South Africa just can’t seem to catch a break. Or maybe they just had a reputation to maintain. In the do-or-die match against India on Sunday, June 11, 2017, the Proteas did what they do best. Choke!

And unfortunately for South Africa, the tag originates from them losing almost every major ICC event held. They did win one though, the inaugural Champions Trophy, then called ICC Knockout Trophy, back in 1998. South Africa beat England, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

In the 1999 World Cup semi-finals, Herschelle Gibbs drops a simple catch off Steve Waugh. Steve Waugh later told Gibbs that he just dropped the World Cup. And that’s where the proverbial ‘perennial chokers’ tag stuck.

It was the semi-finals of the World Cup 1992. South Africa needed 22 of 13 balls. But their dreams were, quite literally, washed away by the rains. The D/L method changed South Africa’s target to 22 from just one ball. You may say that it isn’t their fault. But that’s where it all started.

South Africa also has a reputation of falling like a house of cards after scoring well initially. This was evidenced in the 1996 World Cup quarter-final against West Indies and 2011 World Cup quarter-final against New Zealand.

Most probably, the fact that the Sunday’s match was a do-or-die one made their knees shake.

In the first 15 overs, the opening pair of Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla scored only 62. Playing Ravichandran Ashwin proved well for India after he took out Hashim Amla in the 18th over, probably ending his misery after struggling to score. 

After AB de Villiers and Miller had been run out in what has become the error of the century, South Africa went to falling as a collective effort again, losing eight wickets for 51 runs. 

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar were at their miserly best. Spinners R Ashwin and Ravinder Jadeja took wickets her and there. Overall, the Indian bowlers had restricted a world-class team to just 191 runs. 

Now people fear the Indian opening. Not the opponents, but Indians themselves because of the sluggish pace of the openers. But that was not the case on Sunday. Although Rohit Sharma was out early on, Shikhar Dhawan played a brilliant knock, scoring 78 of 83 balls. Virat too played a captain’s knock scoring 76 with help from Yuvraj Singh. They scored 193 from 38 overs and eight wickets to spare. 

What could go wrong with a side that is as strong as South Africa? It is temperament. The run-outs of de Villiers and Miller show their lack of co-ordination. The fielders did not go after the ball with zeal and let India snatch runs. South Africa also seems to lack a plan to play under pressure. South Africa needs to come up with a plan and figure out why it doesn’t perform well in the main tournaments if they need to win anything big in the near future.