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Choking is an art: Learn the Proteas way!
The Proteas, quite aptly, lived up to the chokers tag when they crashed to a 49-run defeat against much lowly rated New Zealand team in their World Cup quarterfinal clash!
IF ONE thought that the tag of “chokers” was a thing of the past for the current bunch of cricketers from South Africa - then here comes the ultimate proof from the Proteas to stamp their authority as the all-time Great Chokers.
 
Ever since returning back to the cricket world in 1991, South Africa has participated in six world cups, and the chokers tag has continuously haunted this cricketing nation like anything.
 
The  Proteas, quite aptly, lived up to the chokers tag when they crashed to a 49-run defeat against the much lowly rated New Zealand team in their World Cup quarterfinal clash at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur on Friday, March 25, 2011s.
 
Chasing a victory target of 222 runs, South Africa were bowled out for 172 in 43.2 overs, thereby coming out clean with their six in six knockout failures in world cup history.
 
Just imagine, the team which has played each of the five world cups (barring 1992 world cup) as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, has not been able to win a single knockout encounter till date.
 
Despite their mesmerizing performances and easy outings against their opponents in the league stages and pre knockout stages - the Proteas have done everything but to cruise past their opponents.
 
In the ongoing world cup in the sub-continent, the South African team was touted as a favourite to lift the coveted trophy - and after defeating co-hosts India in the league phase, their chances was bolstered.
 
However, brushing aside all speculation and expert opinion, this South African team showed to the world in Mirpur that choking is an art, and that they have mastered this art better than any other team in the world.
 
The African team produced a disciplined bowling effort to restrict New Zealand to a modest total of 221, and were coasting along well at 121 for 2 with Jacques Kallis and AB deVilliers playing with ease at the crease.
 
Here came the choking ghost, which pressed the panic button - and suddenly South Africa who looked to be on their way to breaking the choking jinx - decided to stay with their mastered art of choking. They completely lost the way and went into a shell - handing an easy 49-run win to the Kiwis.
 
There was a lot of talk about the choking history of South African before the start of the world cup and even throughout the league phase. But looking at the performance of the team, it was expected that the team would come out of the shell this time.
 
The out-of-favour wicketkeeper, Mark Boucher, had advocated for a mental conditioning expert for the team ahead of the world cup given their failures in crunch situations.
 
However, the stand-in keeper and batsman, AB deVilliers, dismissed the need for mental conditioning expert and said that the team had shown in recent times that they were capable of playing in big situations and under pressure. AB had said: “We are not focusing what happened in the past in the World Cup. In recent time we have been opposite of chokers.”

With South Africa’s ouster from the 2011 world cup, the supporters back home can do nothing but to wait out another four years to see whether their team’s mastery in the art of choking takes a back seat or the tradition continues!

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