South Africa’s list of World Cup tragedies continues

South Africa’s reputation as cricket’s perennial chokers returned to haunt them as New Zealand pulled off a dramatic 49-run win on Friday to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals.

Rain in 1992. Lara in 1996. Madness in 1999. Rain and madness in 2003. Madness and pressure today. South Africa’s list of World Cup tragedies just got longer. One has got to feel for them, they have been among the best teams in non-ICC tournaments.

The Black Caps, restricted to 221-8 after taking first strike, bundled South Africa out for 172 in an exciting finish in front of 23000 fans at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

Jacob Oram was New Zealand’s man of the match with four wickets and two catches, while off-spinner Nathan McCullum sealed the Proteas‘ fate with three for 24 from 10 overs.

Skipper Graeme Smith (28) and Jacques Kallis (47) put on 61 as South Africa moved to 108-2 by the 24th over, before the last eight wickets crashed for 64 runs.

It will be New Zealand’s sixth appearance in the semi-finals, where they await the winners of Saturday’s match between Sri Lanka and England in Colombo.

South Africa, often regarded as the best team never to have the World Cup, have now lost in three semi-finals, two quarter-finals and once in the first round.

“There are no words to describe how I feel,” said Smith, who has now played his last one-day international.

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