South Africa chokers: Breaking the jinx vs. history repeating itself
Kolkata/IBNS: The South African cricketing team badly wants to shed the tag of being the "chokers" in the ICC World Cup 23, but unfortunately history seems to repeat itself today once again in Eden Gardens, Kolkata as Australian pacers scalp the Proteas top order.
Here is the list of its previous heartbreaks:
1. The ghosts of the 1992 Semi-Final
A resurgent Proteas came out of a long ban due to apartheid only to bow down to the dubious 'rain rules' brought by money-minded TV broadcasters who controlled everything that had happened that day on Sydney Cricket Ground. It was not only the Proteas; the game of cricket lost that day too.
2. The infamous runout of the 1999 Semi-Final
Legend Allan Donald, under big match pressure, failed to take a single run in the last ball and tied the semi-final match against Australia. The latter went on to the finals and lifted the cup as they were ahead of Proteas on the points table at the group stage.
3. A rain-affected 2003
The Proteas, led by the charismatic Mark Boucher failed to fully interpret the Duckworth Lewis rule and chose to play a dot ball instead of a single, resulting in their must-win game being a draw by the DLS method.
4. 2007 Semi-Final
Graeme Smith-led top-seeded South Africa batted first but quickly collapsed like a house of cards in a one-sided match against Ricky Ponting-led Australia, which was arguably the best in the world in that era.
5. Heartbreak of 2011
Quarter-final; batting second, an informed Proteas failed to chase down 221 against giant killers New Zealand, who have caused serious upsets at the highest level on the global stage since then.
6. 2015 Semi-Finals: Poetic repeat of 2011
A below-par fielding by the African side allowed the Kiwis, batting second, to easily chase down a challenging 298 runs in 43 overs.
Today, it seems like a repeat of fate for the Proteas. A high-voltage semi-final against the five-time champion Australia was a very poor start for the Africans, and of course, the rain gods played their part.
The Proteas are at 119/6 at 31.1 overs as of this writing.