Not even remotely close to a choke, says Proteas’ head coach
South Africa could not cross the semi-final stage in the World Cup once again, falling to a heart-breaking three-wicket loss to Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, much like their previous four semi-final outings in the World Cup.
South Africa have long held the 'choker' tag and despite putting up a fight defending a small target of 213 runs, history repeated itself. There were dejected faces and disappointment amongst the South African players after the game while skipper Temba Bavuma was seen having a long chat with the head coach Rob Walter.
The Proteas head coach does not think the "choker" tag applies to them.this time, saying that they were always behind Australia right from the start of the game.
"I guess you need to define what choke is and for me choke is losing a game from a position to win. In this game we were behind right from the word go and we have actually fought back to get into the competition and put up a score that gave us the chance. Again they got off to a flyer and we bought ourselves back into the game. Of course we are 30-40 runs short. But still having them seven down and couple of things [didn't go our way] ball bouncing just short, little inside edges. So, for me there's nothing remotely close to a choke that happened out there today. That's a serious contest between two good teams," said Walter during the post-match press conference in Kolkata on Thursday.
The 48-year-old went on to back his team however as according to Walter the first 12 overs of the innings decided the fate of the game where South Africa were reeling at 24 for 4 after electing to bat in gloomy and overcast conditions.
"Its obviously gutting to lose a semi-final. But beyond that, incredibly proud by the fight shown by the lads. The first 12 overs of batting this afternoon was serious challenge and ultimately that's what separated the game really. We were 24 for 4 and even to make a comeback from that situation and the way Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller batted together and built up a partnership but unfortunately things were getting out of our hands as the momentum started to shift. Obviously 270 would have been a total we talked about but even 250 would have been a serious total here. On the other side their first ten overs didn't have much of a movement so yeah, the first ten overs on either side separated the game," he said.