T20 WC: Past failures won't hurt us, assures SA coach

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 26, 2024 IST

South Africa Team

Port of Spain (Trinidad), June 26: Ever since their return to international cricket in 1991 after the apartheid-related ban, South Africa have emerged as one of the toughest sides in world cricket.

The Proteas led by Clive Rice were greeted with flowers in the City of Joy (Kolkata) in 1991 and they were cheered by thousands of Indian fans at Eden Gardens 33 years back during the first ODI. 

They began with a defeat at Eden. But within a few months, with the regular County cricket experience of their players South Africa became a formidable force.

The Proteas have won across the world and are still very strong at home. But coincidentally, they have never played a Word Cup final till date.

 They have been edged out in the World Cup semifinals on a few occasions. But this time, their head coach Rob Walter feels things would be different.

As South Africa prepares to face Afghanistan on Thursday in the 2024 T20 World Cup semifinal, Walter is steering his team away from the ghosts of past knockout failures.

Speaking ahead of the crucial semifinal, Walter said the current squad is a fresh entity, unburdened by the disappointments that have haunted Proteas men in previous ODI and T20 World Cups.

"The near misses in the past, they belong to the people who missed them. This team is a different team. We own whatever is ours to own. Our nearest reflection point is this tournament where we've managed to get over the line. So that's what we think about," Walter stated at the pre-match press conference.

South Africa's reputation for faltering in high-stakes matches is a well-documented saga, but Walter insists that his players are ready to embrace the pressure and the emotions that come with it.

"I think there's always an energy that you can feel that's tangible when it comes to a semi-final. There'll be a mixture of emotions which is with anxiety but excitement. Anyone in any sport, if they get to this phase of a competition, feels that. And so really, it's just acknowledging that and accepting it and then just understanding what you'll do with that. We still want to play our best cricket in the key moments of the game tomorrow," he said.

South Africa and Afghanistan will be hoping to reach the finals of an ICC Men’s tournament for the first time when the two sides lock horns in the first semifinal at Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, Trinidad on Thursday.

Can South Africa beat the Afghans in the T20 World Cup semifinal on Thursday? If they can, they will surely enter the final much to rejoice of millions of cricket fans. That would also prove their head coach Rob Walter right. 

But if that does not happen, then history would repeat again, much to the dismay of Walter, his team and supporters of African cricket. (With IANS support) 

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