England v SA, Champions Trophy, semi-final, The Oval June 19, 2013

A choke? Not really, just a thrashing

Gary Kirsten's time in charge of South Africa finished the way of a few men before him, and there appears no end in sight to the team's quest to banish their demons
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Let's be honest. South Africa did not choke in this semi-final, even though Gary Kirsten insisted they did. Maybe it's just easier for him to confront the word head on rather than argue the finer points of difference between being noosed and being nowhere. South Africa were the latter.

After collapsing to 80 for 8 and clawing their way to a semi-respectable total, they had to endure England's measured run chase, a lesson in how they should have batted. Jonathan Trott played a delicate, well-paced innings, soft enough to take some of the sting out of the morning's madness and to leave South Africa resigned to the inevitable.

But the real trouble started long before that. They were lucky to get to the semi-finals after winning only one group match. Once there, they were never in the match. They were outplayed and they lost.

In the minds of many that is equivalent to choking and South Africa will carry that ever-heavier tag until they win an ICC event. "The dark mist" Kirsten refers to will only burn off when a trophy arrives, and he admitted not even he knows how to secure one.

When he took over the South Africa job, that was not his primary concern. The first year of his tenure was focused on acquiring the Test mace and Kirsten could be forgiven for neglecting limited-overs cricket. What he can be questioned on is using them as laboratories for experimentation.

Sixteen players made their debut under his watch, which was a solid exercise in depth exploration, but combinations rarely stayed the same for consecutive matches. The floating batting line-up that Kirsten toyed with during his time with India could not translate to a set-up as rigid as South Africa's.

It flopped at the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka last year and Kirsten hinted he would abandon it. But in this tournament he used three different No. 3s in four matches. It was evidence that South Africa have enough players capable of fulfilling a particular position but not anyone who feels it's theirs to own.

That theme applied across the board and it took root at the top with AB de Villiers. He seemed a natural choice as captain when he was appointed but quickly proved otherwise. Indecision, uncertainty and being overburdened led to him relinquishing the wicketkeeping gloves in an attempt to concentrate on leadership and batting, and then taking them back when Kirsten decided that he would give South Africa their best chance.

If de Villiers had the likes of Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis or even Johan Botha (who has moved to South Australia) to assist, he may have been able to handle the treble role easier. For now, it seems something always has to give. In this tournament he improved in his decision-making and managing of bowlers but his batting was not up to standard.

On the whole, South Africa's wasn't. They ran India close in result terms but never looked like they could seriously challenge to win the match, and if Misbah-ul-Haq had some support, Pakistan could have chased down 234. They turned on some style against West Indies but in a rain-affected match a decent total is difficult to judge, and they collapsed against England.

Those things have all happened before with Smith and Kallis in the XI, so the batting bloopers are not personnel- or technique-related; they are all about mindset. Kirsten has gone where those before him did not even consider, to try and change the way the South Africa squad thinks.

He introduced them to a man who scales the world's tallest peaks for fun so they could understand pressure better. They climbed mountains with Mike Horn and it helped strengthen their Test performances, but cycling in Amsterdam with him did not help the one-day side learn about the same.

Put simply, South Africa's Test squad is mature and settled. They were at the stage where they could benefit from an out-of-the-box excursion. The one-day side is not. They needed clear guidelines, proper preparation and solid game plans to succeed. Even if they had all those, they may still have come up short.

Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn were another pair of absentees who Kirsten was confident would not be missed too much. In bilateral series, South Africa have played without one or both of them in certain matches and won. They are not the only two fast bowlers who are good enough but add their loss to everything else South Africa faced and the accumulation of problems is obvious.

Winning one match out of four is not good enough to advance in any tournament, and South Africa's eventual return is an accurate reflection of where they are as a one-day team at the moment. They are very much a work in progress and they will have to make those developments without Kirsten.

His last match in charge was one he will want to forget and it leaves his CV with South Africa incomplete. While he will move on to more leisurely pursuits, they will continue trying to find a way to win when it matters. His advice was that would need "guts and glory", with the task of finding those qualities now handed to Russell Domingo.

He has a few weeks before the next series, in Sri Lanka, and months before the next major event, the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, but already it is clear South Africa will need to go through a familiar cycle yet again.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nampally on June 19, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    It was a most disappointing show by SA. Falling to 80 for 8, it was Miller & a pace bowler who resurrected some respectability to SA total. But clearly, 175 total without Steyn & Morkel is not a defendable total. I did not expect Amla, de Villiers & Duminy jointly will just add just 4 runs to their total!. This is the cream of SA batting & all 3 are considered to be World class batsmen. When the main players in the side do not rise to the occasion, the whole team looks Mediocre. Without Kallis & Smith in batting & Steyn & Morne in bowling, SA should not expect an ICC trophy because it is a weak side. All Nations have strong teams & well balanced too. Pakistan & SA sent relatively weak teams to this Trophy. Their performance & result is indicative of the same.On paper WI looks a better side but weather was a "Luck" factor in SA's advancing to the semis. Had WI advanced instead of SA to the Semis, it would certainly have been a hard fought match.

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on June 25, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    D.KOCK. , ELGAR. LEVI. ROSSOW ,KYLE ABOTT. ,BIRCH. , JENNING (Son of ray JENNING ) ZYL .......those all player deserve to be called for 20/20........and 50 overs cricket.....SA board always careless to pay attention towards young talents.....that's why SA could never touch the success continuously.....that is only reason of SA'failure in cricket......so board members can make a good team and best......good luck

  • on June 23, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Frankly speaking South Africa was never at their best in this tournament. It is sorry to see players like David Miller, Morris, Mc Laren, Du Plusis, De Villiers and Dale Styen all played IPL and were in good touch. But when they arrived in England they were simple not at their best. Reason might be what ever, they were fortunate that rain has saved them against West Indies. If not WI was looking little better side than SA in this tournament. So coming to semis the plan of SA must be to play slowly initially and save wickets. After balls stop swinging then they must have attacked the other bowlers but SA top order was so in hurry that they wanted to score briskly and in that process lost too many wickets and posted a targeted which will never allow them to win the match. This team was not in the form and main players were in injured state that is why they were so weak in their performance.

  • duncanmoo on June 23, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    I agree with the article, SA did not choke, you have to be breathing normally and then something stops you from breathing for it to be called a choke. It was worse, SA were not good enough! They have the players but I have to question the captaincy, I don't know who else but AB is a noce guy, amazing skills, but he fails to impress as a strategic thinker in the field.

  • Vilander on June 22, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    SA with Amla,ABDV and Faf and Millers is not 80-8 side. They choked. I think its a good thing that Garry admitted it, he knows what we dont know. The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting it.

  • MansoorKoondhar on June 21, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Yup!! THIS TIME THEY DINT CHOKE. Coz wenever they choked they started magnificently well but ended wonderfully worst!!! This time it was the 1st impression being last. And it will b hard for them to get out of it now.

  • jmcilhinney on June 21, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    @Craig Chan on (June 20, 2013, 22:57 GMT), you say yourself that choking requires nervous agitation or tension. Just because SA were 80-8 doesn't mean that it was due to that. Unless every low score is a choke, there's no specific reason to believe that this was. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office. Maybe it wasn't too, but everyone seems to want to attach a label to every bad performance SA put in without doing the same for other teams who perform similarly.

  • Jonathan_E on June 20, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Let's also not forget that England were missing 2 key players, Pietersen and Swann. And still thumped the Saffers.

    I also think that England could and should have bowled better even with the attack they had, and been able to beat the Sri Lankans too. We lost because Bresnan and Broad both had shocking off-days - both persistently pitching too short, despite the excellent example of Anderson - and because Cook failed to see that Bopara was bowling well enough that he should have been allowed to finish his 10-over spell even if it meant cutting a few overs from Broad or Bresnan.

  • on June 20, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    choke: To fail to perform effectively because of nervous agitation or tension, especially in an athletic contest South Africa did choke. Choking does not have to be preceded by playing well to get in a strong position. A team can choke at the start of a match thus never getting into a strong position in the first place. South Africa were nowhere near their potential. England did bowl well but South Africa does have the batsmen to cope. If 80-8 is not choking, then what is?

  • ThyrSaadam on June 20, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Kallis, Smith, Steyn, and Morne, are all tough to replace, especially the latter two when you havent been planning, but that is hardly an excuse. Eventually Kallis is going to retire, so does that mean SA will always use that as an excuse to loose. Nobody cares if it was a choke, or a thrashing, what needs to be on the top of the agenda is identifying correct set of players to replace. Imagine what the Ozs are going through, India may think their problems are solved, but their bowling is really weak, but they are at least headed in the right direction. Its not so easy to find resources if they are not available in domestic circuit, but at least selection needs to be spot on with players that are available. SA's fast bowling riches are both a boon, and a curse, they really lack any form of penetration, and their bowling attack is 1-d. Every team has its own issues, but SA lack of variety in bowling has been going on for ages....

  • Nampally on June 19, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    It was a most disappointing show by SA. Falling to 80 for 8, it was Miller & a pace bowler who resurrected some respectability to SA total. But clearly, 175 total without Steyn & Morkel is not a defendable total. I did not expect Amla, de Villiers & Duminy jointly will just add just 4 runs to their total!. This is the cream of SA batting & all 3 are considered to be World class batsmen. When the main players in the side do not rise to the occasion, the whole team looks Mediocre. Without Kallis & Smith in batting & Steyn & Morne in bowling, SA should not expect an ICC trophy because it is a weak side. All Nations have strong teams & well balanced too. Pakistan & SA sent relatively weak teams to this Trophy. Their performance & result is indicative of the same.On paper WI looks a better side but weather was a "Luck" factor in SA's advancing to the semis. Had WI advanced instead of SA to the Semis, it would certainly have been a hard fought match.

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on June 25, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    D.KOCK. , ELGAR. LEVI. ROSSOW ,KYLE ABOTT. ,BIRCH. , JENNING (Son of ray JENNING ) ZYL .......those all player deserve to be called for 20/20........and 50 overs cricket.....SA board always careless to pay attention towards young talents.....that's why SA could never touch the success continuously.....that is only reason of SA'failure in cricket......so board members can make a good team and best......good luck

  • on June 23, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    Frankly speaking South Africa was never at their best in this tournament. It is sorry to see players like David Miller, Morris, Mc Laren, Du Plusis, De Villiers and Dale Styen all played IPL and were in good touch. But when they arrived in England they were simple not at their best. Reason might be what ever, they were fortunate that rain has saved them against West Indies. If not WI was looking little better side than SA in this tournament. So coming to semis the plan of SA must be to play slowly initially and save wickets. After balls stop swinging then they must have attacked the other bowlers but SA top order was so in hurry that they wanted to score briskly and in that process lost too many wickets and posted a targeted which will never allow them to win the match. This team was not in the form and main players were in injured state that is why they were so weak in their performance.

  • duncanmoo on June 23, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    I agree with the article, SA did not choke, you have to be breathing normally and then something stops you from breathing for it to be called a choke. It was worse, SA were not good enough! They have the players but I have to question the captaincy, I don't know who else but AB is a noce guy, amazing skills, but he fails to impress as a strategic thinker in the field.

  • Vilander on June 22, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    SA with Amla,ABDV and Faf and Millers is not 80-8 side. They choked. I think its a good thing that Garry admitted it, he knows what we dont know. The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting it.

  • MansoorKoondhar on June 21, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Yup!! THIS TIME THEY DINT CHOKE. Coz wenever they choked they started magnificently well but ended wonderfully worst!!! This time it was the 1st impression being last. And it will b hard for them to get out of it now.

  • jmcilhinney on June 21, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    @Craig Chan on (June 20, 2013, 22:57 GMT), you say yourself that choking requires nervous agitation or tension. Just because SA were 80-8 doesn't mean that it was due to that. Unless every low score is a choke, there's no specific reason to believe that this was. Maybe it was just a bad day at the office. Maybe it wasn't too, but everyone seems to want to attach a label to every bad performance SA put in without doing the same for other teams who perform similarly.

  • Jonathan_E on June 20, 2013, 23:24 GMT

    Let's also not forget that England were missing 2 key players, Pietersen and Swann. And still thumped the Saffers.

    I also think that England could and should have bowled better even with the attack they had, and been able to beat the Sri Lankans too. We lost because Bresnan and Broad both had shocking off-days - both persistently pitching too short, despite the excellent example of Anderson - and because Cook failed to see that Bopara was bowling well enough that he should have been allowed to finish his 10-over spell even if it meant cutting a few overs from Broad or Bresnan.

  • on June 20, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    choke: To fail to perform effectively because of nervous agitation or tension, especially in an athletic contest South Africa did choke. Choking does not have to be preceded by playing well to get in a strong position. A team can choke at the start of a match thus never getting into a strong position in the first place. South Africa were nowhere near their potential. England did bowl well but South Africa does have the batsmen to cope. If 80-8 is not choking, then what is?

  • ThyrSaadam on June 20, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Kallis, Smith, Steyn, and Morne, are all tough to replace, especially the latter two when you havent been planning, but that is hardly an excuse. Eventually Kallis is going to retire, so does that mean SA will always use that as an excuse to loose. Nobody cares if it was a choke, or a thrashing, what needs to be on the top of the agenda is identifying correct set of players to replace. Imagine what the Ozs are going through, India may think their problems are solved, but their bowling is really weak, but they are at least headed in the right direction. Its not so easy to find resources if they are not available in domestic circuit, but at least selection needs to be spot on with players that are available. SA's fast bowling riches are both a boon, and a curse, they really lack any form of penetration, and their bowling attack is 1-d. Every team has its own issues, but SA lack of variety in bowling has been going on for ages....

  • on June 20, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    Choking will not always manifest as throwing away of a strong position. Sometimes it will manifest as not getting into any position at all and in the process making the opposition look like playing inhuman level of cricket. Till such time SA win ANY knockout game at all, it's going to be hard to not ignore the mental part of their cricket.

  • on June 20, 2013, 16:50 GMT

    South Africa were not a choker in this tournament.. They were just lucky enough to be in the semis... Windies were the deserving one..

  • Inducker on June 20, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    What bunkum. No top SA batsman scores in knockouts . Yes Ingram is inconsistent , not an opener. Amla was unlucky. Du Plessis is out of the honeymoon period and has yet to consolidate on his previous form. But Duminy and de Villiers? Come on - who are you trying to kid? The fact that an inexperienced player like Miller and an all rounder like Kleinveldt were able to dig in for a further 90 runs and Petersen was able to chip in when the chips were down shows them up. de Villiers is like jack in the box when he comes in. Look at the run outs he gets involved in - one with Duminy. Did he think I'll play normal cricket and try and cash in on the 5th bowler(s) later. I don't think he thought at all. Just sheer panic - and from your captain too. If de Villiers and Duminy had contributed just 75 more the total would have been about 250, an average score in this tournament and the bowlers could have competed.

  • on June 20, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    Let's be honest here, South Africa choked again, like they do in all ICC events. No reason to deny it. Seeing as SA were progressing they should of easily scored s better total. But nevertheless, I can sympathise with SA as their other big guns weren't playing. King Kallis, Dale Steyn, Graeme Smith too. SA need to look past this and come hard in the next ICC event. Outside of ICC events SA are a top class team. #1 in tests and pretty darn good in ODIs and T20s too. Wish them the best.

  • Simoc on June 20, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    I agree with the writer. There was no choke about it. They got flogged. 80/8 is a collective down tools outing of Oz like proportions. 175 was a great score from there. On the bright side Millar performed again in a lone hand from a batsman.

  • Wealwayslosethecricket on June 20, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    I'd just like to say that if Kallis and Smith had been playing, one or both of them would have been capable enough to tap into their vast reserves of experience and build a potentially match-winning partnership. Also, had Morkel and Steyn been fit for this match, even the 175 that the Proteas made would have been defendable. This is an incredibly unfortunate run of recent events for RSA, but I suppose what it comes down to is being better on the day, and England were the better side. Then again, what team can be expected to win when you're missing arguably your four best players? In that sense, it was a brave performance.

  • BellCurve on June 20, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    The team was weakened by poor selection (De Kock and Levi should have played) and injury (Morkel, Steyn, Kallis and Smith). In addition, the best two batsmen in the team (De Villeirs and Amla) failed on the day. SA does not have sufficient depth to absorb such set backs. As a result the team was totally outclassed and didn't have an opportunity to choke. But I am sure they would have choked if they played better. So maybe, for Protea fans, the outcome is the easiest to stomach.

  • Lloydster on June 20, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    South Africa were a competitive side in the ODI's but have struggled in the last few years due to CSA admin blunders, coaching errors and player expectations. This current side is nowhere near the level required to beat the best (consistently) not these one off win's. The choking tag is constantly in the older players mindset but the younger players were never caught up in the turmoil. AB is definitely struggling with the captaincy and the 3 roles. He relied on having Smith or Kallis to help him through this transition but that didnt happen. SA were horribly thumped by a more professional England who have the balance right . End of.

  • MrPud on June 20, 2013, 11:20 GMT

    Has everyone forgotten that England played very well? So well that the Saffers were not allowed to play well. Sure Kallis and Steyn may have made a difference but give England some credit. From a very nervous Aussie.

  • cloudmess on June 20, 2013, 11:19 GMT

    I'm an England supporter and I don't know everything about the inner-workings of SA cricket, but I honestly don't think they choked here. They were missing 5 key players, and had put out a virtual A team. Also on damp, muggy days in England, it is often a great disadvantage to bat first. I think the real chokers here are the media writers, unable to improve on a familiar, cliched script and offer anything more insightful than a few c-words.

  • on June 20, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    The biggest loss to SA cricket was Johan Botha - CSA ought to bring hom back into the fold. He would have been a great ODI captain - his track record shows this.

  • on June 20, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Truly a thrashing of note - I cant remember one quite so bad. Colin Ingram was in another universe and the top and middle order just fell after he was reconnected in 2 balls by a much smarter Anderson. This was our cricket team playing like our football team - under-expressed talent. What does Gary Kirsten avoid that gets us thrashed?

  • zarasochozarasamjho on June 20, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    SA is easily the best cricket team in the world. They can hardly be challenged at test level. Winning limited-overs cricket matches is their next goal. They should not though forget that this is not done at the expense of test cricket, the real cricket. Having said this, they are very capable of winning limited-overs tournaments too. The loss of 2 strike bowlers did not help but their loss in the last game was diabolical. As a Pakistan supporter, I wish them well.

  • ab_cricket on June 20, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    SA need a better captain. AB is an exceptional player but i doubt his captaincy credent

  • on June 20, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    what happened to merchant de lange.

  • natster on June 20, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    I guess not all teams have the talent and mental toughness of the Indian Team to transition so easily from a loss of a whole bunch of experienced players some to retirement and others to loss of form.

  • Naresh28 on June 20, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    SA should not worry - this happens to all teams even Australia have had it. It's not that you choked. There were several factors:- injuries, withdrawals,a transition, the TOSS,home advantage etc. It even happened to India when they last toured England for a test. There is no doubt that Anderson and Steyn are the two best bowlers in world today. Sometimes you win some and lose some. The day did not belong to you guys. No doubt ENgland are on the top of their game.Their batting and particularly their bowling is fantastic.CHOKING is more referred to in the last moments of the game.

  • on June 20, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    Jalal - Do you know anything about cricket?! Ingram has scored a 50 in this tournament, and averages nearly 37 with the bat. He's not a bad cricketer and has earned this spell in the side. Du Plessis is class, and has hauled SA out of trouble on more than one occasion. Duminy averages 41 (yes 41!!!) in ODIs and you want to drop him?! Behardien has only played 8 ODIs, hardly a fair chance. Botha has retired from internationals, and Imran Tahir has failed so massively in international cricket that he will never come back. As for Kleinveldt and Tsotsobe, Rory scored all the runs yesterday, didn't you notice?! And they're only in because Steyn, Morkel and Kallis aren't fit. Think about the circumstances and context before you make a comment like that. SA did what they could with the resources they had considering their 2 main bowlers and 2 of their main batsmen were injured.

  • uglyhunK on June 20, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    SA choked even before the match started and it reflected in their batting. So, it's surely choking but of a different kind.

  • GRVJPR on June 20, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    South africa doesn't accept their weaknesses and that's why they struggle. They seem to like the word 'fight'. SO many times I heard south african will 'fight' till end. But my friends if you always need to fight, game after game in big tournaments, there is something wrong. It simply means you are finding too hard to compete. It looks as if south africa enjoys collapses like 80-8 and then putting some runs for 9th wicket and then they can again say 'we south africans fight', LOL!

  • CricketingStargazer on June 20, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    Three cheers for a little perspective on the issue! It has become a regular taunt to accuse South Africa of choking. Whatever happened, South Africa did not choke. They have had a weak tournament and played a poor match. End of story. Plenty has been made of the poor conditions and how South Africa had the worst of them, forgetting that three of the wickets fell to an honest county spinner and a fourth to a run out (provoked by same spinner).

    South Africa entered this tournament without any great expectations of success, missing a number of key players. Had they been favourites to win and inexplicably failed to do so when in a strong position you could legitimately use the c-word, but not here.

  • on June 20, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    In this tournament I am happy we at least got through one tough situation in the West Indies game and qualified for the semi-finals. We must build on that. Some will say it was luck, but then again so is losing in all the tight finals in recent history.

  • Dave1957 on June 20, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Dodgy team selection, bad planning and worse execution caused SA's downfall. The ODI side has been struggling since AB took over as captain. It looks as if the side has been in limbo while he is learning his trade as captain, and it seems as if the whole side is going through the learning process with him. It can't be good for team morale and it must lead to uncertainty! To make matters worse the selectors have been experimenting wildly with the ODI team for a number of years, instead of selecting a core team and making sure that everybody knows his role (as in the Test team.) The loss of Smith, Kallis, Steyn and Morkel sealed the team's fate. To reach the semifinal was already a feat; winning it against a much more settled English team in their own conditions (after losing the toss!) was a pipe dream. The selectors should build a settled side with experienced players in each position and backup players for every role. There is more than enough time before the 2015 World Cup.

  • syedharisshah on June 20, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    south africa team should be Amla, Smith, Kallis, Develliear, Duminy, Du Plesi, Miller, Peterson, Meclaren/Morris/phillander, Steyn, Morkal, this is the stongest combination who can win a tournament. thier test team is perfect, not lost any series from past 4 years

  • QingdaoXI on June 20, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    South African One day Team for atleast next 2 years i,e till 2015 WC should be 1. Smith 2. Du Plessis 3. Amla 4. Kallis 5. Devillers 6. Duminy 7. Miller 8.Petersen 9. Morris 10. Steyn 11.M.Morkel 12. A.Morkel 13. Kock 14. Tsotsobe 15. Philander.

  • jmcilhinney on June 20, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Far to many people have limited imagination and enjoy the emotional suffering of others far too much. If this was any other team, noone would be calling it a choke but, because it's SA and the term has been used before, people regurgitate it. In order to have choked, you have to have been in a position to win and then post due to your own ineptitude under pressure. SA were already missing Kallis and Smith and then they lost Morkel and finally Steyn for this game too. Any team that lost that sort of firepower would be hard-pressed to be considered favourites for anything. They weren't considered the strongest team going into this tournament and not going into this game by most either. They batted poorly, plain and simple. It happens. It happened.

  • sidganesh on June 20, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    Is it perhaps time for AB to stop keeping wickets? Few players have managed all three - captaincy, wk and batting - over a sustained period. I think SA need AB the batsman more than AB the 'keeper. More so, since there seems to be no other captaincy alternative to him. (Amla, maybe?)

  • 012thman on June 20, 2013, 4:11 GMT

    It's nothing like choking, it's all round poor quality cricket, First batting from top order & then bowling, I mean u are playing in semi's not giving practice to the batsman, to bowl most of the deliveries outside of the off-stump on the driving length....#Tsotsobe

  • on June 20, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Remove players like Ingram,Du plessis,Dumini,Behardin,what did du plessis? his average was still behind 30 in ODI and he has still not a maiden century in ODI.what is doing ingram,flop again and again,Guys you see score of Dumini in Champ trophy.He dnt even make 50 run in 4 match,NOW go their bowling department, There is no such talented ODI baller in squad,There is ordinary baller like tsotsobe,kleinvelt, even they have nor a quality spinner like Johan botha nor imran tahir

  • legfinedeep on June 20, 2013, 3:28 GMT

    I disagree when you say the outcome would have been the same no matter what the personnel. If they had the stablizing influences of a Kallis and Smith to a degree, it would have mattered. And Steyn/Morkel don't matter? I definitely think things might have been different if they had this big four. But no excuses, because teams play without some of their top players at times - it does not excuse such a major thrashing. And as much as I was one of those people who hated the "choker" word - I have to admit they choked here. Once they were 4/2, I turned off the live-feed and went to sleep, I knew there was no way in the world they would have it in them to come back from being rocked so early on in a knockout match.

  • thephill on June 20, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    Choking is making poor decisions under pressure. A semi final of a global even carries significant pressure, and the decisions SA made with their batting order, and batting approach were poor ones. A make shift opener when Alviro Peterson was available and a pinch hitter at No.3 (even tho he made a few runs) were poor choices considering the conditions and opposition they were faced with.

  • on June 20, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    Come one... it's one of those days..! every Team has struggled, why tagging only SA, England has always struggled in Big events... (except for the T20 WC) NZ has always struggled in Big events, SL has always lost in Finals (except for the 96 WC) why tagging only SA a choker, if they really choked they should not have been in the Semi's in the first place, people win some lose some, SA has reached the Top rankings of ODI and Test, if there were chokers, how could that be possible, it's just one of those days things went wrong, it happens to every team, SA can still thrash any team, they have quality players. It's just a matter of time SA bounces back again! A Sri Lankan Cricket Fan

  • on June 20, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    FAF should open for south africa in ODI's... He has shown wat he can do as a opener for CSK

  • truthfinder on June 20, 2013, 1:07 GMT

    The main reason for the downfall of South Africa is they always try to be over smart. Biggest example is A.B Devilliers who, despite being one of the best batsmen in the world opted to be a stupid wicket keeper and on an average deteriorated his batting significantly. He had to realize he is not there in the team to secure his place and contribute, he must be a match winner has to produce performances like Ricky Pointing in a short while not like percentage performer as Tendulkar or Kallis. He may not survive longer but would have helped SA greatly. David miller must come at #5. SA should not do the same mistake as they did with Klusner by sending him at #7/#8. Otherwise they won't have lost 1999 WC semis.

  • Sinhaya on June 20, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    I really do feel for the South Africans. I want to give full credit to them for their excellent performance in tests. However, their variable record in the ODIs and T20s is simply because their superb test bowlers go for runs in the shorter formats, which is typical due to the red and white ball difference. Other issue is also that SA unlike Australia lacks bowling depth when Steyn and Morkel are absent. Aussies have 8 or 10 specialist bowlers meaning injuries will have no impact. Nevertheless what this proves is the gigantic difference between tests, ODIs and T20s.

  • Trickstar on June 19, 2013, 23:54 GMT

    @gtr800 Lol No just no, lets be right about it the only players who'd definitely get into this England side from SA are AB and Amla. Not a chance in a million years is that team that took the field today as good as England or in anyway look a better side. The difference in quality of bowling attacks is vast and it showed today and it also showed again that once you get you're 2 best players out, there isn't much there after.

  • Happy_hamster on June 19, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    It's funny how no one rates any England player bar Anderson, Finn is rated 2nd in ODI's (Anderson 5) and Trott 5, Cook 8. No one has more than 2 batsmen or bowlers in the top 10 so England surely are up there and have been rated either No.1 or 2 (briefly 3) for the last couple of years- sometimes credit where credit is due.

  • 512fm on June 19, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    @ THE_MIZ that was not a choke at all, a choke is when you have the game on the line or you are ahead in the game and you lose. South Africa were not even favourites and were lucky to make it to the SF. You can't choke when you're 80 for 8 in the first innings.

  • gibbs.175 on June 19, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    Gary 'word made everyone emotional .....he never expected so horrible show from batsmen....lazy shots ,poor leadership, slow ,helpless middle order...bowlers did nt have much to defend without Dale( DALE deceived SA paying to much attention to IPL) Morris is good to cover Morkel

  • landl47 on June 19, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    I'm not as critical of South Africa as their coach is; they are a team of stars and 4 of them were missing. Most sides without 4 of their best 6 players would be in trouble against the better sides and SA is no exception. It might be fair to say that ABD choked- that was a horrid shot that got him out. Amla got a very good ball that had him in two minds and the rest were undone by bowling that was good enough for less talented players. I don't know what universe gtr800 is living in, but to say that SA were superior to England apart from Anderson is total nonsense.

    The problem for SA is that Kallis' career is almost over and Smith is likely almost done as an ODI player. No-one has yet looked like replacing them adequately. Steyn and Morkel are excellent bowlers, but the supporting bowlers aren't more than ordinary. Maybe Miller can be a good middle-order bat, but opponents have noticed that Duminy is clueless against spin. He was out twice for 3!

    SA needs new blood- and fast.

  • on June 19, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Gtr800 - you are a typical SA fan who thinks that just because your side was dominated, that it was a choke. Without Amla and Steyn, SA look weak. ENG are definitely stronger on paper with all 4 of their bowlers proving how good ENG's bowling attack is. Trott on the other hand, just continues pile on the runs, and while the bowling he faced against SA was pretty mediocre, he played so well. Get a grip on reality, mate. SA didn't choke, they were outplayed and got beaten to a pulp, simple.

  • dinosaurus on June 19, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    Well, now it looks like Group A was a little stronger than many of the pundits here were prepared to admit. On that showing, any of the teams in Group A could have made the final.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 19, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    Only team that I see almost settled from team players point of view, is England. Then probably SL (They might face problems after big 3 retired). Then India, although there were changes but new players are strong as old guys. Then WI but not playing well as a team. Then NZ new players are also good. Then Pak but still unpredictable. Then SA something wrong I cannot explain. Then I know, you know they know who know, ....Baggy Green, they have all the problems whatever you mention.

  • on June 19, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    This south africa team is the most weakest South African team ever. They only have 3 top quality players (amla, steyn and AB) in my opinion. You can see how they are struggling without KALLIS. Don't know what will happen to them in tests when Kallis retires....

  • gtr800 on June 19, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    I disagree with the article's title and probably its content. Despite SA missing the likes of Kallis, Steyn, Morkel & Smith they still looked the better side- apart from maybe james anderson. But one bowler who got 2 unplayable wickets doesn't instantly signal a collapse. SA played badly and choked - it was definitely not an 80-8 wicket and apart from anderson all the england bowlers were non-threatening. I think as Kirsten rightly said they definitely choked.

  • THE_MIZ on June 19, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    I beg to disagree...That WAS A CHOKE! When you are reduced to 80-8 and contain two of the best batsmen in the world (Amla, De Villiers) plus faf, duminy and miller, then it means that the team can't take pressure. Won't take anything from England, Outstanding bowling. However, can we really say that we didn't see it coming? Its gone past embarrassing to almost laughable....Same Old, Same Old...

  • THE_MIZ on June 19, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    I beg to disagree...That WAS A CHOKE! When you are reduced to 80-8 and contain two of the best batsmen in the world (Amla, De Villiers) plus faf, duminy and miller, then it means that the team can't take pressure. Won't take anything from England, Outstanding bowling. However, can we really say that we didn't see it coming? Its gone past embarrassing to almost laughable....Same Old, Same Old...

  • gtr800 on June 19, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    I disagree with the article's title and probably its content. Despite SA missing the likes of Kallis, Steyn, Morkel & Smith they still looked the better side- apart from maybe james anderson. But one bowler who got 2 unplayable wickets doesn't instantly signal a collapse. SA played badly and choked - it was definitely not an 80-8 wicket and apart from anderson all the england bowlers were non-threatening. I think as Kirsten rightly said they definitely choked.

  • on June 19, 2013, 20:09 GMT

    This south africa team is the most weakest South African team ever. They only have 3 top quality players (amla, steyn and AB) in my opinion. You can see how they are struggling without KALLIS. Don't know what will happen to them in tests when Kallis retires....

  • LALITHKURUWITA on June 19, 2013, 20:31 GMT

    Only team that I see almost settled from team players point of view, is England. Then probably SL (They might face problems after big 3 retired). Then India, although there were changes but new players are strong as old guys. Then WI but not playing well as a team. Then NZ new players are also good. Then Pak but still unpredictable. Then SA something wrong I cannot explain. Then I know, you know they know who know, ....Baggy Green, they have all the problems whatever you mention.

  • dinosaurus on June 19, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    Well, now it looks like Group A was a little stronger than many of the pundits here were prepared to admit. On that showing, any of the teams in Group A could have made the final.

  • on June 19, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Gtr800 - you are a typical SA fan who thinks that just because your side was dominated, that it was a choke. Without Amla and Steyn, SA look weak. ENG are definitely stronger on paper with all 4 of their bowlers proving how good ENG's bowling attack is. Trott on the other hand, just continues pile on the runs, and while the bowling he faced against SA was pretty mediocre, he played so well. Get a grip on reality, mate. SA didn't choke, they were outplayed and got beaten to a pulp, simple.

  • landl47 on June 19, 2013, 21:43 GMT

    I'm not as critical of South Africa as their coach is; they are a team of stars and 4 of them were missing. Most sides without 4 of their best 6 players would be in trouble against the better sides and SA is no exception. It might be fair to say that ABD choked- that was a horrid shot that got him out. Amla got a very good ball that had him in two minds and the rest were undone by bowling that was good enough for less talented players. I don't know what universe gtr800 is living in, but to say that SA were superior to England apart from Anderson is total nonsense.

    The problem for SA is that Kallis' career is almost over and Smith is likely almost done as an ODI player. No-one has yet looked like replacing them adequately. Steyn and Morkel are excellent bowlers, but the supporting bowlers aren't more than ordinary. Maybe Miller can be a good middle-order bat, but opponents have noticed that Duminy is clueless against spin. He was out twice for 3!

    SA needs new blood- and fast.

  • gibbs.175 on June 19, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    Gary 'word made everyone emotional .....he never expected so horrible show from batsmen....lazy shots ,poor leadership, slow ,helpless middle order...bowlers did nt have much to defend without Dale( DALE deceived SA paying to much attention to IPL) Morris is good to cover Morkel

  • 512fm on June 19, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    @ THE_MIZ that was not a choke at all, a choke is when you have the game on the line or you are ahead in the game and you lose. South Africa were not even favourites and were lucky to make it to the SF. You can't choke when you're 80 for 8 in the first innings.

  • Happy_hamster on June 19, 2013, 23:18 GMT

    It's funny how no one rates any England player bar Anderson, Finn is rated 2nd in ODI's (Anderson 5) and Trott 5, Cook 8. No one has more than 2 batsmen or bowlers in the top 10 so England surely are up there and have been rated either No.1 or 2 (briefly 3) for the last couple of years- sometimes credit where credit is due.