By -Aditya Ajitsariya
‘Never Give Up’, whenever we hear this phrase, we should strive to succeed even when we fail. But in the cricketing world, this fits in well with the South African cricket team. There have been numerous instances when the South African team have comeback from positions where they could have easily lost the match and won it. One such instance is their world record chase of 483 against Australia in Johannesburg in 2006. During that time scoring 400 in an ODI was considered to be a very big thing, leave alone chase it. Australia had batted first and scored 434-4 in their 50 overs becoming the first team to cross 400 landmark. Also,it was the 5th ODI with the series tied at 2-2. With a huge target of 435 at the disposal, any team could easily falter and term it as being impossible keeping in mind the pressure of chasing and the series being on the line. But they kept their nerves and did not give up on the idea of achieving the target. They chased in the 50th over with Mark Boucher hitting the winning runs to get to 438-9.
I would like to throw light on another match that showcases their competitive spirit and the ‘never give up’ attitude. In a test match in 2011 against Australia, Australia batted first to score 280 odd runs. In reply, South Africa were bundled out for less than a 100. Now, for a team to be all out in less than 100 in their first innings, there seems very little chance for them to win the match. In fact, any teams would believe that they cannot win the match.But South Africa came back in their 2nd innings to bowl out Australia for a meagre 47. And in doing, they were set a target of 236 to chase which they managed to do very successfully.This is another example of their winning spirit and competitive nature.
These were instances which showed their comeback attitude when they came back from losing situations and won the game. But it can also be seen at times when they lost the game. One such example is their World T20, 2016 Super 10 game against England. Actually, this game can be attributed to the England team winning the match after chasing down 230 in 20 overs in a do-or-die match for them. But in this match also, South Africa’s spirit can be seen in the last over of England’s chase. England required just one run to win from the last over with 4 wickets in hand. One could think that the match is long gone now. The winning runs might be hit off the 1st or 2nd ball of the over. But South Africa still stretched the match till the 4th ball of the over when England took the single. The Proteas effort could be seen in the efforts they were putting in to stop them from taking the single which was the only run they required to win. South Africa might be called ‘Chokers’ as they choke every time in big matches at mega events, But this cannot take away the fact that the sportsman spirit and never say die attitude they possess is very difficult to match by other teams.