Van der Dussen says South Africa have no World Cup 'choking' hangover
October 31, 2023 08:52 PM
Rassie van der Dussen has insisted South Africa are carrying no Cricket World Cup baggage even if their long-suffering fans may sometimes feel they are "watching a movie they've seen before".
South Africa, despite teams featuring the likes of Allan Donald, Jonty Rhodes, Herschelle Gibbs, Lance Klusener and AB de Villiers, have yet to win the World Cup since their post-apartheid entry into the event in 1992.
They have often been the authors of their own downfall, going out after a tied semi-final against Australia in 1999 when they had the game all but won, misreading rain-affected run-rate rules in 2003 and losing another last-four thriller against New Zealand in 2015.
The manner of South Africa's exits has led to accusations of "choking" and their critics were ready with fresh suggestions of mental frailty following a shock loss to the Netherlands earlier in this edition.
But that reverse remains South Africa's lone defeat so far in six World Cup games in India, with the Proteas just holding their nerve to defeat Pakistan by one wicket last time out.
They next face New Zealand, who've won five straight World Cup matches against the Proteas since 1999, in Pune on Wednesday.
Van der Dussen, asked during a pre-match press conference in Pune on Tuesday if South Africa were indeed carrying any "baggage", replied: "No, I suppose it's about just acknowledging and accepting it.
"After that Dutch game, we took a lot of flak from back home and certainly in the media as well. There's no use in delving too much into it. You've just got to accept it and move on."
- 'Place of hurt' -
The 34-year-old batsman added: "You realise that there's people at home and fans that have been really scarred by the previous performances of South Africa at World Cups.
"You can't really criticise them for feeling that way, for the criticism to come from, I suppose, a place of hurt where they've seen that movie before."
Even so, he insisted: "But personally, and I think it goes for probably most of the people in our squad and management team, that we haven't lived that.
"So, it's not really applicable to us."
Coming up to date, he said the Pakistan match was a positive as "we didn't play our best cricket at all, especially from a batting sense, and we still managed to get a win".
Wednesday's match takes place just days after South Africa's Springboks defeated their arch-rivals, New Zealand's All Blacks 12-11 to win a tense Rugby World Cup final in Paris.
Victory gave the Springboks, who won all three of their knockout matches by just a one-point margin, a fourth World Cup title.
"We take massive inspiration from them," said Van der Dussen.
"We know a lot of those players personally as well...And I think the real realisation for us is that we're no different.
"We haven't won World Cups, but if we do manage to get there at some time, it will be really an honour for us to be mentioned in the same sentence as those guys."