Proteas gave SA something unforgettable

ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup Final match between India and South Africa.

ICC Men's T20 Cricket World Cup Final match between India and South Africa.

Published Jul 1, 2024


Thirty runs from 30 balls. That was the equation for the Proteas to be crowned world champions for the very first time.

Surely, not even the Proteas could lose it from here. Years of disappointment were about to be erased at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.

Captain Aiden Markram's men were not just playing for themselves. They were carrying every Protea that had come before them on their backs.

It was for every South African that had made their way to Barbados. And for the 60 million people back home.

By now, of course, we all know about the drama that transpired, and the absolute disbelief when Suryakumar Yadav completed a miraculous catch on the boundary.

The dream was over.

David Miller, the Proteas’ most experienced T20 international ever and last hope, was gone, falling valiantly on the first ball of the 20th over. The remaining five balls of the final – they ended up being six due to a Hardik Pandya wide – were merely academic, as South Africans found themselves emotionally drained in disappointment in a cricket match ... once again.

That dreaded feeling had returned. The nausea that only the Proteas have the ability to make anyone experience in the pit of their stomach. But just like after Edgbaston 1999 and Auckland 2015 and the numerous other knockout disappointments, the sun rose again the next morning and the sickening feeling began to dissipate.

Only this time, the realisation was this Proteas Class of 2024 had actually gone where no SA men’s team had gone before. That they can and should still look back on the competition with a great degree of pleasure.

Of course, the regret of getting so close to returning to Mzansi with a first-ever World Cup trophy will take some time to digest, but the memories they provided to the nation over the past month have been unforgettable.

After years of mediocrity and unnecessary boardroom drama, this Proteas squad restored the respect of South African cricket on the global stage. And for that alone they should be lauded.

Cape Times

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