Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Friday, 17 November 2023 11:19

'For me there is nothing even remotely close to a choke' - Proteas coach Walter.

Staff Reporter.

South Africa coach Rob Walter dismissed claims his team suffered another dose of World Cup semi-final stage fright in their tense three-wicket defeat to Australia, insisting it "was nothing even remotely close to a choke".

The Proteas slipped to 24-4 after they elected to bat first before David Miller's 101 pulled them to 212 all out at Kolkata's Eden Gardens.

The South African bowlers fought valiantly to defend the total and had the opposition in trouble at 137-5 before Australia reached their target with 16 balls to spare.

It was South Africa's fifth defeat in a World Cup semi-final and third against Australia after 1999 and 2007.

"You need to define what a choke is," Walter told reporters.

"For me, a choke is losing a game that you're in a position to win. In this instance, we were behind the eight ball right from the word go and we actually fought our way back into the competition and put up a score that gave us a chance."

He added: "Then they got off to a flyer and we fought and we put ourselves back into the game... so for me there's nothing even remotely close to a choke that happened out there today. It's a serious contest between two good teams."

South Africa have developed a reputation for "choking", the word used to describe surrendering what appears to be positions of strength.

In 1999, they were defeated by Australia in the semi-finals when they needed just one run from four balls but ended up losing in a farcical run-out.

Four years later, they were knocked out after misreading the rain rules while in 2015 they lost a semi-final when New Zealand clobbered a six off the last ball.

The Proteas played impressive cricket in the group phase in India where they won seven of nine matches.

One of those wins was against Australia in Lucknow four weeks ago where they piled up 311-7 and bowled out their rivals for just 177 for a 134-run victory.

In their win against Sri Lanka, they even made a World Cup record of 428-5.