Proteas hurled out of the Cricket World Cup
South Africa ended their World Cup campaign by allowing themselves to be humbled by 49 runs by Pakistan at Lord’s – the most magnificent stage of them all on Sunday.
Proteas are definitely out of the Cricket World Cup, Scientifically, mathematically and wholistically, they are out.
This is their fifth defeat in the tournament. The South Africans once again struggled every which way before eventually losing by 49 runs to Men in Green.
The loss followed a 4-wicket defeat by New Zealand by earlier on in the week and brought to an end what is arguably South Africa’s worst performance at a world cup.
They will be looking to go out in style for their two remaining games, which are against Sri Lanka and Australia. They don’t have to hold their breath though.
It was certainly fitting that their definite exodus, the final confirmation that their World Cup dream is shattered, came when they were on the biggest stage, a packed Lord’s. South African cricket, it is their absolute incapability to perform to potential on the colossal stage – the World Cup.
There has been so much said about the feeble batting of the Proteas and they again failed to grasp a realistic opportunity to win as they tumbled to 259 for nine chasing 309.
But the bowlers were also poor. There has been so much talk over the last couple of years from the Proteas camp about how brilliant their attack is and that they would be the key to their World Cup campaign.
But allowed to bowl first on Sunday – captain Faf du Plessis said he would have fielded first if he had won the toss – they were messy and uninspired, allowing Pakistan to get off to a flying start. The prowess of Imran Tahir (10-0-41-2) brought South Africa back into the contest, the veteran leg-spinner removing both openers, Imam-ul-Haq, and Fakhar Zaman, for 44.
The return catch he took off Imam was impressive, as was the passion he showed throughout. What a pity that there seemed to be the little inspirational effect on his team-mates.
The platform had been laid and Babar Azam kept the momentum going with his 69 off 80 balls. But the real brutality was dished out by Haris Sohail, who belted a superb 89 off just 59 deliveries.
Although Lungi Ngidi finished strongly with three wickets, pegging Pakistan back to 308 for seven, there was clearly going to be a stiff task ahead for a South African batting line-up that has given precious few signs of being either in form or particularly confident.
Mohammad Amir (10-1-49-2) is one of the finest fast bowlers in the world right now (what a pity Kagiso Rabada has done nothing at the World Cup to suggest he still belongs in that class) and he made short work of Hashim Amla, trapping him lbw for 2. The end is surely nigh for Amla, notwithstanding his legendary status.
But Du Plessis was grimly determined and Quinton de Kock enjoyed some lucky escapes as South Africa’s two key batsmen added 87 for the second wicket off 109 deliveries.
De Kock, however, is still a largely intuitive batsman, rather than one who adapts to the situation in front of him, and after a little flurry of boundaries had taken him to 47, he holed out to deep square-leg off leg-spinner Shadab Khan (10-1-50-3).
Spin and judging the length of it is still surprisingly baffling for a batsman of Aiden Markram’s talent and he was cleaned up by Shadab for just 7.
Du Plessis battled on to 63 off 79 balls, but with the required run-rate now over eight to the over, he lashed out at the outstanding Amir, but the left-hander is extremely slippery and the captain was caught off the resulting skier.
It is not often that a team can afford to drop six catches and still win an ODI so comfortably, but Rassie van der Dussen (36) and David Miller (31) enjoyed charmed lives as they sought to pull off the miraculous.
Andile Phehlukwayo tried gamely in scoring 46 not out off 32 balls, but Wahab Riaz (10-0-46-3) and his full length were too good for the lower-order.
This inept South African side is not worthy of semi-final contention and the basement, trying to avoid the wooden spoon, is waiting.
Du Plessis, the South Africa skipper said his players were suffering from a chronic lack of confidence according to The Daily Telegraph.
“The guys are playing with low confidence and making the same mistakes. It just rolls on, it’s such a snowball effect,” he said.
“The real, honest answer is it chips away at you. You try really hard, then come back the next game and make the same mistakes. It chips away at your confidence and your ego as a player.”
“As much as I can say, or the coach can say, the responsibility lies with the player to sort it out yourself if you are low on confidence,” he said.
“Everyone has played the game long enough to understand you go through highs and lows.”
Du Plessis said the humiliating exit was the lowest point of his career, adding: “I’m a very proud player and captain. Playing for South Africa means a lot to me.
“There are people rightly and fairly criticizing the team because we are not playing the cricket we should.
“It’s important myself, the coach and the senior players front up to this challenge.” Du Plessis also blamed burnout for their woes after several South Africa players, including the skipper, played in this year’s Indian Premier League.
“It’s important we find space to rest our three-format players. They are playing a lot of cricket. That’s the one area I would have changed but it’s not in my hands,” he said.
Du Plessis said he would not walk away from the job.
“I’ve always said the most enjoyment I get from the game is captaining the side. The fact we are playing way below our potential is not something that sits well with me,” he said as reported by
“I’m trying as hard as I can, but unfortunately not everything is down to me. My character is I will try to fix as many problems as I can.” He revealed to The Daily Telegraph.