Cricket World Cup 2015: AB de Villiers happy with 'chokers' tag

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Sydney
South Africa captain AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers led South Africa to their first-ever knockout stage World Cup victory against Sri Lanka on Wednesday

South Africa captain AB de Villiers is happy for his side to be called "chokers" following their World Cup quarter-final win against Sri Lanka.

The Proteas had never won a World Cup knockout game before, but now meet either New Zealand or the West Indies in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

"I think we like being called chokers. We'll keep that tag as long as we keep winning," De Villiers, 31, said.

"It was a big pressure game and we showed everyone that we can do it."

South Africa famously lost a World Cup semi-final against Australia in 1999external-link and were eliminated in the group stage on home soil four years later after misunderstanding the Duckworth-Lewis system.

They also failed to chase 222 to beat New Zealand in the quarter-finals four years ago after finishing top of their group.

Past mistakes
1999: Semi-final - South Africa needed one run off the final four balls against Australia at Edgbaston, but number 11 Allan Donald was run out with two balls to spare as the match ended in a tie, and elimination.
2003: Group stage - Shaun Pollock thought his side had beaten Sri Lanka on D/L. They hadn't - they had tied - and South Africa were out.
2007: Semi-final - South Africa were bowled out for 149 as they slipped to a seven-wicket defeat by Australia in St Lucia.
2011: Quarter-final - Chasing a modest 222 to beat New Zealand in Dhaka, South Africa collapsed from 108-2 to 172 all out.

However, they cruised into the semi-finals by bowling Sri Lanka out for 133 in Sydney on Wednesday, then chasing their target for the loss of one wicket in 18 overs.

"We feel strong and confident going into the semi-finals, but, on the other hand it means nothing, because the hard work starts now," said batsman De Villiers.

"We didn't come all this way just to make it to the semi-finals, we want to go all the way."

De Villiers had praise for his bowlers and batsman Quinton de Kock, who made an unbeaten 78 after managing only 53 runs in his six previous innings.

"We've all been in dark spaces and I think he has been in this tournament," said De Villiers. "There's a lot of credit to the selectors and coach who kept backing him.

"They must have been tempted to let him go and give me the gloves, but it was a great call from them to stick with him.

"We've done some amazing things with the ball before. I wouldn't say it's our best performance, but definitely the most important performance in the most important game."

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

World Cup semi-finals
New Zealand or West Indies v South Africa, Auckland 24 March
Australia or Pakistan v India or Bangladesh, Sydney, 26 March
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JP Duminy's hat-trick against Sri Lanka was South Africa's first in a World Cup
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South Africa bowler Imran Tahir
South Africa bowler Imran Tahir has 15 wickets in the 2015 World Cup

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