“We are having a ticker tape parade,” says captain Faf du Plessis.


October 13. 16:15

Greg Salmon | Editor

South Africa have become the first team to whitewash Australia in a five-match bilateral one-day series. After defeating the depleted Aussies by 31 runs in Cape Town, interim skipper Faf du Plessis is basking in his nation’s glory. “This is a huge moment for South African cricket,” he says. “Last night was our final, and we beat the best side in the world.”

The final Faf du Plessis is referring to, was his side’s special motivator for the match. “We may have led the series 4-nil, but we were treating it as 4-all. Four wins against Australia, versus four World Cups they’d won.” Australia have actually won five World Cups, but to be fair, South Africa did not feature in the 1987 tournament. They only remember the four World Cups they choked lost in.

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South Africa developed their choking unlucky reputation long before the 1999 World Cup. But the UK-edition ranks as their worst choke defeat. “We managed to choke lose to Australia twice,” sighs ex-wicketkeeper Mark Boucher. “Gibbs dropped the World Cup, then Donald dropped his bat. What a choke disaster.”

The Proteas repeated their choke failure in 2003, this time as the hosts in the group stage. “2003 was the worst choke tournament for me,” says Boucher. “If Pollock could do basic math, I wouldn’t have blocked that last ball. Children were crying everywhere, it was an absolute choke mess.”

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Four years later in the Caribbean,  South Africa suffered their largest choke defeat in terms of margin. “We were just chilling, watching our openers about to dominate on the flat wicket,” explains Boucher. Then our captain chokes plays this ridiculous shot and gets bowled. It set the choke tone. I understand why Australia are losing now under Steve Smith.”

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Then in last year’s World Cup, South Africa choked played brilliantly in the semi-final at Eden Park, only to choke lose again. “I was doing commentary and had to rip my mic out,” says Boucher. “I mean, just catch the fucking thing. Who the fuck is Farhaan Behardien?”

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After growing up in this choking painful era, Faf du Plessis plans to end it. “This is our greatest triumph,” he grins. “The trophy is already locked in the World Cup cabinet. We are now having a ticker tape parade.”