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17 South Africa World Cup Chokes and Heartbreaks: The Complete List (Men’s & Women’s Combined)

by Nov 4, 2022ODI World Cup, South African Cricket, World XIs - With Twists

A collage of South Africa World Cup Chokes and Heartbreaks

South Africa World Cup Chokes, a phrase we have often heard before, maybe too often.


I personally do not like the ‘choker’ term, but there is a reason why the Proteas have earned this tag—rain interruptions, inexplicable collapses, internal politics, dropped catches & runouts, mathematical errors, and sometimes they just don’t show up on the big day. So, to refresh your memories, here is the List of Top 17 South Africa World Cup Chokes & Heartbreaks—Men & Women Combined.

Top 17 List of South Africa World Cup Chokes

1. 1999 World Cup Semi-Final (The Run-Out)

Match Scorecard:

What Happened?

The heartbreaks of all heartbreaks. 8 runs needed in 1 over, 1 wicket remaining. Lance Klusener, in the form of his life, hits two fours. 1 run needed in 4 balls. Klusener – 31*(14). Surely, Proteas has one foot in the finals. Unfortunately, not enough feet as Klusener calls for a panic run, Allan Donald ball watches, runs late, and gets run out. Match Tied. The tie breaker? The Super Six match between Australia and South Africa, which Australia won, most famously known for Steve Waugh’s comment to Herschelle Gibbs, “You just dropped the World Cup.” Waugh went on to make a century and Australia won that clash.

Video: The Final Over, Gibbs Drops the World Cup

Embed from Getty Images

2. 1992 World Cup Semi-Final (Rain Drama)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of England vs South Africa 2nd SF 1991/92 – Score Report |

What Happened?

What’s the fuss with DL method? Or the DLS vs VJD methods? Well, long, long time ago these rules did not exist. 22 needed in 13. Anyone’s game. Rain intervened for a short 10-minute break. Next thing you know, South Africa need 22 runs in 1 ball. Explain that.

3. 2022 T20 World Cup Group Stage Exit (Nerves)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of Netherlands vs South Africa 40th Match, Group 2 2022/23 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Myburgh, Max O’Dowd, Colin Ackermann, Tom Cooper, and Scott Edward’s little contributions took Netherlands to 158/4. Quick start by the Proteas but regular wickets and THAT CATCH by former South African cricketer, Roelof van der Merwe meant SA could only get to 145/8. From top of the group to crashing out. They only needed to win one game of the last two and they failed. The No-Result vs Zimbabwe will pinch them as well.

4. 2003 World Cup Group Stage Exit (Math/DL Method)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of Sri Lanka vs South Africa 40th Match 2002/03 – Score Report |

What Happened?

1, 0, 0, 5 wides, 1, SIX!, 0, RAIN. Match Tied. South Africa eliminated in the group stage at a home world cup.

Murali bowling to Klusener-Boucher. Last ball-Dot. Reason? South Africa management had miscalculated the DL method and stayed at 229. Had they taken a single, SA would have qualified for the next round.

When asked captain Shaun Pollock in the post-match presentation whether there was any confusion over DL calculations, Pollock replied with “Yeah, Boucher was given a message of 229.”

“So for the second time in a row, South Africa exited with a Tied game. South Africa and the public couldn’t believe it. One run the difference between success and failure.”

– Broadcaster

Video: Duckworth Lewis Drama

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5. 2015 World Cup Semi-Final (Politics, Nerves)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of South Africa vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final 2014/15 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Well on the field, you cannot really blame South Africa. With the bat, Faf-ABD-Miller got South Africa to a massive total in a, wait for it, rain curtailed game. NZ had less overs to chase, Baz went all out, Grant Elliot played the innings of his life, and Dale Steyn was on his feet at the end. Rain had arrived when SA were cruising at 216/3 in 38 overs. They got 281 in 43, but NZ magnificently chased 299 (DL).

Nerves, drops, run outs missed. But more serious was the off the field news that emerged later about the Abbott-Philander fiasco and the quota interference. The great South African generation was fractured and would collapse in the next couple of years.

Grant Elliot, Superman.

Video: Ian Smith’s Final Moments

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6. 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup Semi-Final (Rain/DL Method)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of AUS Women vs SA Women 2nd Semi-Final 2019/20 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Meg Lanning gets Australia to 134/5. Runs on the board, but still chaseable with South Africa’s solid batting order. But then, rain intervened. Again. And now they needed 98 in 13 overs, much more challenging with the higher required rate. Laura Wolvaardt played a gem of a knock 41* (27) and brought it down to 19 off 6, but unfortunately, no Carlos Brathwaite moment for them.

Video: Australia breaks South Africa’s Hearts

Embed from Getty Images

7. 2017 Women’s ODI World Cup Semi-Final (Nerves/Drops/Extras)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of SA Women vs ENG Women 1st Semi-Final 2017 – Score Report |

What Happened?

South Africa scored a competitive 218. South Africa defending their last over – Dropped dot ball, 1, Wicket, Four. Another last over heartbreak. The difference between the sides? Extras.4 given by England and 25 by South Africa.

Embed from Getty Images

8. 2011 World Cup Quarter Final (Run-Out Induced Collapse)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of New Zealand vs South Africa 3rd Quarter-Final 2010/11 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Small total to chase, good partnership. All looking good. Then some harsh fighting on the field, a run-out, and the collapse. Perfect ingredients for the ideal South African choke.

From 108-2 in 24 overs to 172 all out in the small chase of 222.

Embed from Getty Images

9. 2021 T20 World Cup Group Stage (Net Run Rate)

Match Scorecard: South Africa beat England South Africa won by 10 runs – South Africa vs England, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, 39th Match

What Happened?

4 wins out of 5. Net Run Rate of +0.739. Temba Bavuma unites the team after Quinton de Kock sits out. Surely, nothing can stop them now? Nope. England & Australia both won 4/5 and had an EVEN BETTER net run rate. The Stoinis-Wade partnership in the low scoring first match hurt South Africa.

In their final match against England, they had scored 189/2 and won against the great English side. Even that wasn’t enough as they had to restrict England to 131 to get their NRR high enough.

10. 2009 T20 World Cup Semi-Final (Collapse)

Match: Full Scorecard of Pakistan vs South Africa 1st Semi-Final 2009 – Score Report |

What Happened?

5 overs, 39/0 in chase of 150. Kallis, AB De Villiers, Smith, Gibbs. Pakistan team squeezed, SA lost by 7 runs. Another semi-final loss.

11. 2007 T20 World Cup Group Stage (Net Run Rate)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of India vs South Africa 24th Match, Group E 2007/08 – Score Report |

What Happened?

India won this one comfortably. South Africa could only get to 116 in chase of 154. Had they got 10 more runs, they would have qualified to the semi-finals of the inaugural T20 World Cup, but lost out due to NRR yet again.

12. 2007 World Cup Semi-Final (Outplayed)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of South Africa vs Australia 2nd Semi-Final 2006/07 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Finally, South Africa could take revenge of the 1999 World Cup semi-final.

However they only scored 149 and at one time were reeling at 27/5. Never in the game as McGrath blew them away.

13. 2022 Women’s ODI World Cup Semi-Final (Outplayed)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of ENG Women vs SA Women 2nd Semi Final 2021/22 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Danni Wyatt 129* and Ecclestone’s 6/36 made sure South Africa were just not in the game.

14. 2014 T20 World Cup Semi-Final (Virat Kohli Special)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of South Africa vs India 2nd Semi-Final 2013/14 – Score Report |

What Happened?

Yuvraj Singh departs. India 133-3 in 16 overs, India still need 43 in 4, but Virat Kohli was just too good on that day.

Video: http://Kohli demolishes South Africa

15. 2000 Women’s ODI World Cup Semi-Final (Outplayed)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of SA Women vs AUS Women 1st SF 2000/01 – Score Report |

What Happened?

South Africa got to 181 in 50 overs, but Lisa Keightley & Belinda Clark were just too good. Chase complete in 31.2 overs.

Also Read: History of Women’s Cricket World Cup – Everything You Need to Know to Prep Yourself for the 2022 Women’s Cricket World Cup

16. 2014 Women’s T20 World Cup Semi-Final (Outplayed)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of SA Women vs ENG Women 2nd Semi-Final 2013/14 – Score Report |

What Happened?

South Africa could only score 101, while England’s stalwarts Sarah Taylor, Charlotte Edwards, and Heather Knight breezed through the chase in 16.5 overs.

17. 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup Group Match (Collapse)

Match Scorecard: Full Scorecard of SL WMN vs SA WMN 1st Match, Group A 2022/23 – Score Report |

What Happened?

In a chase of 130, South Africa were cruising at 44-1 at 7.2 overs with Laura Wolvaardt and Marizanne Kapp forming a steady partnership. Then, the spin crunched South Africa as the Proteas collapsed to 72-5. Sune Luus & Sinalo Jafta brought them close, but after the usual run-outs & panic, the Sri Lankan squeezed and won a historic match.

Also Read: Other South African Cricket Articles

  1. Quota System in South African Cricket and Transformation Policy – The Complete Guide
  2. Top 10 Richest Cricket Leagues (By Average Salaries). Which Cricket League Pays the Most (2022)? Can You Guess Where SA20 Ranks?
  3. Salary of Cricketers (Men’s) from Each of the 12 Nations (2022)—The Complete Guide
  4. SA20 Auction Big Takeaways: List of Players Sold, Squads, Surprises, Exclusions, and More!
  5. 49 South African Cricketers Who Left Their Country for Kolpak Deals
  6. 20 South African Born Cricketers Who Play for Other Countries: Labuschagne, Neil Wagner,…Can you Guess the Rest?
  7. Top 11 Cricketers Who Retired Too Early – The Lost Generation of Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, AB De Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Michael Clarke
  8. Faf du Plessis & AB De Villiers’ Friendship: Broken Dreams of Faf and ABD
  9. Dale Steyn, The Embodiment of Simplicity and Intensity, Retires—The Greatest Fast Bowler of Them All
Why are South Africa called ‘Chokers’ in world cricket?
South Africa have failed to qualify due to rain & nerves in 1992, 1999, 2007, 2011, and 2015 ODI World Cups along with 2007, 2009, 2014, and 2022 T20 World Cups, 2014, 2022 Women’s T20 World Cup and 2000, 2017, and 2022 Women’s ODI World Cups.

A collage of South Africa World Cup Chokes and Heartbreaks

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© Copyright @Nitesh Mathur and Broken Cricket Dreams, 2021. Originally published on 11/04/2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Broken Cricket Dreams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content (i.e. linked to the exact post/article).


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