South Africa bow out of T20 WC with crunch-match choker tag in tow

The Dutch players celebrate the dismissal of South African captain Temba Bavuma. Photo: AFP/Brenton Edwards

South Africa suffered an upset loss to the Netherlands to bow out of the T20 World Cup at the Adelaide Oval on Sunday. The Proteas, who only needed a win over the Dutch to secure a place in the semifinals, fell short by 13 runs in their chase of 159.

The unexpected loss underlined South Africa's tag as chokers in the ODI World Cup and in the T20 World Cup.

Temba Bavuma's men were sitting pretty after beating India in Perth last Sunday. However, back-to-back losses at the hands of Pakistan and the Netherlands sent them home. Rain robbed South Africa of a certain win in the opening match against Zimbabwe. But they have only themselves to blame for wilting under pressure against the Dutch.

South Africa were unlucky to go down to England in the semifinals of the 1992 ODI World Cup on their return to international cricket. They needed 22 off 13 balls when rain stopped play at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The controversial rain rule meant they needed 21 off one ball when the match resumed! England won by 20 runs as the Proteas' campaign ended in disappointment.

South Africa under Hansie Cronje won all their group games to set up a quarterfinal clash with the West Indies in the 1996 edition. A brilliant century by Brian Lara stopped the South Africans at Karachi.

More disappointment was in store for Cronje and Co. as they came second best to Steve Waugh's Australia in the semifinals of the 1999 World Cup. The nail-biting semifinals ended in a tie at Birmingham, but the Aussies went through since they had beaten the South Africans in the Super Six stage.

A goof-up in calculating Duckworth-Lewis score meant the South Africans could only tie their must-win match against Sri Lanka at Durban in the 2003 edition. The co-hosts captained by Shaun Pollock failed to even qualify for the semifinals.

South Africa were stunned by M S Dhoni's India in a vital Super Eight match in the inaugural T20 World Cup at Durban in 2007. The 37-run defeat also packed off Graeme Smith's men from the tournament.

The Proetas have clearly crumbled at the crunch and unless they break the jinx, the tag of chokers will stay with them.

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