’Believe in yourself’

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13th September, 2023

Faith, hope & belief in yourself is a theme that resonates in what is described as the greatest cricket match ever played: the one-day international match between South Africa & Australia in Johannesburg in Mar 2006.

At the time, the record for the highest score in a 50-over game was held by Sri Lanka. In 1996, they had scored 396 for 5 versus the minnows—Kenya.

Interestingly enough, three teams had scored more than 390 but no team had managed to go beyond 400!

It was believed that 400 was that invisible barrier that no team could break!

On 12 March 2006, in the 5th one-day international between South Africa & Australia, history was made.

Batting first, Australia did what had been seen as unthinkable—and what no team had ever done until then. They went past the 400-run barrier & posted a total of 434 for 9.

The ‘unbreakable’ barrier was finally broken.

When the South Africans returned for the break after being mauled by the Aussies, there was defeat written all over their faces. Their body language suggested they knew that only one result was possible.

The spectators and experts similarly believed that Australia had the game in their pocket. Everyone believed that, Bar one.

The South African captain, Graeme Smith.

When he led his team back into the dressing room, there was a stunned silence inside. And then, Smith said to his team: ‘I think they are ten runs short!’ That was it. That statement of the leader meant he still had hope and belief in the team that they could do it.

The South Africans suddenly believed that if Australia could do it, they could too.

And guess what happened next? In reply, South Africa made 438 for 9— and won that game.

Clearly, once Australia had broken the mental barrier that no team could score over 400, it was easy for South Africa to do it too.

A record was broken—twice on the same day. And that’s not all.

Sri Lanka broke the barrier three months later. South Africa did it again. Suddenly, almost magically, the barrier was gone.

In fact, since that record-breaking day in Johannesburg, there have been 22 occasions where a team has recorded a 400+ total. The highest score is ODI has now been achieved by England, who scored 498/4 against Netherlands in June 22.

It all boils down to belief. Once you believe something is possible, the rest becomes easy.

Belief is the vital first step towards achievement.

When you find your team down in the dumps, when morales around you are low, remind yourself and your team about the incredible story of Graeme Smith’s ‘ten runs short’ quip.

Always keep hope alive,  believe in yourself, keep winning & stay blessed forever.