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Proteas successfully defend “chokers” title

The Proteas have successfully defended the title of “chokers” in their semi-final match against Pakistan in the ICC World T20 2009 tournament today.

At the post-match presentation, Graeme Smith dismissed a question alluding to his team being chokers by saying that he didn’t believe that’s the case and it was just that Pakistan was better on the day. Well, yes, T20 is a format in which the stronger team or even the in-form team is not guaranteed a victory because anybody could suddenly play as if he’s in the form of his life over a short span of 3 hours and grab victory. And that’s exactly what Shahid Afridi did today to take Pakistan into the finals.

However, given the way the Proteas have played all their matches leading up to the semi-finals, you would have been deemed perfectly sensible for having purchased a ticket to watch South Africa in the finals. The Proteas themselves believed that based on the strengths of the current team, they had nothing to worry about that nagging “chokers” tag.

But cometh the moment, cometh a crunch match, cometh the pressure and it’s déjà vu – the Proteas are on the losing side yet again. I’m very disappointed to see the Proteas lose today’s semi-final. I sincerely wanted them to win the T20 World Cup 2009, because I believe they’re a world-class team who deserve a World title, having given cricket fans terrific performances over the years. Unfortunately, they choked yet again and irrespective of how Graeme Smith and his boys react to today’s loss, they’ve lost too many crucial matches and consequently World titles to shed the title of “chokers”. Perhaps, other tags like “jinxed” and “cursed” will creep in to join “chokers” and haunt the Proteas.

Pakistan was the better side today and earned their victory. Shahid Afridi finally came to the party and I’ve never seen anybody bowl so many yorkers in a match as Umer Gul bowled today. Looking forward to see who meets Pakistan in the semi-finals – another Asian country (Sri Lanka) or the unpredictable Calypso boys (West Indies).

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