South Africa, and the importance of champion’s luck

South Africa vs West Indies
South Africa vs West Indies (PC: X)

For decades, they have been labelled chokers. In fact, it is now a tag that even many South Africans don’t really get offended by. So much so that Quinton de Kock had in an interview to RevSportz’ Subhayan Chaktaborty suggested that, ahead of ICC tournaments, they should do some black magic to shed the label.

After this thrilling victory over West Indies, they have partially shed the tag. Twice in two games, South Africa held their nerve. Beating England wasn’t an aberration, and just when it seemed West Indies were gaining control and giving the local fans a voice, Kagiso Rabada hit a much-needed boundary off Roston Chase to get the match in control. But the previous ball, for those who saw it, was the real story and showed the importance of champion’s luck in sport. 

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South Africa in hurdle, ICC T20 WC 2024
South Africa in hurdle, ICC T20 WC 2024 (PC: X)

Chase, who was bowling a magical spell, had sent down a straighter one which held its line and beat Rabada all ends up. Nicholas Pooran may have been unsighted and moved to his left a tad late. Another 99 times out of 100, the ball would have hit the stumps and Rabada would have been gone. Not tonight. It somehow missed the stumps and went past Pooran for the most important two (byes) of the match.

That was when the pressure was released. The next ball was the only poor one Chase bowled and Rabada smashed it for four, almost sealing the deal. Maybe that’s why one says that without a little luck, you don’t win in sport. Chase did everything right with that ball. Everything. And yet, he did not get the desired result. Instead, South Africa eked out two vital runs that eventually gave them the game. 

South Africa, one feels, will now start  to believe they can go the distance. They have quality spinners in Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, and on these tracks, they are a real handful. Rabada and Anrich Nortje are there to provide the pace, and the batting has looked solid so far. It could well be their cup if they continue to hold their nerve and keep having the champion’s luck go their way like it did tonight against West Indies.

Also Read: Virat Kohli is a fighter, I would back him: Vivian Richards