Around the turn of the century, South Africa was slowly developing a reputation of ‘chokers’ in world cricket. For all the talent that they possessed, they simply could not translate this in major ICC events. And things have not changed, as South Africa once again failed in an ICC event, when they were knocked out by India in the group stage of the ICC Champions Trophy. But AB de Villiers is confident of leading South Africa to a World Cup triumph.
World Cup 1999 vs Australia, Champions Trophy 2002 vs India, World Cup 2003 vs Sri Lanka, T20 World Cup 2007 vs India and so on. These are some of South Africa’s biggest ‘chokes’ in an ICC event. For a country that has regularly been among the best teams in world cricket, their failure to win a single major ICC event has puzzled even the other cricketing nations.
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Heading into this year’s Champions Trophy, South Africa were the number one ranked team in the world. They were expected to coast into the semi finals, but a shocking loss to Pakistan derailed their campaign, as they now had to beat India in a virtual quarterfinal.
But they just did not turn up on the day, as India exuded a confidence that South Africa conspicuously lacked. In the post match press conference, AB de Villiers was in a defiant mood, as he claimed that South Africa could win the World Cup in two years time.
“Because I’m a good captain. And I can take this team forward. I can take us to win a World Cup, I believe,” de Villiers said.
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“I believed the same thing over here in this tournament and the last one here but that’s what I believe. I love doing it.” “We’ve covered all the bases. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “We’ve had camp after camp. And we’ve worked really, really hard on the nets, and we back each other, we trust each other, and for some reason, things like that just keep happening.”
“I felt the team was pretty composed today. I don’t think we lost it there with composure. A few errors of judgement, a few mistakes out there cost us badly today,” he said. “It’s not going to do with composure in my eyes. I felt pretty calm with the team all the time. We played some good shots and then just a couple of bad, errors of judgement out there cost us.”