The Reuters global sports blog
South Africans haunted by “choker” tag again
“Chokers” is not an easy tag to get rid of and South Africa’s latest attempt to shed it will haunt them for a while. Worse, they may have ended up reinforcing it.
The Proteas were so afraid of fumbling again that they failed to perform on the field; and the result was a thrashing at the hands of England in the Champions Trophy semi-final.
The hosts seemed better prepared and made full use of the conditions, in sharp contrast to the South Africans, who thought it was better to be reckless than “choke” on the big occasion.
AB de Villiers’ men, none more than the skipper, were guilty of being adventurous when the conditions demanded caution. The captain, JP Duminy and Ryan McLaren were all out to careless shots, and at a time when South Africa could least afford it.
Later in the innings, David Miller and Rory Kleinveldt showed a lot more resolve and added crucial runs with their sensible, yet aggressive, approach but it was never going to be enough.
England did all that was expected of them. James Anderson, Steven Finn and Stuart Broad ran in with purpose and revelled in overcast conditions. Off-spinner James Tredwell played his part, chipping in with three wickets.
England batsmen were not going to let the match get away once they had kept the Proteas to 175.
Predictably, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root steered the chase with ease.
South African fans, for once, were lulled into believing that something spectacular was in store after their team entered the semi-finals, with the rain and better net run-rate conspiring together to send them through despite a tie against the West Indies.
Sadly, all that came to nothing against England, as it was the thought of “choking” that cost them the game this time.