“We need to be honest with ourselves. I think we did choke again today,” Kirsten said after the disappointing one-sided game at the Oval that lifted England into their second Champions Trophy final.
“It’s a horrible word but we have to front up. We let ourselves down today.” It was the first time a South African coach had publicly accepted what was widely believed in the rest of the cricket world — that the Proteas faltered in crunch games.
South Africa, the top-ranked Test team and a formidable opponent in world cricket, have struggled to get past the semi-final stage in major one-day tournaments since winning the inaugural version of the Champions Trophy in Bangladesh in 1998.
Alastair’s Cook men outplayed the Proteas after electing to bowl on an overcast day at the Oval where England had lost to the West Indies in the final of the same event in 2004.
South Africa were reduced to 80-8 by the 23rd over before a record ninth-wicket partnership of 95 between David Miller and Rory Kleinveldt gave the total some respectability.
But Jonathan Trott hit 82 not out and Joe Root made 48 during a 105-run stand to help England surpass the modest target in the 38th over of a disappointing semi-final.