The South African cricket team, known as the Proteas, suffered a defeat in the World Cup semi-final against Australia. However, Proteas coach, Walter, has rejected the notion that his team choked under pressure.
In a post-match interview, Walter emphasized that the Proteas fought hard and put up a competitive score, making it a serious contest between two strong teams.
The Proteas had a challenging start after electing to bat first, losing four wickets with just 24 runs on the board. However, David Miller’s century helped them recover and reach a total of 212 all out at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens.
The South African bowlers then fought valiantly, putting Australia in trouble at 137-5. Despite their efforts, Australia managed to chase down the target with 16 balls to spare, resulting in South Africa’s fifth defeat in a World Cup semi-final and their third against Australia.
Addressing the notion of choking, Walter explained, “You need to define what a choke is. For me, a choke is losing a game that you’re in a position to win. In this instance, we were behind right from the start, but we fought our way back and put up a score that gave us a chance.”
He further stated, “Then they got off to a flyer and we fought back, putting ourselves back into the game… so for me, there’s nothing even remotely close to a choke that happened out there today.”
The Proteas have gained a reputation for “choking” in crucial matches, often surrendering 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 due to a run-out.
Similarly, in 2007, they misread the rain rules and were knocked out of the tournament. In 2015, they lost a semi-final when New Zealand hit a six off the last ball. However, Walter believes that this particular match does not fit the definition of a choke.
It is important to note that the Proteas performed exceptionally well in the group phase of the World Cup, winning seven out of nine matches.
One of their victories came against Australia in Lucknow, where they scored 311-7 and bowled out their opponents for just 177, securing a convincing 134-run win. They also set a World Cup record of 428-5 in their triumph against Sri Lanka.
Despite the disappointment of the semi-final defeat, Walter remains proud of his team’s performance throughout the tournament.
He highlighted the competitive nature of the match and the efforts made by the Proteas to stay in the game, emphasizing that it was not a case of choking but rather a contest between two talented teams.