Home Sport Cricket The highs and lows of Proteas’ World Cup run

The highs and lows of Proteas’ World Cup run

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The Proteas’ run to the ICC T20 World Cup final ended in defeat, however, there were many memorable moments, in spite of the disappointment of losing out on the silverware once again.

South Africa’s Quinton de Kock walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the ICC men’s Twenty20 World Cup 2024 group D cricket match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in East Meadow, New York on June 3, 2024.Picture: TIMOTHY A CLARY, AFP

The Proteas’ run to the ICC T20 World Cup final ended in defeat, however, there were many memorable moments, in spite of the disappointment of losing out on the silverware once again.

Here, Ongama Gcwabe looks at those moments, both the highs and lows.

Disappointments

Not backing themselves

In their first World Cup final, the Proteas needed to play with freedom as they were the underdogs. Almost no one expected the Proteas to win the World Cup, more especially playing against the best T20 team in the world, India.

However, the Proteas held themselves back in the final as they allowed Indian quick Jasprit Bumrah to bowl at them without showing any creativity. With Bumrah clearly leading the Indian attack, singling him out for an onslaught would’ve put the Proteas in a commanding position.

Instead, South Africa found themselves losing a match they really were supposed to win given they needed a run a ball to get over the line in the last five overs of the chase.

A reckless shot

As a senior player playing in a World Cup final, Quinton de Kock allowed India back into the game after doing a good job against Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh in the first powerplay. The explosive left-handed batter absorbed the pressure up front, got into his groove and took the attack to India.

South Africa needed the 31-year-old to carry his bat as the senior player in the batting line-up.

Great moments

Winning the semi-final

So many times South Africa have self-destructed in World Cup semi-finals, despite being the favourites and the tournament’s strongest team on paper. However, this time around, despite having what many regard an average team, the Proteas won their first World Cup semi-final.

From bowling Afghanistan out for 56, to chasing down the target with nine wickets in hand, and with captain Aiden Markram leading the chase, the semi-final was a dream result for South Africa.

Drop-in pitches

South Africa arguably had the toughest route to the final. With three consecutive group matches in New York, in the tournament’s most challenging conditions, South Africa somehow found ways to win their encounters at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium.

With the surface unpredictable, keeping low and bouncing too high from awkward lengths, David Miller, De Kock and Heinrich Klaasen were able to find the right approach to beat Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and Bangladesh.

Close encounters

Who would’ve thought that South Africa would come out on top in close encounters, let alone in the World Cup? However, the Proteas were able to win seven consecutive close encounters on their way to the final.

This achievement did not only see South Africa qualify for their first final, but also saw them ditch the chokers label.

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