Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Proteas have proved they’re not chokers, says Marco Jansen

Winning seven tight matches in a row has given the SA team confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup playoffs.

While the national cricket team have two more matches to win if they want to lift their maiden global trophy, all-rounder Marco Jansen believes they have already shaken off the ‘chokers’ tag which the SA squad has carried for decades.

After seven matches at the T20 World Cup, the unbeaten Proteas have booked their place in the semifinals of the biennial spectacle for the first time since 2014.

They will face Afghanistan, one of the surprise packages of the tournament who reached the playoffs by finishing second in their Super 8 group, in Trinidad on Thursday morning (2.30am SA time).

India will meet defending champions England in the other semifinal in Guyana later on Thursday (4.30pm).

“In the past, when people labelled us as chokers, or whatever, that’s sort of out of the window in our heads,” Jansen said ahead of the knockout stages.

“We obviously know that some people might say that at certain stages, depending on where we are and if we lose, but for us it’s all about proving those people wrong and changing the narrative for us going forward.”

Confident team

South Africa have never reached a cricket World Cup final in any format, but Jansen said their performances at the ongoing showpiece had raised their confidence as they aimed to make history.

While they were aware that they still had work to do, and he insisted they were not getting ahead of themselves, Jansen felt they had proved their ability to get themselves out of tight situations by winning closely contested matches throughout the tournament.

If they had to dig deep again in their semifinal, the Proteas felt they could do it again.

“Getting those close wins is obviously not very good for our nerves, but getting the team over the line in different situations and in different conditions against different opposition can only add confidence to our team going forward,” he said.

“So for us, mentally, we just try to take every win as it comes. It’s not a case that we think we’re invincible because we know anything can happen, especially in those situations, but we’re just trying to set ourselves up as best as possible to do our best in those types of situations if they come.”

If they beat Afghanistan, who are five places below South Africa in the T20 world rankings and have never competed in a World Cup semifinal, the Proteas will face either India or England in the final of the tournament on Saturday.

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ICC Men's T20 World Cup Proteas cricket team

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