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8 Jul

Against All Odds: The Proteas’ Gritty T20 World Cup Campaign

The South African Proteas’ journey in the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup is a testament to resilience, determination, and the sheer will to overcome adversity. Historically plagued by near-misses and heartbreak in World Cup tournaments notably the 1999 Cricket World Cup, the Proteas entered the 2024 edition with a renewed focus and an unyielding desire to change their narrative. 

This was South Africa’s first senior men’s final since the inaugural Champions Trophy that took place in Bangladesh in 1998 when the Proteas beat the West Indies in the title match. Over the years they have been judged by their critics and had many questions on how a nation  that has produced so many talented players, hasn’t been able to make a final appearance in 26 years.

The Proteas sole ICC trophy victory to date remains the ICC KnockOut Trophy, which they secured in 1998 under the leadership of the late Hansie Cronje. For India, this marks their second T20 World Cup win and their first ICC title since 2013, when an MS Dhoni led team triumphed over England in the ICC Champions Trophy final.

Led by the inspirational Aiden Markram and cheered seasoned veterans and emerging stars, the Proteas’ path to the finals was marked by strategic brilliance, individual heroics, and an indomitable team spirit. This remarkable run in the tournament has not only lifted the spirits of a cricket-loving nation but also redefined their legacy on the global stage.


The Proteas had reached the final riding an eight-match winning streak in the tournament. However, they stumbled at the last hurdle, as Virat Kohli (76) and Axar Patel (47) shifted the momentum away from South Africa, helping India to set a target of 176 runs.

We witnessed Ottniel Baartman, the leading wicket-taker in Betway SA20 history, make his debut at a global showpiece and excel. He took out four wickets against the Netherlands and the final over against Nepal which were notable standout moments.

“We were thrilled to be part of such an incredible final. The skill level was outstanding throughout. Losing by such a narrow margin [seven runs] is always painful. When the difference is so small, you can’t help but think about what could have been” said Rob Walter, the Proteas’ white-ball coach, during a press conference at Cricket South Africa’s headquarters in Johannesburg.

Rob Walter was appointed as head coach of the Proteas last year and previously served as the Proteas’ strength and conditioning coach from 2009 to 2013 before joining the Titans. Walter 

then took his expertise to New Zealand, coaching domestically from 2016 until March 2023, when he stepped into his role as the Proteas’ limited-overs coach.

South Africa started their T20 World Cup campaign on a high note, winning three consecutive matches in the group stage. They defeated Sri Lanka by 16 runs, Netherlands by four wickets, and Bangladesh by four runs in low-scoring matches. The team’s bowlers, led by Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, performed exceptionally well, restricting their opponents to below-par scores.

In the Super Eights stage, South Africa continued their winning streak, defeating USA by 18 runs and England by 7 runs. Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada starred in these matches, with De Kock scoring half-centuries and Rabada taking multiple wickets. They also edged past West Indies in a rain-curtailed match, winning by 3 wickets with 5 balls to spare.

South Africa cruised into the semi-finals, where they thrashed Afghanistan by 9 wickets, bowling them out for just 56 runs. The team’s bowlers, including Tabraiz Shamsi, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, and Kagiso Rabada, were exceptional, setting up an easy chase. 

The South African Proteas’ victory over Australia in the semi-finals of the 2024 T20 World Cup stands as one of the most poignant and redemptive moments in cricket history. This victory was not merely a step towards the final but a cathartic triumph that healed wounds inflicted 25 years earlier, in one of the most heartbreaking moments of South African cricket—the semi-final against Australia in the 1999 ICC Cricket World Cup.


The 2024 T20 World Cup will forever be remembered as the tournament where the Proteas roared loudest and conquered the world. Our Proteas have done us proud – they have inspired a nation, revitalised the sport, and etched their names in the annals of cricketing history. As the curtains draw on this remarkable chapter, the world bids farewell to the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup, but the Proteas’ journey is far from over. The best, undoubtedly, is yet to come.

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