Mumbai: Although carrying the unwanted tag of chokers in big ICC events for long, South Africa are confident that if they play to potential they can clinch the World T20 championship and erase that label from the public memory.
"We have played some very good cricket in the sub- continent. Although we are a little bit disappointed with the (1-2 T20 series) loss (to Australia), we are very confident moving into this World Cup in these conditions. We know if we play our best cricket we will be close to taking the trophy," said the Proteas captain Faf du Plessis on Friday.
Du Plessis felt the WT20 event is a very open one though he anointed hosts India as the favourites to lift the crown. "This is one of the most open ICC events. I think India are favourites for the way they are playing. It's going to be a real open pool. No longer are there any easy games. In T20 cricket anyone can beat anyone. It's going to be a real cracker."
He said playing in Indian conditions was not something unique any more with so many of the South African cricket team members having played in the Indian Premier League. "We play a lot of cricket in these conditions and the majority of our team members play in the IPL. These are no longer alien conditions," maintained the 31-year-old top order batsman who is to play in his third World T20.
Asked whether the chokers' tag attached to the Proteas since their re-admission to the international fold in 1992, du Plessis said it can be banished only when the team wins a major ICC trophy. "The only way we can get that monkey off the back is if we do win an (ICC) trophy. The only way you get rid of that is to perform well under pressure.
"That's something we don't think or talk about. The important thing is in the build-up to this World Cup, in real pressure moments, this team has stood up and played well.
"But from the spectators' point of view and from media point of view there's once again a lot said about that. (But) We have shown over a period of time that we play better in pressure moments and have done it well especially as a T20 team."