South Africa just choked in a major tournament and no-one seems to be going on about it

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West Indies v South Africa (via ICC YouTube)

The word ‘choked’ has long since lost any precise meaning when used in reference to South Africa cricket teams playing in major tournaments. It pretty much just means “lost a cricket match” these days. You lost, ergo, you choked.

Normally we’re against this kind of erosion of language, but we can’t fight this one. We have therefore embraced the new, woolly definition and will happily race others to use the word whenever South Africa fail to win a match in some sort of world cup or other.

But South Africa lost today in a manner which suggests a level of mental implosion that might actually justify the word ‘choke’ in its pure, original meaning – and yet no-one seems to be saying it.

In the World T20, South Africa’s women’s team were chasing 108 to win against the West Indies. This is not a huge target and at 48-1, it seemed manageable enough. They then lost 9-28, which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is a quite majestic implosion – particularly when you consider that a third of those wickets fell to run-outs.


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  1. Shabnim Ismail seems to be the female equivalent of Brett Lee: properly fast, good bowler, and yet fails singularly to take wickets against England. That is to say, ideal opposition.

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