Friday, March 25, 2011

The Choking Story!

South African cricketers are called as the 'Chokers'. Recently you might have caught glimpses of their chocking abilities. Most recent ones are as follows.

Feb 21, 2010 - South Africa lost to India by 1 run.
Chasing a stiff 299, they were reduced to 180 for 7. But then brilliance of Kallis helped them to get to 290 for 8. Unable to withstand the pressure they lost their last two wickets easily hence losing by 1 run.

Jan 15, 2011 - South Africa lost to India by 1 run.
Chasing 191, they were 152 for 4 when they lost 6 wickets for only 37 runs losing by just 1 wicket.

Mar 6, 2011 - South Africa lost to England by 6 runs.
Chasing a mere target of 172, they were 124 for 3 when they lost 7 wickets for 41 runs.

South Africans have a history of World Cup chokes. They 'Choke to Death' in all the World Cups. Here is their famous history.

1992 World Cup:

South Africa was facing England in the Semi-Final. They needed 22 to win off 13 balls. Rain interrupted play for 2 overs. When play resumed, the target was revised to 21 to win off 1 ball. The most unluckiest way to get out of the World Cup.

1996 World Cup:

It was the Quarter-Final and South Africa were facing West Indies. Needing 265 to win, South Africa were 186 for 3. They then lost the next 4 wickets for just 12 runs, which ended up losing the game by 19 runs and knocked off the World Cup.

1999 World Cup:

Who can ever forget the magnificent Semi-Final between South Africa and Australia. Being a nail-bitter, South Africa needed 9 runs off the last over with only 1 wicket in hand. Lance Klusener hits two boundaries off the next two balls thereby needing just 1 run to win off 4 balls. And then the silliest thing happens. Klusener pushes the ball and runs a quick run and Alan Donald just stands there looking at the ball. Both the batsmen ends up in the same side of the wicket and an easy run out ties the game. Since Australia had higher points compared to South Africa, they enter the finals and South Africa crashes out of the World Cup.

2003 World Cup:

South Africa had a forgettable World Cup at home. But a win off the final league match against Sri Lanka will see them into the Super Six Stage. Due to the rain, the target for South Africa was revised to 230 off 45 overs, meaning they need 7 runs to win off 2 balls. Mark Boucher hits a SIX which made South Africa need just one run off the last ball. Boucher then defends the last ball without even attempting a run. What the hell happened there? Someone had told Boucher that it was only 6 runs to win off the last two balls. After the SIX he assumed that the game was won and he didn't bother to run off the last ball. The tie in this match meant that South Africa did not have enough points to get to Super Six and they crashed out of the World Cup.

2007 World Cup:

Well, this is the only World Cup were South Africa did not choke but they just gave it away during the Semi-Finals against Australia. Winning the toss and batting first, South Africa lost all their wickets for 149. Australia chased down the score with no trouble at all.

2011 World Cup:

So far South Africa have reach the Quarter-Final which they are to play against New Zealand today. Will they choke in the Quarter-Finals? Or will they choke in the Semi-Finals? They have never been to a World Cup Final. I really wish they would enter the Finals this time. Let's wait and watch.

Edited after the Match:

The chokers choked again. With 222 to win against a feable New Zealand attack, South Africa were 121 for 3. 100 to win with 7 wickets in hand. And guess what? They lose 4 wickets for the next 11 runs and ends up with 172 all out. Will they ever be lucky?


Kavin said...

ya da... one reporter even asked, "nowadays, SA team is not referred as chokers, but as jokers..." hearing that, Graeme Smith got infuriated...

BokFan said...

It's the batting strategy: "Keep wickets in hand, have someone bat through and accelerate at the end."

Let's count the ways that is a bad strategy:
1. "Keep wickets in hand" is a nice euphemism for allowing the top order to bat as slow as mollasses with no one calling them out for it. "Hey, I was just keeping my wicket in tact!
2. "Have someone bat through" is a nice aim, but bad strategy. Just like having the opener score 200 is a great aim (he should at least try), but bad strategy (since it may never happen, the genius of Tendulkar excepted).
3. "Accelerate at the end" is the heart of the Protea difficulties. It is hard enough when you have the personnel for the job (Lance Klusener, Mark Boucher, Justin Kemp and Albie Morkel to name a few), but downright impossible with the squad South Africa took to the 2011 WC.

Now coach Corrie doesn't want anybody to use hurtful language (the C-word) around the squad, because it might help the opponents. Sorry Corrie, your legacy is not as important as fixing what is wrong with SA cricket. Call them chokers every day till the next WC. Maybe that way the word loses its sting.

Won't do much good unless the Proteas find a new batting strategy...