Forget India, South Africa should conquer their minds first

After battling through the group stages, South Africa will meet India in the semi-final of the World T20. India are on a rampage in the tournament having won all their four group stage matches comfortably.

But India are not the biggest threat for the Proteas, their biggest fear is themselves. South Africa have managed to win just a single ICC tournament - The ICC Champions Trophy - way back in 1998. Their biggest problem is the inability to handle pressure on the big stage.

South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers plays a shot in nets at a training session during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. AFP

South Africa cricketer AB de Villiers plays a shot in nets at a training session during the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in The Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka. AFP

They have been found wanting during crucial junctures and that has brought about their downfall on numerous occasions. The 'c' word has come back to haunt them on regular basis. Here's a list of the South African chokes.

1996 World Cup Quarter-final, vs West Indies: South Africa were rampant in the group stages, they registered comprehensive victories in almost every match and were unbeaten going into the quarter-final.

They were up against West Indies, who did not have the best of times in the tournament having suffered a humiliating loss against Kenya in the group stage, in the quarter-final in Karachi. Riding on Brian Lara's century, West Indies posted a competitive 264. South Africa were in a good position at 140/2 with Andrew Hudson and Daryll Cullinan hitting half-centuries.

But then began the collapse as Roger Harper wreaked havoc as he ripped through the middle and lower-middle order. South Africa were bundled out for 245 and lost the match by 19 runs.

Allan Donald of South Africa is run out and Australia go through to the World Cup final after a dramatic semi-final at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England. The match finished a tie and Australia went through after finishing higher in the SuperSix table. Getty Images

Allan Donald of South Africa is run out and Australia go through to the World Cup final after a dramatic semi-final at Edgbaston in Birmingham, England. The match finished a tie and Australia went through after finishing higher in the SuperSix table. Getty Images

1999 World Cup semi-final, vs Australia: One of the most heart-breaking moments for South African fans. After a decent run in the group stages, Shaun Pollock's five-for had restricted Australia to just 213 in the semi-final at Edgbaston.

Chasing the target, South Africa started off poorly, Jonty Rhodes (43) and Jacques Kallis (53) kept them in hunt with a 84-run stand. Both departed in quick succession. The required run rate was creeping up and this is when Lance Klusener upped the ante.

With nine runs required off the last over and one wicket in hand, Klusener blasted two boundaries off the first two balls of Damien Fleming. The Proteas needed just one run from the next four balls, they nearly pulled off a choke off the very next ball as Alan Donald survived a run out.

Not deterred by the failed attempt, they pulled it off perfectly off the next ball as disastrous running meant that both Donald was run out. The match was tied and Australia advanced to the final. Klusener trudged off the field in disbelief. Having restricted Australians to 213, this was a glorious chance which the Proteas wasted.

2000 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final, vs India: Having outclassed England in comprehensive fashion, South Africa locked horns with India in the semi-final in Nairobi. In a crucial game, South Africa couldn't stop Sourav Ganguly's juggernaut as the Indian skipper hit a brilliant 141 and helped India post a formidable total of 295. The South African batsmen crumbled in the pressure game and couldn't provide any fight as they were bundled out for 200.

2002 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final, vs India: Another choke in the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final and this time they the stole defeat from the hands of victory in Colombo. 68 runs required from 12 overs with nine wickets in hand, it would have been a stroll in the park for any other team but South Africa decided to pull off one of the biggest chokes of all time. Chasing a target of 262, The Proteas were cruising at 194/1 from 38 overs and looked on course for a comprehensive victory but history repeated itself and staggeringly, they lost the match by 10 runs.

2007 ICC World Cup semi-final, vs Australia: It was another World Cup semi-final exit to Australia. The Proteas had battled their way to the semi-final and faced a strong Australian side in St. Lucia. It turned out to be a damp squib and left the fans in the Beausejour Cricket Ground disappointed as South Africa completely crumbled on the big stage. Glenn McGrath and Shaun Tait ripped through their top and middle order and the Proteas were bundled out for just 149. Australia devoured the target with 111 balls to spare as South Africa failed to put up any sort of fight.

2011 ICC World Cup Quarter-final, vs New Zealand: This was another instance where South Africa showed their ineptitude in the knock-out stage. They had managed to cruise through the group stage but faltered against New Zealand in the quarter-final in Dhaka. The Proteas had done well to restrict the Kiwis to 221 thanks to fiery spells from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. Chasing the target, they were in decent position at 108/2 in the 25th over but the departure of Kallis(47) sparked a collapse and as it has been the case all these years, South Africa succumbed and were bowled out for 172 in 44 overs.

2013 ICC Champions Trophy Semi Final, vs England: The latest case of a South African choke on a big stage was registered in the 2013 ICC Champions trophy where they were comprehensively beaten by England at Kennington Oval, London. After a major top order collapse, David Miller had helped the Proteas post 175 on the board. It was always going to be a daunting task defending a mediocre total without the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in their ranks. South Africa's knock-out failure juggernaut continued and England thrashed them by seven wickets with 75 balls to spare.

Looking at history, South Africa's biggest enemy is itself and if they want to win the World T20, they need to win that psychological battle with themselves before they can turn their attention towards India.


Updated Date: Apr 04, 2014 15:57 PM

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