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Put 'chokers' tag to bed now: Smith

SA have been accused of choking in big matches in the past and Tuesday's win will remove the unwanted tag of 'chokers'.

cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2007 17:59 IST

Graeme Smith hopes that South Africa's nine-wicket win over England in a World Cup Super Eight match on Tuesday will remove the unwanted tag of "chokers" from around his side's neck.

The South Africans have been accused of choking in big matches in the past, and Tuesday's match was deemed vital for both sides to make it to the semi-finals.

"I think we have put the tag of 'chokers' to bed," Smith, the South African captain, told reporters at the post-match news conference.

"This match was a big-pressure match and we really demolished those sentiments about us being chokers."

Smith reckons the semi-finals will be another big-pressure occasion, and anything can happen in those sorts of games.

He thinks the way his side went about their business in the match was superb to watch.

"It was pretty emotional for all of us because we all were pumped and knew how big a game it was going to be," he said.

"We were so clinical in the field. We built pressure from the word go. We got the ball in the right areas. We created so much pressure with the ball and in the field, and the guys were calm and focussed."

"There are always a lot of things said when we lose matches, but it does mean a lot to these guys, and it really means a lot for them to get into the semi-finals.

"Hopefully, we can win that big game, and come back to this lovely ground in Barbados for the final."

Smith was philosophical about his side's wobble through the Super Eights.

"I think it has worked wonders," he said. "The team is on a high now, and the momentum is good.

"The atmosphere in the dressing room for this match before and after was really positive and upbeat. It was the kind of South African dressing room that I have become accustomed, and I think this will bode well going into the semi-finals."

With their Super Eight schedule complete South Africa are likely to finish in fourth place and face might Australia in the second semi final in St. Lucia if Sri Lanka dominates Ireland in their match Grenada on Wednesday.

Smith is looking forward to the match with the reigning World champions and World No. 1, since the two sides met in the group stage in St. Kitts, where Australia prevailed by 83 runs in a high-scoring affair.

First Published: Apr 18, 2007 13:35 IST