The Proteas have done it again… Choked that is. We are beginning to think that we will not get to see a South African cricket team walk away with any world ICC trophy in our lifetime, besides the Champions Trophy that they won in 1998 which only featured 8 teams that is.
Let’s start at the 1996 ICC World Cup which was jointly hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. South Africa was looking decent with the likes of Daryl Cullinan, the Kirsten brothers, Alan Donald, Jonty Rhodes and Hansie Cronje; some names that would make the best players and teams in the world worry, yet the Proteas were bowled out by the West Indies in the quarter-finals before they could reach the required 265 to win.
The next tournament could be the worst choke in the history of the Proteas – chokes by drawing to Australia in the semi-final. Yes they both scored 213 runs and what makes it worse is that Lance Klusener had four balls to get one run after having scored 31 off just 16 balls. Australia went through because of a superior net run-rate.
The 2003 World Cup was a total disaster with South Africa not even reaching the Super Six stage with home-ground advantage. We don’t need to say anymore about this World Cup.
Once again South Africa faced Australia in the 2007 World Cup, but this time Australia totally dominated the Proteas and they were bowled out for a mere 149 which was chased down in nothing more than 31.3 overs by Australia. Cough.
Now, when you think their status as big tournament chokers could not be worse than what it was then, the ICC introduced World T20. So with the South Africans being some of the highest paid IPL players you would think that they would have a strong team. In fact they had, or still have, some of the best players in world cricket; yet last year Pakistan knocked them out of the semi-finals and this year they knocked the boys in green and gold out of the tournament before they could even get to the semi-finals.
This asks the major question of whether or not South Africa has “Big Match Temperament” at all because, as we see it, they have not won any important matches in ICC tournaments since they were reintroduced almost 20 years ago. Maybe resigning four months before a big tournament was not the best idea, was it Mr. Arthur?