South Africa has secured a spot in the knockout stage of the 2024 World Cup T20 Championship by winning all seven of their matches, albeit some by narrow margins. Despite their flawless record, doubts persist about the Proteas’ entry into the knockouts, as South Africa cricket has long been shadowed by the tag of ‘chokers’ since their return to international cricket in 1992. 

Here are a few instances where the Proteas failed to capitalise the conditions and failed miserably.

Unfortunate Rain Break of 1992

In the 1992 World Cup semi-final, South Africa, appearing in their first semi-final since returning to international cricket, required 22 runs from 13 balls to secure victory and reach the final. However, a rain delay intervened, and upon resumption, the Proteas were left needing an implausible 22 runs from just one ball to win. This unusual turn of events remains perplexing, marking South Africa’s defeat in their inaugural World Cup semi-final.

Run Out by Alan Donald in 1999 World Cup

Chasing a target of 214 runs for victory, South Africa’s all-rounder Lance Klusener displayed his lethal batting skills, scoring 31 runs off just 16 deliveries. His partnership with lower-order batsmen Elworthy and Allan Donald propelled South Africa into a commanding position where defeat seemed unlikely. Klusener’s consecutive boundaries off the first two balls of the final over, with South Africa needing 9 runs to win and one wicket remaining, appeared to seal their place in the final.

However, the Australians applied intense pressure, disrupting South Africa’s plans. Klusener refused a single suggested by Donald on the third delivery. Then, as Klusener tapped the fourth ball and raced for a quick single, Donald hesitated momentarily, allowing Australia to effect a run-out that tied the match. Australia advanced to the final due to a superior net run rate at the conclusion of the Super Six stage.

Bizarre Duckworth Lewis Capitalization in 2003 World Cup

In the 2003 World Cup, hosted in their home country, South Africa faced a crucial group stage match against Sri Lanka. The Proteas needed a victory to progress to the Super Eight stage. During their chase, rain disrupted play, creating confusion for Mark Boucher, who was batting at the time. In the final over, they required just a single run to surpass the DLS par score, but Boucher played out a dot ball. Subsequently, rain intensified and no further play was possible, resulting in the match ending in a tie. Once again, South Africa found themselves on the wrong side of a must-win game.

Glen McGrath show in 2007 Semi Finals

In the 2007 World Cup semi-final, Glenn McGrath dashed South Africa’s hopes early in the match with decisive early wickets within the first ten overs. This led to the Proteas being dismissed for 149 runs. Australia comfortably chased down this target, thereby extinguishing South Africa’s aspirations yet again.

Loss against the Kiwis in the 2011 World Cup

In the 2011 quarter-final against New Zealand, the Proteas seemed poised for victory at 108 for 2 while chasing a target of 222. However, Jacob Oram’s four-wicket haul disrupted their chase, resulting in a 49-run defeat. This loss led to South Africa’s exit from the tournament, once again ending their chances in the knockout stage.

Grant Elliot masterclass in the 2015 World Cup Semi finals

The latest disappointment for the Proteas unfolded in the 2015 World Cup semi-final, where crucial dropped catches by the South African fielders enabled New Zealand to successfully chase down 298 runs within 43 overs. Grant Elliott, the former New Zealand all-rounder, is most famously recalled for hitting the six that propelled New Zealand into the 2015 World Cup final.