South Africa’s Record in World Cup Semi-finals

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South Africa has been an effective ODI team, but they have been found wanting in multi-nation tournaments like ODI World Cups. It is why they are known as ‘chokers,’ as they have never made it to the final of an ODI World Cup. We look at South Africa’s history in the ODI World Cup semi-finals.

What is South Africa’s Record in the World Cup Semi-Finals?

South Africa made their ODI World Cup debut in 1992 in Australia and saw them reach the semi-final. The African nation has also made the last four in 1999, 2007, 2011, and 2015. Let us look at what happened in all five semi-final fixtures.  

2011LossNew Zealand
2015LossNew Zealand

1992 World Cup

South Africa made their ODI World Cup debut in 1992. And boy, didn’t they make an impression in their first tournament? They played nine games, winning five of them, after which they qualified for the semi-finals, where they took on England, who batted first and set a target of 253. Graeme Hick was the top-scorer for England with a 90-ball 83. Meyrick Pringle and Allan Donald shone with the ball. 

In reply, South Africa gave this target a hot pursuit. Opener Andrew Hudson scored 46 while Jonty Rhodes added a quickfire 43, but then the rain arrived, and the equation turned on its head. South Africa needed 22 runs off just one ball. That was numerically impossible, and England won the match despite the Proteas playing better cricket.

1999 World Cup

Seven years later, South Africa was once again in the semi-final. The Proteas faced Australia, and again, they played some excellent cricket throughout the tournament. However, when the reckoning came, the Proteas fell short yet again. Australia had set a target of 214 after Mark Waugh and Michael Bevan rescued the Kangaroos after a poor start. Shaun Pollock claimed a five-wicket haul. 

Jacques Kallis and Jonty Rhodes kept South Africa in the hunt with an 84-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Needing nine off the final over with nine wickets down, Lance Klusener hit back-to-back boundaries off Damien Fleming’s first two balls. However, a disastrous run-out in the fourth ball ended the match in a tie. Australia qualified for the final on the basis of finishing above South Africa on the Super Six points table. 

2007 World Cup

South Africa reached the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup, played in the Caribbean, after finishing fourth in the Super Eights. A red-hot Australia awaited the Proteas in the all-important clash in St Lucia. Graeme Smith won the toss and elected to bat first, but it was a disaster as Shaun Tait and Glenn McGrath ripped apart the South African top order. They were bowled out for 149, with Justin Kemp top-scoring with 49. Australia chased down 150 comfortably, leaving South Africa with a third straight semi-final defeat.

2015 World Cup

South Africa locked horns New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup semi-final. In the group stage, the AB de Villiers-led side finished second behind India and thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets in the quarter-final. The Proteas, who batted first, lost their openers before the first powerplay. But Faf du Plessis, De Villiers, and David Miller were brilliant with the bat as they reached 281/5 after 43 overs. However, rain halted proceedings, and New Zealand’s target was adjusted to 298.  

In its run chase, New Zealand struggled at one stage despite a great start from the openers. The onus was on Grant Elliott, who would take the onus upon himself to craft one of the best modern-day ODI innings. With 12 required off the final over, Elliott hit a four in the third ball and smashed a six in the penultimate delivery off Dale Steyn to pull off a stunning heist. De Villiers broke down on the field, summarizing a sorry picture for himself and his team.

Concluding Thoughts

South Africa has never quite recovered from the 1992 semi-final loss. as they would lose every other semi-final since that year. They would play great cricket throughout the tournament but then lose the semi-final, which was always hard on the players. However, in the 2023 World Cup semi-final, they will want to play their best-ever cricket to bury the ghost. It will be a wonderful tribute to some senior players who have served the Proteas wholeheartedly.

Also Read ICC World Cup Winners List and Runners List Till Now