Proteas World Cup Odyssey : Did they really choke?


Over the last few days certain sections of media had glorified South Africa loss rather than Kiwis victory. If one is feeling sad for SA just because they had the likes of AB De Villiers and Co then somewhere down the line they are undermining the very essence of cricket. Matthew Hayden said, “Cricket is a team game that is won by individual brilliance”. The Rainbow nation have themselves to blame at the end of the day as the better team won.

Black Caps outplayed South Africa team in the first semifinal of ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. Proteas struggled against major team in the league stage and were handsomely beaten by Indian Cricket Team, lost their way against Pakistan Cricket Team while in contrast, Kiwis dominated throughout. They defeated Sri Lanka Cricket team in a one sided match, held their nerves to beat Australian Cricket Team (Proteas should learn this) and were professional against the weaker teams. You drop sitters, miss run outs and then expect to play in the World Cup final? Mate, you are expecting a lot!

We all agree that South Africa were denied in the 1992 but now it seems to have become a habit. The chokers saga began when Allan Donald-Lance Klusener tied 1999 semi final and the baton was carried forward in 2003 by Mark Boucher and team management (miscalculation) and in 2011 they panicked and lost which they could have easily chased down.

In order to get a better insight of the scenario we should first of all know what actually is choking and how is it different from panicking. Gladwell defines choking as the kind of failure that results from thinking too much. Panicking is exactly opposite of choking. It’s the kind of failure that comes from an absence of knowledge. Now it is quite clear that while SA choked in 1999 and 2003 they panicked in 2011 and 2015. Statistically speaking, in past two years South Africa’s record while chasing 200 plus is very poor, a mere 37.5 percentage and that is shocking when they possess one of the most potent batting lineup.

Kiwis‬ may not have too many superstars (as is the case with them) but they have jelled as a competitive unit. SA supporters could argue that rain reduced their chance which in my opinion is not fair to say. Well, everyone knows that rain might play the role in the match, then why not play accordingly. There is no point in arguing as it would only result in a never-ending cycle of “ifs and buts”. All the arguments lead to one conclusion : SA have made progress. First they used to choke and now they Panic. And the end result is same failure.

In a nutshell, South Africa in World Cup‬ are at opposite ends of the spectrum of failure ~ Choking and Panicking.