Saturday, March 26, 2011

No choker, only inefficient tag

I don't think the chokers tag is well suited for South Africa since the 2003 world cup when they were hardly the team that anybody would have wanted to beat. I can still remember the then South African captain-Shaun Pollock being given an over short in their 1st game against West Indies which was solely South Africa's fault for maintaining a slow over rate bowling first. And then there was the match against New Zealand where though South Africa managed a satisfactory 307 provided by Herschelle Gibbs, Stephen Fleming's men also had equal zest in them to fight it out on the field.

New Zealand were given a revised target of 229 runs from 39 overs which was still over run a ball. All odds supported New Zealand despite South Africa having scored a 300+ total for, the Kiwis lost just one wicket en route to their successful run chase. The last was the game against Sri Lanka where a wrong signal from the stands ended the match in a draw and with it the South African dream not only in the world cup but also to reach the super sixes. Sri Lanka did their part of the game best by not relying on their wins against West Indies and New Zealand alone.

Atapattu did a fab job scoring 124* from 118 balls showing equal fight rather than just being a team that would cash out from the bad luck that the Proteas are believed to be cursed with. So was the case in 2007 when South Africans were far from being the favorites. With a miserable loss to Australia twice that included a complete surrender to Glenn McGrath in the semi-finals and New Zealand along with a clueless loss to Bangladesh, it was lack of the presence of India and Pakistan that saw South Africa in the semi-finals. I just cannot tell you My view on anything and everything under the sun.

The South Africans were favorites to win the cup only in the 1996 and 1999 editions where they had beaten all opponents in the league stages until they lost the plot in the knock out games against West Indies and Australia. This time, the South Africans have to consider themselves lucky to have ended up as the top team beating India and West Indies. A loss against England chasing 173 cannot be justified and neither can the loss yesterday against the Kiwis with the likes of Smith, deVilliars and Kallis. South Africa are gifted with the most promising squad even better than Sri Lanka and India. But, lack of commitment needs a heavy payment.

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