SA seek to right ODI wrongs

2009-06-06 14:16
Graeme Smith (Gallo)

London - South Africa begin their quest to win the ICC World Twenty20 title against Scotland at the Oval on Sunday determined to shed their reputation as one-day "chokers".

The Proteas have recently enjoyed some memorable Test triumphs, winning series in both England and Australia.

But since South Africa's re-admission in 1991 they have not reached the final of a major one-day tournament.

"We have had a wonderful past 12 months, which has included winning away Test series in both England and Australia and winning home-and-away one-day international series against Australia to gain top spot in the world rankings," said South Africa captain Graeme Smith.

"One of the boxes we still want to tick is to win a major International Cricket Council Championship."

But that will require the Proteas to end their run of self-inflicted wounds. At the 1999 World Cup fast bowler Allan Donald was run out off the last ball of their semi-final against Australia, the tie taking the Aussies into the final.

And four years later, on home soil, South Africa's failure to correctly interpret the Duckworth-Lewis system saw them go out of the World Cup in the group stage during a rain-affected match against Sri Lanka.

South Africa staged the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007 but did not reach the semi-finals.

But 12 of their 15-man squad played in the recent Indian Premier League, that was moved to South Africa at short notice because of security concerns.

They beat both Pakistan and Sri Lanka convincingly in their warm-up matches and Smith said: "The confidence is good and we are excited about playing this tournament with the chance to go out and express ourselves.

"I think there is a lot more talent, flair and confidence among this team than ever before."

The Netherlands's shock win over hosts England on Friday ought to give fellow minnows Scotland hope that they too can cause an upset.

But there were few signs that such a shock was on the cards during Scotland's warm-up defeats by England and the Netherlands.

The Scots, captained by ex-England all-rounder Gavin Hamilton, opened their World Twenty20 campaign against New Zealand at the Oval on Saturday where rain reduced the match to a seven overs per side contest.


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