Intikhab heaps pressure on Proteas

ICC World Twenty20 2009

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South Africa lose the World Cup semi-final against Australia in 1999, one of several examples of their nerve failing them

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam is hoping history repeats itself when his side meet South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 semi-final at Trent Bridge.

The Proteas enter the match as firm favourites after winning their first five games in the competition, but they have a record of fluffing their lines at crucial points in major tournaments.

Rain and a cruel recalculation combined to spell the end of their hopes of victory over England in the 1992 World Cup semi-final, but they were wholly responsible for throwing away a glorious chance to beat Australia at the same stage in 1999.

A miscalculation as rain fell saw them tie with Sri Lanka in the 2003 tournament, and, faced with making just 126 against India to qualify for the semi-finals of the inaugural World Twenty20 two years ago, they fell 10 runs short.

Intikhab believes that such frailties may give Pakistan an edge.

"They are a very talented side, but the pressure will be on them," he said.

"They haven't won anything of this nature. They have come very, very close – they’ve reached the semis – but they have never done it.

"They will have the pressure, and we won't. We have that advantage."

Intikhab has great respect for his opponents' ability but still senses their past misdemeanours may come back to haunt them.

"They have played well throughout this tournament and are a very professional, committed and dedicated set of cricketers," he acknowledged.

"But the history of South African cricket tells us that at the crunch time when it really matters they have 'choked'. I hope that happens again."

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