Pressure not a problem - Smith

2011-03-06 19:03

Chennai - South Africa captain Graeme Smith hit back at claims his side had 'choked' again at the Cricket World Cup after a dramatic six-run loss to England on Sunday.

Defeat ended the Proteas' unbeaten start to the tournament and raised fresh questions about their nerve in tight games.

Needing just 172 to win, they were cruising at 63 without loss.

But they then lost three wickets for 19 runs and three more in the middle of their innings for no runs with the score on 124.

"That's not predictable at all, is it?" said a sarcastic Smith, when questioned about South Africa's composure.

"Pressure? We've handled ourselves in some tough situations over the last few years, I don't think pressure is our weakness."

Smith has always insisted that his team's fighting credentials were proved beyond doubt in 2008/09 when he led South Africa to their first Test series win in Australia.

Sunday's defeat, completed when Stuart Broad bowled Morne Morkel with 14 balls to spare, revived memories of South Africa's two 1999 World Cup matches against Australia.

They lost a group game from a strong position and were then knocked out by the eventual champions on run-rate after a semi-final tie where victory was within their grasp.

South Africa exited the 2003 tournament after failing to understand the Duckworth/Lewis system in a match with Sri Lanka they needed to win, and were thrashed by Australia in a lopsided semi-final four years ago in the Caribbean.

The Proteas, like England, have never won the World Cup and Smith said: "It's obviously disappointing not to get over the line. We've got to learn from today, and pick ourselves up to play India."

Unusually for a one-day international, the pitch at the Chidambaram Stadium gave the bowlers and plenty of assistance.

"There was a lot on offer for bowlers today, reverse-swing and inconsistent bounce," Smith said.

"There are a lot of batters' days in one-day cricket; I suppose this was a bowlers' day. It wasn't easy to bat on.

"I thought Faf (du Plessis) and AB (de Villiers) hung in there really well. "If they could have hung in a few more overs it would have been terrific - I think we'd have got home," added Smith, who said he didn't wish to be drawn on his dismissal, the first South African wicket to go down.

Smith only exited after a review, requested by England after he was originally given not out caught behind off spinner Graeme Swann.

It took several minutes to overturn Indian umpire Amish Saheba's original decision.

The South Africa captain paid tribute to Broad (four wickets for 15 runs) and James Anderson for their command of reverse swing.

"I don't think there are many batters in the world who have really mastered the art of playing reverse swing when it's going both ways.

"Credit to them for the skill they showed. They were able to create a lot of pressure on the guys.

"I thought 170 was a good total for us to chase. But unfortunately we weren't good enough today."


  • - 2011-03-06 19:14

    Pressure not a problem? Then why do you only lose the close games.

      john - 2011-03-06 19:37

      The semi-final against Aus four years ago was hardly close... I don't think this is a choker side. They won a series in Aus, one of very few teams to accomplish that. They also set the world's highest successful chase total in that mammoth epic at the Wanderers v Aus. Nothing chokey about that. It's just that they, like NZ in rugby, haven't had the luck in World Cups. No team will ever go undefeated all the time. When a label like choker is applied, it'll get applied every time they lose, whether major or minor match, close game or blowout. And this team will lose occasionally. So yeah, they'll be chokers forever. Just like the Irish will be drinkers forever, the Italians will eat pasta forever, the English will drink warm beer forever, and so on. It's a stereotype now. The label is too deeply entrenched in the SA psyche to get rid of it now, so rather live with it and laugh about it. There are worse things to be called than a choker. They should just think of it as part of the national character and it wouldn't bother them anymore. The Brits are hardly bothered by being known as warm beer drinkers.

      Judgmental - 2011-03-06 20:42

      Nah na nanah, Nah na nanah, hey hey hey... Smith's a W@NKER

      Erik - 2011-03-07 07:52

      @ John: Dear John, nobody is questioning SA's ability to chase big scores, which, as you've rightly pointed out, they've done on many an occasion. They wins everything in sight, EXCEPT the CWC. THAT's the difference. To Graham: Yeah, pressure's not the problem, it much rather seems the Proteas view to the CWC is the problem. Not keeping an innings together once the top order failed (again), aye, therein lies the rub.

      MaLemmer - 2011-03-07 07:56

      This was a pub team they were playing, and they couldn't even win!

      The Patriot - 2011-03-08 12:19

      No matter that SA is in the top 3 in one day or test cricket, its eating the cake that is victory. Smith is out of form, struggling in every game so far, The indomitable Callis, is out of form, the pillar they heavily rely on, Duminy has not had his best run. That leaves a CWC up to the middle and lower order. Its not history that will judge you smithy, but you inability to bring home a trophy, and your arrogance will be remembered as your legacy. Now go back to the nets and do some work. You have a trophy to bring home.

  • Macho Mike - 2011-03-06 19:34

    Queen and David Bowie has a song which the SA team can all sing along to. It's called "Under Pressure" One wicket does not make a team loose, given the position SA were in at the time Baby Smith. You boys choked, like you always do in the pressure cooker Graeme. SA were 63-0, only needing another 109 with TEN wickets standing. And they still loose?????????????? Time to go are the one "Under Pressure"

      Zenwie - 2011-03-06 19:59

      Agree with you Mike, too many soft dismissals = CHOKING!!!

      john - 2011-03-06 20:09

      We've always choked, it's out national trait. Hansie's teams choked all the time, as did Kepler's. What makes you think replacing Smith is going to solve the problem?

      Mike - 2011-03-07 12:00

      @John - I still say we lost the game after 3 overs when Petersen had the poms realing for 3 wickets and only conceding 4 runs. BUT what does Biff do - he takes the killer off and brings on the likes of Plank. Why was Tahir not introduced instead. Why was Petesen not brought back to kill the scourge off?

  • Nice Guy - 2011-03-06 19:45

    Of course the pressure is not a problem. South Africa just has a kak cricket team. THATS THE PROBLEM

      john - 2011-03-06 19:58

      If a perfect 100% win record is the minimum that you demand from the Proteas, then we'll always have a kak team regardless of who is picked or who is captain. So best get used to it. No teams win every match. Even ManU lose occasionally.

      Atoombom - 2011-03-06 20:29

      @john - Nice Guy is 100% right. No team will win 100% of the games - the chockers win nothing. India had half a team in SA and we barely beat them on OUR fields. Now we play on a neutral field and we can't make 172 against a below par ENGLISH TEAM. They ARE the CHOCKERS.

  • trindian786 - 2011-03-06 19:46

    where r u mr.haw-haw lol hiding somewhere ???????????? lol hhahahahah

  • ASDEB - 2011-03-06 19:48

    Aaaak, cough, can't...breathe aaaaaaak, aaaa a a k !

      ASDEB - 2011-03-06 19:50

      OK that didnt come out the way it should have!

  • Wildebeest - 2011-03-06 19:56

    Where is albie morkel when u need him

  • Gustav van Rooyen - 2011-03-06 20:12


  • Gustav van Rooyen - 2011-03-06 20:13


  • GhengisKhan - 2011-03-06 20:15

    Smith - You are the weakest link and the biggest poepol - Please leave

  • Superdude - 2011-03-06 20:16

    I cannot endear myself to this south african team as long as smith is in charge. Win or lose, I am rarely bothered these days. I merely note the performance of individual players including Amla and Steyn and Miller and Albie Morkel when they get their chance.

  • OLIBO - 2011-03-06 20:29

    SA will never win the cricket world cup. You know why? Because they are chokers ... finish and klaar.

  • BugsyJamesy - 2011-03-06 20:29

    They Choked

  • Leviathan - 2011-03-06 20:30

    can cope wit pressure.WAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH! jst stop making excuses. U choked and admit u cant deal wit the pressure

  • Perfume - 2011-03-06 20:36

    I start choking the minute I say "6 bloody runs"

  • Judgmental - 2011-03-06 20:48

    Nah na nanah, Nah na nanah, hey hey hey... Smith's a W@NKER When Smith had England 15/3 what does he do? he changes the bowlers, what a w@nker, Petersen was doing a superb job and had England on the ropes so he decides to bring on Jakalas who went for 9 in his first over Ferking W@ankers

      stevemeister2011 - 2011-03-06 21:03

      It is not the first time he's done something like that. Maybe he thinks we're beating them too easily and is trying to artificially create a reasonable score for the opposition so that the game is more of a spectacle.

  • - 2011-03-06 20:52

    Go Guy's. It's cricket and someone has to lose a game.

  • myblackwatchdog - 2011-03-06 21:14

    Send the captain home !!!! Dont blame the middle/lower order or the tail. He should never have allowed England to get "out of the dog box" when the Petersen trick worked. They could have been bundled out for under 150 if the captain had the balls to persist with Petersen and/or bring on Tahir earlier. That 99 run 4th wicket partneship is where it was lost. The captain was chopping and changing aimlessly...

  • Nick van der Leek - 2011-03-06 21:20

    maybe it's good this happened ahead of the India game. Hopefully they'll psyche themselves up for a win over a tough side, arguably the toughest.

  • Slive - 2011-03-06 21:32


  • Rooikat - 2011-03-06 21:49

    Now they won't start thinking they are invincible.

  • Thomas - 2011-03-07 05:45

    England had the pressure, we didn't and still when the going got tough we CHOKED OUT!!! It would have taken one cool head to hold the middle to lower order together (no names mentioned) and we should have cruised home!!! This wasn't a pressure game but Duminy, Peterson, Fafa and Van Wyk look completly out of depth in this league!!! We knew how many runs we needed, my worry is when we have to build a total these guys can't hit the ball off the square!!

  • Thomas - 2011-03-07 06:20

    Smith wouldn't see a problem even if it came and kicked him up the butt!!! I see a problem with Duminy and Peterson who when it comes to the big boys are totaly out of their depth (batting) and with the new boys we are not going to see us home if we are in trouble!!!!! Another problem is AB, as well as he is playing he tends to have too many "Brain Farts" it may come and haunt us in a crucial game!

  • pagel - 2011-03-07 07:19

    You win some, you loose some. What is this thing about not loosing in the group stages? 1999 - lost to Zimbabwe in the group stages. 2003 - did not even get past group stages. 2007 - lost to Australia in the group stages. We will loose in the semis this time around ......

      Mike - 2011-03-07 11:53

      You should tie your loose ends if you do not want to lose!

  • MaLemmer - 2011-03-07 07:55

    Eish, Smith, you THINK?? Maybe you should KNOW!

  • MactheKnife - 2011-03-07 08:10

    I did say watch this space... Chokers, 124/3 and 50 odd to win and they choke to death after Petersen has given them a dream start. To me Smith has laid back and did not apply enough pressure to Bopara and Trott.

      Mike - 2011-03-07 11:52

      How can the jerk take Petersen off after he bowled three overs and had the poms realing with 3 wicket for 4 runs? He should of brought Tahir on from the other end - not Steyn! For crying out aloud - I watched the first hour and ten minutes and then for the next 45 minutes I had to listen to Radio 2000 and the commentators were pulling their hair out and they could not understand Biff's thinking either - he is a jerk!!! And a choker.

  • Jacques Pienaar - 2011-03-07 08:25

    I can't understand that he always comes out saying that they aren't chokers, but yet he doesn't prove the people wrong. The trophy cabinet remains bare!

  • Kdub - 2011-03-07 10:01

    Did you guys actually watch the game? Did you see the pitch crumbling when SA was batting? Did you see the inconsistent pace and bounce of the pitch? Did you see the ball turning sideways? We did well to get close in the end. Good performance by England making use of the conditions in their favour. Unlucky Proteas! Good luck on Saturday against India - I'll be supporting you, unlike this bunch of fairweather supporters.

      ai - 2011-03-07 10:41

      At last. Somebody who really knows his cricket!

      brigadier - 2011-03-07 13:26

      I agree! All these people jumping on the 'choke' wagon just have nothiong else to say. Losing a close game to a good side on a dificult pitch hardly amounts to a choke. We were unlucky and ill be backing the proteas all the way to the final.

  • rockurassoff - 2011-03-07 10:34

    @ Kdub - Agreed!

  • Mike - 2011-03-07 11:47

    I for one cannot underatand that when you have the opposition realig after three overs you remove the person that causes all the damage. Biff - I think you and Alec Ferguson of ManU ere sent to the same school?!! You are both morons!

  • 139v16 - 2011-03-07 18:03

    The c tag is ridiculous. This same team won under immense pressure test series in England and Oz. Do you all suffer amnesia???

  • pages:
  • 1