The South African national cricket team are renowned for a tendency to choke on the big stage.
Despite being blessed with a vast array of talent, especially in the post-Apartheid era, the nation have never actually managed to win a major tournament.
The Proteas succumbed to bad luck in a rain-affected World Cup semi-final in 1992, but have often contributed to their own downfall on the big stage; perhaps most notably with a major batting collapse against New Zealand in the 2011 World Cup in India.
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Ahead of the 2017 Champions Trophy, much of the talk within the South African camp was centered around winning the tournament and finally shaking off their reputation for failure.
Ranked number one in the world in the 50-over format, South Africa have a devastating bowling attack and an excellent mix of touch players and raw power throughout their batting line up.
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However, after a relatively routine victory over Sri Lanka during their first match in Group B, Russell Domingo’s men lost to the unfancied Pakistan at Edgbaston, making today’s clash against India a must-win.
Having been put in by opposition skipper Virat Kohli, Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock serenely steered the Proteas to 76-0.
However, living up to their reputation of making poor decisions on the big stage, a collapse ensued.
After de Kock was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 53, Test and T20 captain Faf du Plessis was involved in two unnecessary run-outs.
First to fall victim to sharp Indian fielding in the ring was captain in this format, AB de Villiers, who dived for his ground in vain after being called through for a single by his partner.
Only moments later, the dangerous David Miller was also on his way back to the changing rooms after a comical mix up with du Plessis which ended in both batsmen stretching to get back into the same crease.
Seeing two partnerships end in similar fashion, the pressure was then firmly on du Plessis to get his country to a competitive target, but he was bowled shortly afterwards by seam-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
It appears that the admin of the International Cricket Council's official Twitter account felt that the opportunity to troll the near inevitable plight of the South African batting unit was too good to resist.
In the immediate aftermath of du Plessis’ dismissal, a meme emerged from the account which reads: “Can’t be run out; if you’re bowled instead.”
Somewhat surprising content to emerge from a supposedly impartial body, but we thought it was hilarious!
With South Africa eventually collapsing to 191 in this decisive Group B encounter, it will be a real uphill battle in the second innings if they are to progress further in the tournament.
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