WE THOUGHT SA HAD IT
Warnie would always come out with left-field stuff in team meetings. The way he dissected situations, he was really good. He wouldn’t come out with the usual ideas players have and you saw that in the way he played.
Before that game I remember Warnie saying things like, ‘Hold your ground, get in their face, even if they take a catch, they like to muck around’ and there was definitely a Hershelle Gibbs tone in there. Then, of course, Gibbs threw away the chance to dismiss Steve.
Warnie was on top of his game at that tournament. I think being dropped in the Test in the West Indies might have scarred him a bit. I think also not being the made Australian captain always weighed on his mind. He always felt that he wanted to do that.
Steve Waugh knew that when a job needed to be done, you threw Warne the ball. Him or Glenn McGrath, it was one or the other. In tight situations you go to your superstars and you go, ‘Mate, this is up to you’. It worked many times and did again in the semi-final.
Finch has spoken about form issues and the weight of Australia’s World Cup history. I honestly believe he doesn’t need to lead from the front, he just needs to pull this team together and make the right decisions on the field.
We were gone in that game. Done and dusted. We didn’t score enough runs and we basically went into the change room at half time thinking we’ve got nothing to lose here – 213 with the batsmen that they’ve got Kirsten, Gibbs, Cullinan, Cronje, Kallis, Rhodes, Pollock and Klusener … and Edgbaston’s a really small ground.
We stayed super chirpy. We had that feeling that South Africa would bottle it, somewhere, sometime.
They got to 48 before the first wicket, but we kept at them. And when you get to 3-53 and 4-61 you think, hang on, we’re starting to turn the screws here.
They had a good partnership with Kallis and Rhodes and then they fell. We dropped a couple as well and the game was all about pressure on both sides. The one guy who came to the fore was Warnie.
Even when we got down to that last over, they should have won it – they had two balls left. But it was all about the pressure.
The night before, we had a team meeting about how we were going to bowl to Klusener because he was their match winner, the guy in form.
Damien Fleming said something like, ‘Right, we’re going to go over the wicket and you’ve got to bowl full at the stumps’.
Sure enough, it’s Flem bowling the 50th over to Klusener and he sends down the first two, according to the plan. They’re both smashed for fours. And he walks back to Waugh and goes, ‘Well fuck, what’s going on? I mean what’s going on?’
Tugga replied, ‘Mate, I don’t care, just do what you want’. So Flem thinks, ‘Right, I’m going around the wicket and bowling full outside off stump.’
The team plan is going out the door and by that stage we thought we’d lost. Then all of a sudden it was like, ‘Hang on here, jeez they’re making a meal of this’. Darren Lehmann had a great chance to run out Allan Donald and again we thought that was it, we were out.
They didn’t need to panic, but they did, like we thought they would.
And I think if we had lost that game we would have thought, ‘Yes, we had the talent, but we just weren’t playing well enough’.
But we always knew if we beat South Africa in that semi we’d beat Pakistan in the final. That was a no-brainer.
Looking back I think, by the end, we were together enough.
There was a lot of other stuff going on behind the scenes with the senior players, just like now. But we found a way.
Every game of the Cricket World Cup will be LIVE on Fox Sports from May 30.