Ex-Proteas batsman Lance Klusener at the 1999 World Cup. Image: IANS

Klusener/Donald ‘curse’ continue to haunt Proteas in World Cups

Familiar failings continue to haunt the Proteas in World Cups. It doesn’t matter which generation, they can’t chase or play under pressure.


Ex-Proteas batsman Lance Klusener at the 1999 World Cup. Image: IANS

If Hansie Cronje’s team couldn’t win the Cricket Would Cup, which Proteas team will ever lift the trophy? many people are still asking.

In the past 30 years, the Proteas has had two golden generations but still failed to even reach a final of any World Cup(T20 or ODI).

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The class of ’99 fell short of reaching the finals after their heartbreaking sem-final exit to Australia.

Proteas fumble and stumble once put underpressure

In 2015, the Proteas, led by Ab de Villiers look set to finally win their maiden WC trophy but were sent packing by New Zealand in the semis.

The 2023 team is dubbed by many as their weakest team to ever play in a WC tournament but after their impressive start to the campaign, some pundits and fans believed that the Proteas were a team to beat and among the three teams likely to win the tournament in India.

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Just as things looked promosing, Temba Bavuma’s side collapse in fashion against an associate team Netherlands. On paper, the Proteas should have mopped the floor with the Dutch but given the Proteas and their World Cup demons, some were not surpised when the South Africans imploded.

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The curse started way back in 1999

In the semi-final match against Australia, which is dubbed ‘the greatest World Cup match’ in history, the Proteas needed to win to reach their first-ever WC final. With three balls to spare, the Proteas needed just one run to win and their main batsman Lance Klusener was on strike.

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Zulu mis-hit his shot to mid-off, but this time Klusener panicked and went for the run. As he sprinted down the pitch, Allan Donald, at the other end, was watching the ball instead of running. Mark Waugh threw the ball to Fleming who rolled it along the pitch to Adam Gilchrist to hit the stumps and send Australia to the final.

That was declared as one of the biggest chokes in sporting history and to this day, it continues to haunt the Proteas.