Home > Features >

India vs South Africa semi-final: Faf du Plessis will look to exorcise ‘choke’ ghosts

Faf du Plessis (left) will depend a lot on strong performances from his trump cards © Getty Images
Faf du Plessis (left) will depend a lot on strong performances from his trump cards © Getty Images

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

South Africa have been a force in world cricket across formats; yet it is that crowning glory that evades them since 1998. Now, 14 years later, Faf du Plessis leads his team in another semi-final this — time in the ongoing ICC World T20 2014 — with the famous term being thrown around in the backdrop. As South Africa take on India in the second semi-final of the T20 World Cup in Dhaka, will this new captain inspire the Proteas to shed that infamous tag? By his own admission, and quite frankly, this isn’t the first time South Africa have felt they are close to glory. But du Plessis has stressed upon his troops to play with a “fresh mindset”.

So, what does this fresh mindset entail? Of course, it involves playing fearless cricket and expressing themselves in the middle. It has been often said that the game is played in the mind and there are some chains that have always held the South Africans back in those big games. We may look back at 1992 and 1999 as the genesis of that thought. But then one may also see the tide changing a touch over the course of the last one year.

Many people forget the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England. This time, the rain favoured South Africa as it pelted down at the appropriate juncture. That is another matter that they collapsed in the semi-final. However, look at their performance in the World T20 so far. They bounced back very well after the game against Sri Lanka with a thrilling victory over New Zealand. Netherlands put them under pressure, but they managed to win that. And then they finished off the Super 10s with a victory over England.

Thus, there is some confidence blending into the team. Although a few members of this team were in the side that “choked” in the 2011 World Cup quarter-final at the same ground, they do not carry the whole historical baggage. There are a few members of the side who are young and they would be the key to this fresh mindset.

Du Plessis, for once, was a part of that famous choke. In fact, he was in the centre when South Africa collapsed and was fighting a lone battle against the Black Caps. He was also involved in an ugly altercation with some of them. Now, like du Plessis, most of the South African players hone their skills in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other tournaments. That will surely help them blend in that new found confidence and belief of winning tournaments.

A lot would depend on how du Plessis handles his trumpcards. Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir are certainly two of them. Plus, there is a chance of Aaron Phangiso playing as his left-arm spin could create problems. The call would be only taken before the game and if Phangiso is picked, he could play a role in slowing the Indians down. There is a lot to look forward to from this game, and it is du Plessis who will lead the charge for the South Africans. The only thing is: the weather gods have to be kind on Dhaka today.

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

AB de Villiers praises team after win in 1st ODI

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai Day 2: Australia start positively

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy East Zone vs South Zone, 2nd semi-final at Rohtak Day 2: East Zone end day on 30/4

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone,1st semi-final at Mohali Day 2: North Zone end day on 130/2

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

Duleep Trophy 2014-15: Stuart Binny steals the show as East Zone in dire straits

Pakistan bowled out for 454 against Australia on Day 2 of 1st Test at Dubai

Sarfaraz Ahmed’s century helps Pakistan reach 454/8 agaist Australia at Tea on Day 2 of 1st Test

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Younis Khan pround to score tons against all Test playing nations

Duleep Trophy: South Zone bundle out East Zone for 84

Asad Shafiq emerges as dependable No 6 for Pakistan

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Mitchell Johnson shows signs of effectiveness on unhelpful surfaces

Joginder Sharma: When an over eclipses a career

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: Vital for Brendon McCullum to find form quickly

Younis Khan: First Pakistani and 12th overall to score a century against all 9 Test nations

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here