South African coach Rob Walter has dismissed claims that his sides are “chokers” following their defeat to Australia in the semi-final of the Cricket World Cup.
At Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the Proteas chose to bat first and fell behind 24-4 before David Miller’s 101 drove them to 212 all out.
The bowlers from South Africa put up a great fight to keep the opposition at bay, getting to 137-5 before Australia managed to reach their target with 16 balls remaining.
After 1999 and 2007, it was South Africa’s third World Cup semifinal loss to Australia. It was also their fifth overall.
“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.”
The word “choking” is used to characterise giving up what seem to be positions of strength, and South Africa has earned a reputation for doing so.
They lost to Australia in a ridiculous run-out in the semi-finals of the 1999 World Cup, despite needing just one run from four balls.
They were eliminated four years later for misinterpreting the rain regulations, and they lost a semi-final in 2015 to New Zealand after they hit a six off the final ball.
During the group stage in India, the Proteas proved to be formidable cricket players, winning seven out of nine games.
One of those victories came four weeks ago in Lucknow against Australia, when they amassed 311-7 and dismissed their opponents for a meagre 177 to win by 134 runs.
They set a World Cup record with their victory over Sri Lanka, 428-5.