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HomesportSouth Africa aiming to ditch 'choker' tag at World Cup, says Bavuma

South Africa aiming to ditch 'choker' tag at World Cup, says Bavuma

South Africa have found ways to manage expectations and ditch the tag of being chokers at the World Cup but are aware it will be difficult to shake off if they fail as they go deeper in the tournament, captain Temba Bavuma said on Thursday.

South Africa have had a reputation for coming second-best in big moments at major tournaments to earn the ‘choker’ tag and Bavuma said they are looking at ways to deal with the pressure and expectation after four wins in five games.

“I don’t think it’s given us any extra motivation. We looked at ways as to how we can maybe divert our attention away, not necessarily using the ‘chokers’ tag, but how do we address and deal with the precedent expectation,” Bavuma told reporters.

“We understand that as the tournament progresses, the more we keep playing well, that’s going to come to the fray. But I think we’ve developed ways as to how we can divert our attention and focus on the important things.

“It’s still early in the tournament. There’s still going to be pressure situations that we’re going to overcome. If we stumble, we’ll probably have to deal with that tag again.”

The team are well set for a semi-final spot, sitting second in the standings behind hosts India and next play Pakistan in Chennai on Friday.

“Five games ago, we weren’t probably seen as the favourites. But now, there’s a lot more positivity around the Proteas and the South African team,” Bavuma said.

All four wins have come batting first with South Africa averaging 380 in those games, but Bavuma said there is a temptation to bat second on a turning pitch in Chennai having watched Afghanistan beat Pakistan on Monday.

“I watched the Afghanistan game with Pakistan and it seemed to get a lot better batting under light,” he said.

“There’s obviously us needing to consider the fact that we’ve had a lot of success of late batting first. So fortunately for me, I don’t have to make that decision right now.

“But we know somewhere along the line in the tournament we’ll have to bat second. The conversations that we’ve had as batters is to find ways as to how we can still follow that same process that we follow when we’re batting first.”

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