Thursday, 25 June 2009

Do South Africa Choke or its a Joke?

Everytime the South African cricket team get on the ground to play in any international cricket major, be it the ICC cricket world cup, the ICC Champions Trophy or the T20 World Championship, South Africa come out with the tag titled "chokers" on them. Needless to be said, after their re-entry into international cricket in 1992 after their so called apartheid issue, South Africa are said to be on the receiving end of the bad luck. True that there is nothing wrong with that if things are given a glance since from the 1992 world cup. This has found haunting even today.

If a deep thinking is put into the performance of the South African team since the 1992 world cup when it was ruled by Kepler Wessels, no doubt that they had satisfactory wins against strong teams like Australia, Pakistan (who ended up as champions later), India and Sri Lanka and were indeed one of the contestants to lift the trophy. But, the fact is that they had lost to England by 3 wickets in a rain affected match at Melbourne. In addition to this, they had loss against New Zealand as well. And the bad luck was that they had to fight the same England team to which it had lost earlier in the tournament.

Then comes the 1996 world cup where South Africa had its famous five victories against Pakistan, England, Holland, New Zealand and UAE before it lost to West Indies in the quarter finals. But, did the South African team play the West Indies team prior to this in the tournament? "No" is the answer. With that being the case, how could one consider that it was injustice that South Africa could never proceed further? And not to forget that South Africa won the inaugural ICC CHampions Trophy held in Dhaka in 1998 after they beat the West Indies by 4 wickets.

Then comes the famous 1999 world cup which was yet another disappointment for the South African fans and players in particular. South Africa had wins against India, Sri Lanka, England and Kenya in the league stages, which was followed by wins against Pakistan and New Zealand in the super sixes. But, one should not forget the legal losses at the hands of Zimbabwe and Australia in the super sixes. Who is responsible for the drop catch of Steve Waugh by Herscelle Gibbs? And this time the bad luck was that South Africa, like in the 1992 world cup met the same team (Australia) to which it had lost earlier. Then in the ICC champions trophy 2000, South Africa was not the team to beat for, they were nowhere in the game against India where they lost by 94 runs. The match solely belonged to Sourav Ganguly and India.

Then, in the ICC Champions trophy 2002, if the loss to India in the semis was a close gesture, so was South Africa's last ball win in the group match against West Indies. In 2003 world cup, despite being the hosts, they had lost to West Indies and New Zealand before a tie against Sri lanka. It was a mistake that they just ducked the ball when a single was essential. The match was a memorable one for "Marvan Atapattu who scored a magnificient 124 off 118 balls" and not for South Africa. The day solely belonged to Sri Lanka. And in 2007 WC, one can recall the way they lost to Australia (in the group stage), New zealand and Bangladesh (in super eights). The cup was Australia's right and the Proteas were nowhere close to it.

The ones that need a clarification was the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 & 2004, T20 World Cups 2007 & 2009. In the CT 2006, bad luck struck Australia when they lost to Windies in the close encounter in the initial stages. It was OZ that were favourites and not the Proteas. And so was the case in 2004 when they lost to West Indies in the semis where both RSA and WI had come with an equal probablity of winning. In 2007 T20 WC, South Africa may have won against England, WI & NZ but, India was totally a different game. And if that was the cause for their exit, that means that their earlier victories weren't satisfactory. So was the case in T20 WC semis against Pakistan. Win against some other team does not guarentee a win against Pakistan.

After these analysis, one can say that in all the aforementioned cases, RSA had lost to either that team which it had not encountered earlier or it had lost to the same team to wich it had lost earlier. hurray! I have been successful in removing the "CHOKERS" tag from RSA.

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