South Africa desperate not to choke again

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In the last two decades since readmission South African cricket has grown in leaps and bounds - topping the Test rankings repeatedly being this nation's finest achievement.

Success in ICC tournaments, however, has been greatly illusive. South Africa's inability to reach the final of any tournament has earned them the tag of "chokers" even among the home faithful, a tag which sickens the players.

Maybe 2015 will finally be their year, but we've been saying that since 1992. Nonetheless let us take a gander at what they need to do to change their fortunes.


The squad was announced in Cape Town and it showed no surprises, a decent mix of youth and experience was on view and, for yet another year, South Africa, on paper, have all the required credentials to challenge for the trophy.

Questions remain over the fitness of Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy, but the selectors have shown faith that they will recover in time even though both will enter the tournament thin on any sort of competitive match practice.

AB de Villiers will look to lead his side to glory and finally banish the tournament "hoodoo" which hangs over them.

Key Men

Every team relies on the performances of its senior members and South Africa is no different.

Top order mainstays Hashim Amla, De Villiers and Faf du Plessis will need to perform to relieve some of the pressure riding on inexperienced but promising players like Quinton de Kock and Farhaan Behardien. Ideally it would be the hope of many that a firm foundation could be set for proven finishers JP Duminy and David Miller to accelerate towards the back end of an innings.

The bowling attack is potent and filled with experience, spearheaded by Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel with a specialist death bowler in Kyle Abbott and the spin department covered between Imran Tahir, Aaron Phangiso, and Duminy's part time off-breaks the, South African squad look formidable and clear contenders.

Learning from the Past

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" - Albert Einstein. The South African cricket team is gravely guilty of this.

If one does not the count the '92 semi-final where an impossible 22 off the last delivery was required, scorecards from 1996, 1999, 2007 and 2011 editions of the tournament  show South Africa failed at either quarter final or semi final, were never set more than 300 to win and not once did they bat out their 50 overs.

A more startling fact is that in these four failings South African batsmen have only scored three 50s, no centuries, at least two out of the top four batsmen have failed to convert their start and, in every single game, a massive middle order collapse occurred when victory seemed in sight and the ship seemingly steadied.

It is clear to see the Proteas have been replaying the same game for two decades.

Clear Heads Prevail

If this tournament is to be any different senior players must ensure both themselves and the rest of the squad remain calm, cool and collected. Most of all the belief in their own abilities to win and perform for their nation must be alive and well, without it South Africa is doomed to relive their never ending nightmare for yet another four years.

On paper they're one of the favourites, however, in their own minds some of the squad carry the baggage of past failings.

Their ability to conquer their mental demons will determine how far they progress and if they can finally banish the tag of "chokers".

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AB de Villiers
Dale Steyn
Hashim Amla
ODI World Cup
South Africa cricket

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