ICC World Twenty20 June 19, 2009

No choking but South Africa flunk big test

 
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If Shahid Afridi always played like this, Garry Sobers might be nervously fretting over his place in the All-Time World XI © Associated Press
 

Farewell then, South Africa. An excellent campaign ended in failure – and within seconds, the choking accusations had begun. As sure as night follows day (but without even the intervening buffer of evening), as sure as headache follows headbutting a lamppost, as sure as, in my experience as a father, throwing food on the floor leads to the mother of your children saying, “Don’t throw food on the floor – you’re 34 now and supposed to be setting a good example,” as sure as all of these things, South Africa were accused of choking on the big occasion.

In all sports, when a team or player has acquired a reputation for choking, fairly or unfairly, any failure is habitually deemed a choke. South Africa’s track record of flunking big knock-out games goes before them, which is understandable, given the spectacular firework displays they have put on when exiting recent tournaments – all the more magnificent for the fact that the team habitually plays with studied focus and almost scientific precision. Seeing South Africa implode on the cricket field is thus akin to watching a normally sedate accountant turn feral and start barking at a filing cabinet after losing his favourite pencil.

However, yesterday, there was no choke. Twenty20 is barely long enough for a team to peruse the menu and order a tempting sandwich of whole sardines, peanuts and biro lids in floury seeded bread, let alone start eating and choking on it. South Africa did not field or bat especially well, but (a) Pakistan were good, (b) Shahid Afridi was exceptional, and, importantly, (c) Twenty20 is a capricious game and this tournament has proved that most teams can beat or lose to most others on a one-off basis.

Indeed, this very result, and the influence of Afridi, were both predicted in the latest Zaltzman Report audio show – listen to it here – along with my thoughts on the Super Eights, England’s Duckworth-Lewis difficulties and world exclusive news of the latest innovations in T20 strokeplay, including Dilshan’s as-yet-unseen Amateur Dentist Shot, in which he deliberately knocks out his own teeth. I hope you enjoy it. After predicting England to romp to a glorious victory over Netherlands in show 1, I am relieved that my reputation as cricket’s worst tipster has taken a dent.

South Africa had been impressive in their previous five games, but despite their victories, they had posted two low scores (including against India, the only other Asian team they faced, when they struggled to score off the spinners), they had not needed to chase a challenging score to win (batting second once previously, in reply to England’s honkingly useless 111), and, due to the success of their top order, their middle order had had little batting and, in Duminy’s case, it showed.

No choke then. They lost, and it happened to be a semi-final. And but for the incandescent Afridi, whose imperious all-round display made a total mockery of his overall career statistics, they might have won. If Afridi always played like this, Garry Sobers might be nervously fretting over his place in the All-Time World XI.

There cannot have been an easier Man-of-the-Match decision since the eight-year-old Andy Zaltzman walked off with the commemorative medallion and a cheque for 25 pence from a one-on-one game against his friend Donal, away from home, in Donal’s garden, with a tennis ball, a home-made bat, and a large tree as the stumps. 208 not out and 4 for 13 − what a display from the young Zaltzman, smashing 52 boundaries into the nearby flowerbed through the untended leg-side field, before taking the tennis ball and mercilessly exploiting the fact that his tearful, bored opponent had never previously played cricket.

(If I may digress a little, which, given that I am writing this under no supervision (the wife and kids are asleep), I may, there is an interesting comparison to be made with baseball. In cricket’s distant rogue third cousin, there are a similar number of ‘events’ as Twenty20 – an average of around 250-300 pitches per match, compared with up to 240 balls in T20, plus wides, no balls, and the possible effects of innumerate umpires. Results of individual matches are similarly unpredictable – a great major league baseball team will still lose more than a third of its matches, and a hopeless one will still win more than a third. It takes 162 regular-season games, plus up to 19 play-off matches, spanning seven months, for a team to win the MLB. The team winning the World Twenty20 will have played seven times. The brevity of the tournament has made it intense, unpredictable and exciting, but a strict meritocracy it is not. And there is a tendency to overanalyse the standard fluctuations of sport, and for some English commentators to ask momentous-sounding questions such as, “So, Graeme, where did it all go wrong?”, whilst desperately trying to suppress a snigger.)

Pakistan, for their part, stride onwards, one more Afridi masterclass away from completing a great, soul-warming story, and extending a giant metaphorical middle finger towards New Zealand’s inane mistaking of their own inability to hit the ball with the bats they had bought specifically for the purpose, for evidence of illegal tampering.

I expect Younis and his men to face Sri Lanka in the final. West Indies don’t have the bowlers to keep Sri Lanka quiet (unless they take early wickets), and, for all their batting depth, their struggles with Graeme Swann in recent months suggest they may also find Mendis and Murali a bridge too far and too confusing.

But, then again, if Gayle gets out of the right side of his bed ... if Sri Lanka lose early wickets and Dilshan successfully knocks his teeth out ... if Sarwan and Chanderpaul neutralise the mysteries of spin ... if stuff happens in a mildly unexpected manner as it always does in sport, and is then magnified by the shortness of the 20-over game ... who knows. Thank Zeus, and those who devised Twenty20, for the glorious unpredictability of unpredictability.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Zaw on March 2, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Uncle, if you were 12 in 1992, you must be just under half my age. But I'll call you Uncle anyway it sort of fits.This inokchg bit is a bit of folklore now, isn't it? I never knew anyone who could live after inokchg so long as the Saffers did for 15 years. Mythology here

  • Noman Aziz on June 29, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Hey Andy... where is your 4th episode of ICC T20 audio bulletin??? I have been waiting for it for ages...

  • Mic Lang on June 22, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    I can't believe what I've been reading. South Africa are that far ahead of Pakistan in skill level, application and results that it defies logic. South Africa can't continually roll out the phrase we are still learning and improving. They are already the best side by a country mile, daylight second. Time to stand up, not sit back and block ball after ball in a T20 game. To need 23 runs in the last over with 6 wickets in hand was a joke. To me they lacked guts, they were cut-down by self doubt and fear. Although Pakistan played well, when the pressure was on SA scored 15 in the last over even with the loss of a wicket. There is no other word for it. They CHOKED big time.

  • Joe on June 21, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    To Burhan, if you want to see a team folding examine Pakistan's record when they play in South Africa. Also perhaps you can tell us how many teams chasing win at Trent Bridge? Pakistan is undoubtedly a talented team and they consistently underperform. Why did they suddenly do so well? Were the betting odds good? I would rather be SA and than Pakistan - always questions. How do they get reverse swing after 12 overs when no one else can? Why did Afridi wander into the middle of pitch in an international matach and sureptiously rotate on his heel? Why did Imziman ul Haq inexplicably dance down the wicket and give his wicket away? And just why did Bob Woolmer die? Of course the Brits have it in for SA, after all Smith has disposed of 2 England captains, Hussein (who was the first to cry choker) and Vaughn. Both blubbed at their resignation speech. Perhaps they needed a shrink!

  • Elmari on June 21, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    Andy, I thought you wrote a great, balanced, funny article. I also do not believe that South Africa choked - although it was frustrating to watch them lose. I think our South African team has improved a great deal with a more well-rounded performance and I sincerely hope that soon they will bring some silverware home. Go Proteas!

  • Joe on June 21, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    The format of these competitions is not designed to get a world champion. SA is criticised for not winning from a front running position but why is the situation equalled up by a semifinal. The answer is for money and TV thrills. The 2 best teams Sri Lanka and SA should have faced off in a best of 3 final. Why is Pakistan who have nothing to loose be even given a look in after their early tournament record. In stead SA had to go to a venue which is a virtual home ground for Pakistan, where no one wins chasing, There was absolutely no benefit from being top of the log. Should crowd support count? No except prima donna Afridi clearly feeds off the crowd. He wouldn't do nearly as well without. SA made very few errors. The only notable one was that Morkel should have come in ahead of Duminy particularly if Kallis not de Villiers was in. Kallis and Duminy became confused with regard to their roles. One or other should have been prepared to sacrifice his wicket to give Morkel a chance.

  • Burhan on June 21, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    Andy, maybe the lack of responses show people are not interested in excuses. I still feel South Africa choked. They do well in situations where no one expects much (like chasing down +400) but where they start out as favoruites in big matches the story is always the same. Yes they are one of the top teams in the world and ever since i have been following cricket they start tournaments as one of the favourites and everytime they crumble. I believe they are further strenghthening this by have team physcologists giving media interviews about how they are all "mentally tough". For Gods sake do you see any other teams doing that. For crickets sake i hope South Africa shed the tag and in coming years prove (not through a shrink) but through victory that they are not chokers. For now the results prove "beyond reasonable doubt" the truth.

  • Marlo on June 21, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    I disagree with all who say in T20 any team can beat an other on a given day. But statistics show a different trend. SA and SL are better teams and they won 7 and 6 matches in row, now if at one stage they are beaten then same is the case in test matches too. Every team has a afridi who performs once every 6 months and when he does it makes a difference. I do believe a stronger team will win 80% of times. By the way what happend to Donal, did he go on liking cricket..poor guy

  • Dhitik on June 21, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    ha ha ha..........what is said is hilarious but true......a nice one mr. Zaltzman......keep the stuff coming

  • David M on June 21, 2009, 0:57 GMT

    Andy, a really wonderful article. I was especially interested in your perceptive comparison between Twenty 20 and baseball - I hope you don't mind but I expanded upon this in my own blog: http://thesillymidoff.blogspot.com/2009/06/twenty-20-baseball-and-how-to-change.html.

    Keep up the great work (and the ever increasing number of podcasts!)

    David

  • Zaw on March 2, 2012, 12:54 GMT

    Uncle, if you were 12 in 1992, you must be just under half my age. But I'll call you Uncle anyway it sort of fits.This inokchg bit is a bit of folklore now, isn't it? I never knew anyone who could live after inokchg so long as the Saffers did for 15 years. Mythology here

  • Noman Aziz on June 29, 2009, 16:17 GMT

    Hey Andy... where is your 4th episode of ICC T20 audio bulletin??? I have been waiting for it for ages...

  • Mic Lang on June 22, 2009, 7:52 GMT

    I can't believe what I've been reading. South Africa are that far ahead of Pakistan in skill level, application and results that it defies logic. South Africa can't continually roll out the phrase we are still learning and improving. They are already the best side by a country mile, daylight second. Time to stand up, not sit back and block ball after ball in a T20 game. To need 23 runs in the last over with 6 wickets in hand was a joke. To me they lacked guts, they were cut-down by self doubt and fear. Although Pakistan played well, when the pressure was on SA scored 15 in the last over even with the loss of a wicket. There is no other word for it. They CHOKED big time.

  • Joe on June 21, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    To Burhan, if you want to see a team folding examine Pakistan's record when they play in South Africa. Also perhaps you can tell us how many teams chasing win at Trent Bridge? Pakistan is undoubtedly a talented team and they consistently underperform. Why did they suddenly do so well? Were the betting odds good? I would rather be SA and than Pakistan - always questions. How do they get reverse swing after 12 overs when no one else can? Why did Afridi wander into the middle of pitch in an international matach and sureptiously rotate on his heel? Why did Imziman ul Haq inexplicably dance down the wicket and give his wicket away? And just why did Bob Woolmer die? Of course the Brits have it in for SA, after all Smith has disposed of 2 England captains, Hussein (who was the first to cry choker) and Vaughn. Both blubbed at their resignation speech. Perhaps they needed a shrink!

  • Elmari on June 21, 2009, 16:31 GMT

    Andy, I thought you wrote a great, balanced, funny article. I also do not believe that South Africa choked - although it was frustrating to watch them lose. I think our South African team has improved a great deal with a more well-rounded performance and I sincerely hope that soon they will bring some silverware home. Go Proteas!

  • Joe on June 21, 2009, 14:40 GMT

    The format of these competitions is not designed to get a world champion. SA is criticised for not winning from a front running position but why is the situation equalled up by a semifinal. The answer is for money and TV thrills. The 2 best teams Sri Lanka and SA should have faced off in a best of 3 final. Why is Pakistan who have nothing to loose be even given a look in after their early tournament record. In stead SA had to go to a venue which is a virtual home ground for Pakistan, where no one wins chasing, There was absolutely no benefit from being top of the log. Should crowd support count? No except prima donna Afridi clearly feeds off the crowd. He wouldn't do nearly as well without. SA made very few errors. The only notable one was that Morkel should have come in ahead of Duminy particularly if Kallis not de Villiers was in. Kallis and Duminy became confused with regard to their roles. One or other should have been prepared to sacrifice his wicket to give Morkel a chance.

  • Burhan on June 21, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    Andy, maybe the lack of responses show people are not interested in excuses. I still feel South Africa choked. They do well in situations where no one expects much (like chasing down +400) but where they start out as favoruites in big matches the story is always the same. Yes they are one of the top teams in the world and ever since i have been following cricket they start tournaments as one of the favourites and everytime they crumble. I believe they are further strenghthening this by have team physcologists giving media interviews about how they are all "mentally tough". For Gods sake do you see any other teams doing that. For crickets sake i hope South Africa shed the tag and in coming years prove (not through a shrink) but through victory that they are not chokers. For now the results prove "beyond reasonable doubt" the truth.

  • Marlo on June 21, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    I disagree with all who say in T20 any team can beat an other on a given day. But statistics show a different trend. SA and SL are better teams and they won 7 and 6 matches in row, now if at one stage they are beaten then same is the case in test matches too. Every team has a afridi who performs once every 6 months and when he does it makes a difference. I do believe a stronger team will win 80% of times. By the way what happend to Donal, did he go on liking cricket..poor guy

  • Dhitik on June 21, 2009, 6:07 GMT

    ha ha ha..........what is said is hilarious but true......a nice one mr. Zaltzman......keep the stuff coming

  • David M on June 21, 2009, 0:57 GMT

    Andy, a really wonderful article. I was especially interested in your perceptive comparison between Twenty 20 and baseball - I hope you don't mind but I expanded upon this in my own blog: http://thesillymidoff.blogspot.com/2009/06/twenty-20-baseball-and-how-to-change.html.

    Keep up the great work (and the ever increasing number of podcasts!)

    David

  • jalaluddin on June 20, 2009, 20:45 GMT

    an amazing article, simply amazing

  • Naqvi on June 20, 2009, 18:50 GMT

    pretty biased. seems the author is not happy with pakistan in the finals...who cares for one person. huh

  • jogesh99 on June 20, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    South Africa need a change of leadership. They need to hire a sub-continental coach to teach them strategy, tactics, rightly controlled aggression, and, not the least of them, flair. They treat the game like an exercise in colonization/apartheid - devoid of even the most elementary aesthetics.

  • arthurc on June 20, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    I am begginning to get inclined more and more towards test and odis because of the fickle nature of t20 cricket as you, andy, have pointed out on various occassions. Looking forward to more such occassions.

  • hari on June 20, 2009, 13:17 GMT

    Zaltzy ... nice piece .. by the way your predictions have become true ... cheers mate

  • bruce on June 20, 2009, 12:09 GMT

    Thanks, Andy - at last a realistic appraisal of the game - as a Saffa (in SA) I was disappointed, but not gutted, Pakistan played so brilliantly, and given their home situation it was awesome ... come on, Pakistan!

  • Fatima Khan on June 20, 2009, 11:55 GMT

    I agree with u!South Africa didnt choke,It was just that Team Pakistan capitalized on their Talent.Pakistan enjoys a very competitive domestive T20 games back home too,Thats why they made it again to the Finals MA,I hope they bring the trophy home this time around,Ameen. Plus i loved reading ur blogs.keep it up

  • paresh shah on June 20, 2009, 10:39 GMT

    The semi finals and finals should be played as a best of three games - that way the better team should win on most occasions and the unpredictability reduced.

  • Baz on June 20, 2009, 8:42 GMT

    Kindly dont cover up for south africa,they did choke,the wore under pressure from kamran akmal's onslaught as it showed in the field.so stop making excuses.SOUTH AFRICA DID CHOKE!

  • Blakmagic on June 20, 2009, 8:24 GMT

    Lol. Hilaroius especially the one day game against donal. That was hilarious. Good article. Good to see you've got your rhythm back.

  • Ali Syedain on June 20, 2009, 6:51 GMT

    Isn't it, foremost, that South Africa did not play enough do or die matches? South Africa clinically executed a series of matches on which their future did not immediately depend.

    Another is their lack of experience of recovering from disaster. Pakistan's Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan and Inzimam built their reputations from leading fightbacks. It is interesting that South Africa does not have batsmen of repute in their lower order.

    So it is about playing with high stakes.

    Pakistan, on the other hand, have a history of do or die situations. So addicted are they, that only high stakes motivate them. Indeed, Pakistan has a shameful history of throwing away matches they were not motivated by.

    Ali Syedain

  • surya on June 20, 2009, 6:08 GMT

    Atlast,I have someone who agrees with me about the "Choking" issue..Its just that when a team wins,its deficiencies are rolled under the roof and suddenly spring up like a herd of roaches when they ultimately lose.South Africans were a tad unlucky to have lost in the knockout game..

  • wanderer on June 20, 2009, 5:55 GMT

    I agree Zaltzman. Coming back to Afridi being part of the World Unpredictable XI, I'd just like to add, how can a man who is constantly thinking on the field of play with his bowling as he has been doing recently, mixing deliveries every ball, out thinking and bluffing opponents, bat as if there aren't two brain cells in his head. It doesn't make sense. Does he mentally switch off whilst preparing to bat? Is that part of his training regime? He's had a couple of decent sensible innings with the bat, just watch as he tries to hoik the first ball against Sri Lanka in the final for a 12 to the moon, and spoil it all.

  • Ahdil on June 20, 2009, 4:09 GMT

    Yeah, they didn't choke, just got beaten by a better team on the day. You got one prediction right, that Pakistan V SL would be the final, but Gayle can't be the highest run-scorer, although he did bat well in the semis.

  • Fawad Ghauri on June 20, 2009, 2:18 GMT

    Pakistan will win the cup, i think we have played mendis better than any other team. he has not the major threat nor is murli. In the earlier match against Sri Lanka the seamers caused more problems for Pakistan. For me its going to be a tough contest and the best chance of winning will goto the team batting first. Both teams have the bowlers to defend even a modest total.

  • Anjum on June 19, 2009, 23:25 GMT

    First of all I should praise, this well written article. I think we need to take t20 cricket differently. I think no one is favourate in this format. It just depends how one team plays at that particular day. It is nothing to do with choking of South Africa, they lost because Pakistan played well on that day. Saying about afridi and whole Pakistan team, I think they are great bunch of individual players, if you see on paper, every player has great qualities, yet they didnt perform as a team in early matches. You cant blame them, because they didnt have that much international cricket under their belt recently. Final would be intresting I think both teams are balanced now, if you look at their spin and fast bowling options. still Srilanka holds the edge. Toss will play a major role, team batting first will deffinitely have an anvantage. lets hope for an exciting final.

  • greg on June 19, 2009, 20:08 GMT

    South Africa never choked. It's the nature of 20/20 cricket. It's just what happens on the day. Netherlands beat England - but then that was it. Ultimately one would want the two best teams to be in the final. That should have been South Africa vs Sri Lanka. I think it is unfortunate that points are not carried all the way through. What better way of having the two best teams play each other? What better way to make "dead-rubbers" like the India vs South Africa game worth something. Pakistan blow hot and cold. When they are hot then they can beat anyone. The problem is they are cold more often than hot, and as luck would have it they blew hot during the knock out semi-final. The main problem is they don't deserve the final - where they will probably now blow cold and make it a disappointing climax. Guaranteed - South Africa would beat Pakistan 8 out of 10 games right now ... what a pity that isn't going to be the worthy final.

  • Adeel on June 19, 2009, 18:12 GMT

    senseless analogies destroy this articles. However, the only correct thing Andy said is that this time South Africa didn't choke but beaten by the other team.

    Why this laws of chance doesn't apply on Australia (1999-2007) and WI of 80's? Think about it.

  • Dani on June 19, 2009, 17:46 GMT

    Another great post as always andy. Well done Pakistan.

  • Taha on June 19, 2009, 17:06 GMT

    Very nicely written

  • Sarmad Munir on June 19, 2009, 16:19 GMT

    good job done.the more i read you the more i enjoy it

  • afzaal on June 19, 2009, 15:28 GMT

    i agree with you on choking issue i think SA have played very well and they were knocked out by a better team.they are great cricketers and i love watching them play especially with the bat the likes of gibbs and de villiers.but then again the bottom line is they have to win a major tournament. no matter how good they play its worthless unless or until they win when it matters good luck SA for the future. I must say they have been very unlucky in these situations.

  • Muhammad Riaz on June 19, 2009, 15:03 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing on the proceedings of T20 world cup. Good to read and listen you.

    A fan of Pakistan Cricket

  • Faisal Munawar on June 19, 2009, 14:29 GMT

    Hi Andy, always love reading your writings, in deed SA were one of the finest teams coming into this series, but yes after every morning their is a night. In SA's case they skipped the evening part and lost all togather. I agree with the prediciton of Pak Vs. SL as the final. But it will be tough for Pak against SL. Both teams are good and both will very well deserve a World Cup.

  • Ehsan Bhutta,Singapore on June 19, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    I agree with you but i have to say Pakistan has a reputation of rising to their peak at right times.They are slow starters but their immense talent can take them to great heights.But my friend where were you when this cricket team was tried single handedly to remain aloof from playing.Noone is ready to tour Pakistan due to security purpose and others are cancelling their planned tour(Bangladesh).Have any body said a single word of sympathy to them when World cup hosting rights were taken away arbitararily.Why they were singled out not to play socalled IPL?and why their champion team of T20 has been omitted from chamipon league?It is a reply from team and its millions of fans who love this sport.Instead of isolating them ,engage them.That's how raw talent will continue to enlighten cricketing world.

  • Ali on June 19, 2009, 14:06 GMT

    HAHA. And i quote andy "Pakistan, for their part, stride onwards, one more Afridi masterclass away from completing a great, soul-warming story, and extending a giant metaphorical middle finger towards New Zealand’s inane mistaking of their own inability to hit the ball with the bats they had bought specifically for the purpose, for evidence of illegal tampering." Also about Dilshan knocking his teeth out....lol

    This is hilarious stuff. Great article. Well written.

  • rush_hour on June 19, 2009, 14:05 GMT

    Andy, So you had so much apathy towards the IPL - another T20 tournamnet that you were least bothered to watch and comment and termed that as a circus. But you gleefully writing on T20 world cup and making a living out of it..what brings the sudden change in the attitude? or is it just that can not see BCCI managing the the mega event IPL successfully in 2-week time frame.

  • Nadeem Siddiqui on June 19, 2009, 13:55 GMT

    Nice article, SA is a great team with huge potential, they go by book very disciplened. This T20 cricket do not follow any book and traditional technique. It needs hot headed, fearless undisciplined culivary. lot of respect for SA team, wish you a good luck for next time.

    Nadeem

  • Saif Petrelli on June 19, 2009, 13:50 GMT

    Cricket is cricket and not science.... and Pakistan has proven it. It was surprising to see South Africa using the same tactics to subdue Pakistan, which they used against India. Most Pakistani batsmen are good at playing the hook/pull, furthermore it made the South African bowling predictable. It took the bite off their bowling, trying to block the run flow, when instead they should have been more aggressive.

  • Naeem on June 19, 2009, 13:38 GMT

    There is no choking in T20. Pakistan was simply superb to outclass Africans. There is no doubt that South Africans were more capable but Pakistanis bridged this gap by showing more passion and more desire to win the match.

  • AQ on June 19, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    Great Post !!

    Yes SAF didnt choke this time , they were beaten by more skilled and passionate team. Pakistan play extremely well and shown their full strength yesterday. Although Pakistan gave couple of good chances like not scoring 170 when at 15th over it was looking easily acheivable, they drop the catch of captain smith when they were 40/0 and more than this Pakistan didnt utilize the full quota of their ace boowler Umer Gul and gave Fawad Alam to bowl, other wise the lost woul not be by 7 runs if these mistakes were not made.

    Anywaz Good Luck for SAF for next ICC event and Welldone Pakistan by coming from nowwhere stunned the world , go ahead you guys have a real talent.

  • Louis Langenhoven on June 19, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    No choking you say,,,mmmm

    losing to a modest total by simply strangling yourself slowly to death for the last 10 overs of a match... no that can't be choking

    losing to a modest total with wickets to spare...can't be choking

    captain sitting in the box looking as if in a trance no direction no messages no nuttin...defnit no choking

    top batsmen going for bout nothing,,,capt even gets a life - still nothing,,,surely not choking

    you are right

  • Malrup on June 19, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    Whether south Africans like it or not their tag of being chockers won't go away, unless they win atleast one major competition.They are very good in thumping minor teams but under real pressure, they have never delivered against any major side.With a soft belly against quality spin balling, they will have a tough time in the next world cup in Asia.

  • Asad Ali on June 19, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    It was nice to see Pak win against SA, but the post-match press conference changed the mood. I can't believe that so many journalists kept asking Smith the same question again & again, like a broken record. You are right, SA lost but they did not choke. During SA's innings Naser Hussain said that SA hasn't really been tested in the tournament yet (they played against good teams, but won easily) and if Pak can put up some real competition (which they did), it won't be easy for SA. I agree with Naser. SA played wonderfully during the tournament and I thought during Pak's innings they bowled beautifully at the death. They didn't do much wrong, it was just a better bowling performance from Pak & importantly, Afridi's day. I believe SA has come a long way in the last couple of years from being chokers. And it's time that the journalists realize this & stop sounding like broken record & getting on to the nerves of SA captian as well as cricket fans.

  • giri on June 19, 2009, 10:34 GMT

    a few questions: when u won the man of the match award, what did they give u for the prize of hitting the most DLF maximums? who interviewed u: ravi shastri or nassser hussain? did commentators ask donal "So, Donal, where did it all go wrong?"?

  • Mr.Moody on June 19, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    pakistan is better than any team in the world in T20 and this has been proven by pak team by making it to final twice!

  • Naeem Muhammad on June 19, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    Right from the beginning SA were under pressure, pressure of not any thing else but of choking. They wanted to remove this tag carefully but they went into what they were avoiding for. No doubt Pakistan played an extraordinary game yesterday but SA had potential to reply in an extraordinary way, however this was the pressure of choking which in fact choked them.

  • asif sofi on June 19, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    not only a brilliant cricketing article,an outstanding literary piece.Unpredictability of Unpredictability was the icing on the cake!

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  • asif sofi on June 19, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    not only a brilliant cricketing article,an outstanding literary piece.Unpredictability of Unpredictability was the icing on the cake!

  • Naeem Muhammad on June 19, 2009, 10:24 GMT

    Right from the beginning SA were under pressure, pressure of not any thing else but of choking. They wanted to remove this tag carefully but they went into what they were avoiding for. No doubt Pakistan played an extraordinary game yesterday but SA had potential to reply in an extraordinary way, however this was the pressure of choking which in fact choked them.

  • Mr.Moody on June 19, 2009, 10:31 GMT

    pakistan is better than any team in the world in T20 and this has been proven by pak team by making it to final twice!

  • giri on June 19, 2009, 10:34 GMT

    a few questions: when u won the man of the match award, what did they give u for the prize of hitting the most DLF maximums? who interviewed u: ravi shastri or nassser hussain? did commentators ask donal "So, Donal, where did it all go wrong?"?

  • Asad Ali on June 19, 2009, 11:07 GMT

    It was nice to see Pak win against SA, but the post-match press conference changed the mood. I can't believe that so many journalists kept asking Smith the same question again & again, like a broken record. You are right, SA lost but they did not choke. During SA's innings Naser Hussain said that SA hasn't really been tested in the tournament yet (they played against good teams, but won easily) and if Pak can put up some real competition (which they did), it won't be easy for SA. I agree with Naser. SA played wonderfully during the tournament and I thought during Pak's innings they bowled beautifully at the death. They didn't do much wrong, it was just a better bowling performance from Pak & importantly, Afridi's day. I believe SA has come a long way in the last couple of years from being chokers. And it's time that the journalists realize this & stop sounding like broken record & getting on to the nerves of SA captian as well as cricket fans.

  • Malrup on June 19, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    Whether south Africans like it or not their tag of being chockers won't go away, unless they win atleast one major competition.They are very good in thumping minor teams but under real pressure, they have never delivered against any major side.With a soft belly against quality spin balling, they will have a tough time in the next world cup in Asia.

  • Louis Langenhoven on June 19, 2009, 11:15 GMT

    No choking you say,,,mmmm

    losing to a modest total by simply strangling yourself slowly to death for the last 10 overs of a match... no that can't be choking

    losing to a modest total with wickets to spare...can't be choking

    captain sitting in the box looking as if in a trance no direction no messages no nuttin...defnit no choking

    top batsmen going for bout nothing,,,capt even gets a life - still nothing,,,surely not choking

    you are right

  • AQ on June 19, 2009, 11:35 GMT

    Great Post !!

    Yes SAF didnt choke this time , they were beaten by more skilled and passionate team. Pakistan play extremely well and shown their full strength yesterday. Although Pakistan gave couple of good chances like not scoring 170 when at 15th over it was looking easily acheivable, they drop the catch of captain smith when they were 40/0 and more than this Pakistan didnt utilize the full quota of their ace boowler Umer Gul and gave Fawad Alam to bowl, other wise the lost woul not be by 7 runs if these mistakes were not made.

    Anywaz Good Luck for SAF for next ICC event and Welldone Pakistan by coming from nowwhere stunned the world , go ahead you guys have a real talent.

  • Naeem on June 19, 2009, 13:38 GMT

    There is no choking in T20. Pakistan was simply superb to outclass Africans. There is no doubt that South Africans were more capable but Pakistanis bridged this gap by showing more passion and more desire to win the match.

  • Saif Petrelli on June 19, 2009, 13:50 GMT

    Cricket is cricket and not science.... and Pakistan has proven it. It was surprising to see South Africa using the same tactics to subdue Pakistan, which they used against India. Most Pakistani batsmen are good at playing the hook/pull, furthermore it made the South African bowling predictable. It took the bite off their bowling, trying to block the run flow, when instead they should have been more aggressive.