almost 10 players were making their Test Match debut out of whom Keplers Wessels had previously played for Australia. From West Indies’ side, three players Jimmy Adams, David Williams and Kenny Benjamin were making their debut. The selection of Benjamin had raised many nerves.   The Barbadian fans had expected that Anderson Cummins, the local would mark the debut in front of his home crowd. But theselectors settled on Benjamin. As retaliation, many fans had boycotted the match.

 The match was a most sought win for South Africa. With a requirement of only 79 runs to win, with 8 wickets in hand on the final day of the match (23rd April 1992), it seemed like a piece of cake for South Africa. But the  Proteas had no idea that they had come all the way to lose it again. West Indies marked its smashing victory with Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh leading the pack with the last eight wickets fell for only 26 runs. Ambrose literally massacred through them with 6 wickets while giving 34 balls.

 Ambrose bagged the “Man of theMatch” for his amazing performance.


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