Marcus Stoinis (right) and teammate Matthew Wade shared an unbroken 40 as Australia beat South Africa by five wickets with two balls to spare. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Cast your minds back to November 8, 1987. It was the Reliance 50-over World Cup final between Australia and England at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata, in India. England were cruising to victory over Australia at 135 for two, chasing a target of 254.

Australian captain Allan Border brought himself on to bowl his innocuous left-arm spin, more in desperation to break the partnership between Mike Gatting and Bill Athey. A moment of madness ensued. Gatting played a reverse sweep only to scoop the ball to wicketkeeper Greg Dyer, which gave the opening for Australia who went on to sneak home by seven runs.

Sensational catch

Fast forward to 2021. It is not the final, but the Super 12s opener of the Twenty20 World Cup. Australia were coasting to a below-par target of 119 set by South Africa, with Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell adding 42 runs. Aiden Markram pulled off a sensational catch off Smith to give South Africa a breakthrough.

Three balls later, visions of history repeating — this time for Australia — loomed large when Maxwell played a reverse sweep only to be bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi. An unwarranted shot when Australia had lost a wicket, and scoring wasn’t easy. Did Maxwell do a Gatting? Well, the enormity of the occasion isn’t the same. But that stroke could have cost Australia the match.

That did not happen. Matthew Wade, who survived some anxious moments, and Marcus Stoinis ensured that Australia won with two balls to spare. A reverse sweep could bring a reversal of fortunes. Ask Gatting.