South Africa

Will we make it?

This is the question every Protea fan including me had at the back of our mind as South Africa and a chance of conquering a knock-out game came face to face once again in a big tournament.

Truth be told it was only natural to feel this way with the devils of the past scarring us seeing the Men In Green and Gold give it up way too often when inching so very close to achieving immortality.

Perhaps the only confidence one could garner this time was it was minnows Netherlands they had to beat which looked rather possible to progress to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. Well, the outcome was as unexpected as seeing a carnivore turn vegetarian with the Dutch Brigade firing on all cylinders to send the Mzansi packing home.

The all so familiar feeling of desolation had once again engulfed the South African faithful as a helpless Protea outfit succumbed to a thirteen run defeat at the hands of the Team in Orange on an Adelaide surface which was slow but certainly not unplayable.

Netherlands put a valiant showing with the bat amassing a decent total of 158 for 4 with ex-Proteas player Colin Ackerman scoring 41 of just 26 balls. The total looked tough but certainly not out of depth for the South African batting line-up boasting the likes of de Kock, Markram, Rossouw and Miller as the Adelaide surface continued to get slower.

What happened next was truly a debacle par excellence as the Protea batters fell one after the other with no momentum or belief to hold the bat let alone reach the target.

Was this again their mental atrocity that got the better of them or were they just not up for this game in every aspect?

The answer eludes one like intellect to most uncivilised beings.

This after South Africa had started rather impressively in this mother of T20 tournaments with decimating Zimbabwe before the raingods intervened, a clinical showing against India and a hammering given out to Bangladesh.

One still can’t quite get his head around the mystery as to how do South Africa despite being so sound on paper always end up losing when they need to win the most?

It has happened way too often be it the 1992, 2003, 2011 and 2015 editions of the ODI World Cup or the episode that serves as the basis of this article.

Perhaps getting an answer to the aforementioned question is as challenging as my will to become a leader who his subordinates and peers will always look up to.

As the author of this piece and an intrepid fan who’s grown up watching their cricket, I sincerely hope at some point South Africa and my fortunes do turn around. For until then, we don’t continue to live in this all too familiar feeling of disillusioned utopia.

All that South Africa can continue to do till then is to try!


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