They have done it again
Once again the South Africans have done what they have done so well in all the ICC events barring 1998 ICC Mini World cup. I am seeing them doing this time and again from 1996 World cup. They will always start as favourites whichever tournaments starts. Every team will play well in those tournaments and punch above their weight. SA too will do that but at the crunch time they will fail.
Lets look back:
1996 World Cup:
I have followed this world cup like anything and all my thoughts were running on this only. SA didn’t lost a single match in their Group and topped the group B. They are almost unbeatable and they destroyed each and every opposition. I still remember their match against England in which they scored just 230 which is a easy score to get on Indian wickets. Hang on. Their bowling was too good and they dismissed England for just 144.
In Quarter Finals they have met West Indies which has just clinged on to the last spot to reach Quarters. I strongly believed that it will be a cakewalk for them. But when I returned from the school on that day, I am in for a shock. West Indies almost comfortably won against them.
1999 World Cup:
Once again they steamrolled every opposition in their group barring Zimbabwe which has given a shock to them in their last group match. They have stamped their class all over. Enter Super Six, they again dominated and won the first 2 matches and qualified for the Semis. But in the last Super Six match they have lost to Steve Waugh and not to Australia. Its a must win game for Australia and what a gem of an innings he played.
In Semis, the rematch between SA and Aus. Australia bowled out for just 213 and the South Africans with the batting order they had, would have chased it even with half of their potential. But its all gone down to the wire with Klusener left stranded with scores level at one end after crashing 2 boundaries in first 2 balls of the last over. Match tied and Aus through to Finals.
Of all the heart breaks, this will linger in their mind along with the one in 1992 Semis(That is cruel).
2002 Mini World Cup:
I didn’t seen their group matches but have seen the Semis between them and India. Indians have set a score of 260s for them. And they have been moving on nicely and dangerously to get that score. Gibbs has made a wonderful hundred and I have no hope for India. But the turning point came when Gibbs retired at the score of 117*. Now the equation has read 64 runs from 13 overs with 8 wickets in hand. A tailor made situation for the batting team to romp home.
But they flunked again. This time they have found their Nemesis in the off-spin for Harbhajan and Sehwag. After Gibbs went to have some rest, SAs struggled to play Bhajji and Sourav rightly introduced Sehwag in the proceedings. I don’t know whether Sehwag bowled brilliantly or SAs batted badly…. They lost the match by 10 runs. Sehwag’s bowling record read: 5 overs-25 runs – 3 wickets.
2003 World Cup:
This time they don’t even went past group stage, all credit to their calculation abilities. The tournament was happening in their own backyard and they have been tipped as favorites along with Aussies. But they were stunned by West Indies in their first match itself. Lara has chosen the occasion to rose.
2007 World Cup:
This time Aussies were clearly the dominant team and SAs had no chance against them in the Semis.
2007 T20 World Cup:
They were comfortably placed that even a loss against India in that crucial match for India won’t affect them from entering Semis. But Indians have won the match comfortably and with higher run margin made the exit for SAs which they wouldn’t have dreamed while taking guards on a livelier Durban pitch which suits them more than Indians.
2009 T20 World Cup:
They have won all the matches before entering the Semis only to fall against the Pakistan.
2009 Mini World cup:
They have been tipped as the favourites by all and they are the first to pack up their bags and they never have fly home now. They are there. This time Graeme Smith has been the lonely warrior just like how Klusener Stand in the 1999 World Cup.
The legacy Continues… 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦