South Africa at ODI World Cup – Heart-Breaking Semi-final Defeats

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South Africa, one of the strongest cricket teams, is yet to win an ODI World Cup. The team has often not found ways to get over the line, as it has choked under pressure. The Proteas have ended up on the wrong side of the results, especially in the semi-finals of the World Cups.

Tough Times in the ODI WC Semi-finals for South Africa

South Africa carries a strong squad every World Cup but fails to win the trophy. Let us look at three such instances where South Africa reached the semi-final of the World Cup but lost the match, and that too after coming close to winning.

South Africa vs England – 1992 ODI WC Semi-final

England faced South Africa in a crucial 1992 ODI World Cup semi-final. In a rain-curtailed match, reduced to 45 overs, England posted an impressive 252 runs on the board thanks to the sparkling 83 by star batter Graeme Hick.

South Africa looked like chasing the target but lost its way somewhere in the middle. The rain gods also didn’t help, and South Africa lost the match by 19 runs. The Proteas fans were left heartbroken, as the strong South African team playing their first World Cup was expected to go all the way.

South Africa vs Australia – 1999 ODI WC Semi-Final

South Africa was again on the wrong side of the results when it faced Australia in the 1999 ODI World Cup semi-final. Australia batted first and crawled their way to 213 runs. Significant contributions came from Steve Waugh and Michael Bevan, who scored 56 and 65, respectively. Shaun Pollock bowled with great discipline and picked up five wickets for 36 runs.

In the run chase, South Africa started steadily but lost four quick wickets as Shane Warne started to weave his magic. Jonty Rhodes and Jacques Kallis stitched together 84 runs to bring the South African innings back on track. Lance Klusener played a blinder and almost got South Africa over the line. 

A confusion between number eleven, Allan Donald, and Klusener led to a run-out in the penultimate delivery of the match, ending in a tie. Australia advanced to the final thanks to their superior position in the Super Six table. It remains one of the most heartbreaking moments for South African cricket fans. 

South Africa vs New Zealand – 2015 ODI WC Semi-Final

South Africa took on a competitive New Zealand team in the first semi-final of the 2015 ODI World Cup. The Proteas batters batted beautifully and scored 281 runs in just 43 overs in a rain-affected match thanks to Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers. Also, David Miller made a quickfire 49*. 

New Zealand batters decided to take on South African bowlers in the run chase. Brendon McCullum got the Kiwis off to a flying start, scoring 59 runs in just 26 balls. South Africa fielded poorly, as fielders dropped many catches and run-out chances. 

With New Zealand needing five runs off two balls, Grant Elliot hit a six, tearing South African hearts into pieces. South African players were seen crying on the field as they could not hold back their emotions.

Concluding Thoughts

South Africa has a strong squad for the 2023 ODI World Cup. It will all boil down to how South African players handle the pressure in high-intensity games. The 15-member squad for India will be keen to do away with the chokers and tag and lift a maiden ICC trophy.