'Chaos' in SA dressing room
Nagpur – The Proteas’ dramatic Cricket World Cup victory over India on Saturday night was not a fun-filled experience for everyone in the South African dressing room.
Team psychologist Henning Gericke was almost tackled unconscious in the “chaos” that followed after Robin Peterson hit the winning runs in the final over, captain Graeme Smith revealed on Sunday.
“It was chaos in the dressing room when we got the winning runs. The guys embraced and even tackled one another,” said Smith.
“There was massive shouting and jumping. Poor old Henning was almost tackled unconscious.”
Peterson had to score 13 runs off the final over from Indian pace bowler Ashish Nehra to reach the Proteas’ winning target of 297 after Sachin Tendulkar had earlier put the South Africans to the sword with his innings of 111.
Dale Steyn, who was named man of the match for taking five wickets, led a fight back and the last nine Indian batsmen could only score 29 runs. It is the fourth biggest batting collapse in the history of the one-day cricket.
“We have been on the losing side of such close matches many times and it was quite overwhelming to finally win one,” said Smith.
“The calm and character the guys showed was incredible because it’s very easy to panic under such circumstances.”
Smith was particularly proud of his team because they had been crucified after their shock defeat to England.
“It was not easy to endure the criticism, but it made us stronger and even more determined,” said Smith.
“It was actually a blessing in disguise because it forced us to reconsider our approach and I also believe the experience will count in our favour later in the tournament.”
The Proteas effectively clinched their place in the quarter-finals with the victory as they have also beaten the West Indies and the Netherlands.
South Africa play Ireland in Kolkata on Tuesday and then Bangladesh in their final group match on the weekend.