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Why South Africa Always Struggles in Chasing?

South Africa is a team that has always been in the headlines for their exceptional performance in international cricket but they still face a trophy draught.

Reinstated in international cricket after apartheid, they quickly rose to prominence, even holding the #1 Test ranking in 2012.

Their ODI record shines with a win rate exceeding 61%, yet major trophy acquisitions remain elusive. The lone Champions Trophy win in 1998 and a string of World Cup near misses highlight this bittersweet reality.

Currently ranked 4th in Tests and 3rd in ODIs, South Africa is a force to be reckoned with. They recently impressed at the 2023 World Cup, reaching the semi-finals and breaking numerous records. Quinton de Kock's batting brilliance and Marco Jansen's bowling prowess were key contributors.

However, there is a pattern that has been observed with the Proteas squad. The pattern is that the team has struggled to win a fixture when they are on a chasing side.

The players failed to convert their individual performance into match-winning ability when it comes to chasing the score. In this article, we have listed numerous reasons why South Africa struggles to win a fixture while chasing a score.

Fragile Middle Order in Pressured Situations

South Africa's cricket team paints a picture of contrasting fortunes. A fearsome bowling attack and explosive openers grab headlines, while the middle order often crumbles under pressure.

This inconsistency, particularly in high-stakes matches, raises concerns about their ability to challenge for major trophies. Recent performances expose the middle order's vulnerability.

In the 2023 World Cup semifinal, despite a strong start, they collapsed against Australia, highlighting their struggle under pressure. Similar collapses have plagued them in crucial Test matches, raising questions about their temperament and adaptability.

While individual talents like Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram exist, they haven't consistently delivered as a unit.

Finding players who can anchor the innings and build partnerships during challenging phases is crucial.

Lack of Experienced Finishers

Faf du Plessis' retirement created a void of composure and calculated aggression, leaving younger players like Rassie van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks battling the demands of finishing innings.

This inexperience manifests in two ways. One is the tendency to throw away wickets at crucial junctures, succumbing to the pressure of required run rates.

Two, the inability to rotate strikes effectively, leading to dot balls and mounting pressure.

The solution may lie in grooming players like van der Dussen and Hendricks in high-pressure situations.

Playing them in crucial middle-order roles in domestic tournaments and bilateral series could provide valuable experience. Additionally, exploring unconventional options like Andile Phehlukwayo, who combines finishing prowess with bowling skills, could be worthwhile.

Inconsistent Leadership

While South Africa boasts individual talent, questions swirl around their international cricket leadership. The retirement of Du Plessis, left a void yet to be fully filled.

The transition between Temba Bavuma and Quinton de Kock across formats lacks consistency, and concerns about clear tactical direction and on-field decision-making persist. Critics point to missed opportunities, like the 2023 World Cup semi-final defeat, where strategic calls were debated.

Leadership goes beyond the captain. Experienced voices like Hashim Amla are gone, leaving a gap in guiding younger players. Critics argue a cohesive leadership group, fostering unity and clear strategies, is missing.

Can South Africa address this perceived leadership deficit? Only time will tell if they can find the right blend of experience, tactical nous, and inspirational presence to truly challenge for major trophies.

Selection Conundrums

Team selection plays a vital role in crafting a balanced team suited for chasing. Finding the right mix of batsmen, all-rounders, and bowlers who can contribute with both bat and ball is crucial.

South Africa's selectors haven't always gotten it right, sometimes lacking the ideal combination for successful chases.

With the introduction of the SA20 league, the Proteas will be hoping to solve their selection issue but that will take time. Even if the selectors find the right talent, the crafting of that talent will take time.

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