Proteas choking

Proteas to play Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup semi-final. Image: @ProteasMenCSA

Opinion: Proteas have to challenge the choking narrative

Proteas have mastered the art of choking over the years but the team has displayed good cricket this T20 World Cup.

Proteas choking

Proteas to play Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup semi-final. Image: @ProteasMenCSA

Proteas have a history of choking in World Cup knockout matches. However, this time might be different, given the team’s success in winning close games. So far, the Proteas have won their first seven matches of this year’s T20 World Cup, making it to the semi-finals unbeaten for the first time in T20 WC history.

Led by Aiden Markram, the team is balanced and possibly the most explosive T20 squad South Africa has produced. On paper, their batting looks unmatched, but in reality, the team has relied on bowlers when batsmen failed.

Can the Proteas finally get rid of the choking tag?

The positive thing is that the Proteas have not shown signs of struggle yet. It might still happen in the semis, but what are the chances? For the first time since the T20 World Cup began, South Africa has had an easier path to the final.

Rob Walter’s team started the tournament with a convincing win over Sri Lanka in the group stages. A nervy finish against Bangladesh and Nepal raised questions, but it was in the Super Eight where the Proteas looked strong. After a win against a brave USA side, Markram and his team managed to hold off defending champions England before narrowly defeating West Indies at home.

So far, the Proteas have held their own and look like a team that is ready to drop their choking tag. T20 is a game of fine margins, and one bad over can change the outcome of the match. Top teams such as Australia, Pakistan and New Zealand have all been eliminated early in this year’s tournament.

The Proteas seem determined, and choking might be a thing of the past if they can maintain their usual form against Afghanistan. For many years, the side has fallen short before the final hurdle when faced against top-rated teams. This is the first time South Africa will play a less-fancied team in the semis of a World Cup.

For those waiting for Proteas to start choking, you might turn blue. For the first time in 30 years, the South African cricket team are playing like winners. The path to the final has never been easier and this is the time to cash in.