Cricket World Cup 2015

Fielding, 5th bowler sunk Proteas

2015-03-24 13:42
Dale Steyn (AFP)

Cape Town - The Proteas suffered yet another agonising Cricket World Cup semi-final defeat when New Zealand beat them by four wickets at Eden Park in Auckland on Tuesday.

As it happened: NZ v SA

It was no doubt a brave effort from the South Africans, and their fans can be proud of the fight they showed after a blistering innings by Brendon McCullum, who got his Kiwi side off to a rollicking start by blasting 59 runs off 26 balls.

By the time he was dismissed, New Zealand had reached 71 off only 6.1 overs, in pursuit of 298 off 43 overs.

However, frailties in the bowling line-up and poor fielding ultimately cost South Africa big time.

McCullum smashed South Africa's premier bowler, Dale Steyn, to all parts and that's where the problem started for the Proteas at this World Cup - bowling.

It's fair to say that Steyn was short of his best at this tournament, his 1-76 off 8.1 overs simply not good enough if you want to win a semi-final. He also failed to defend 12 runs off the final over, after it looked like South Africa would sneak a victory.

But the blame cannot solely be laid on the shoulders of Steyn, who also appeared to be hampered by a hamstring strain.

Wrong selections throughout this tournament put the Proteas bowling line-up under pressure. They went in one bowler short which hampered the balance of the bowling attack.

JP Duminy was the only recognised fifth bowler, while part-timer AB de Villiers had to do a holding role for large parts.

De Villiers tried his level best, but he is at best a part-time bowler - and how on earth do you find yourself in a World Cup semi-final situation with a part-timer bowling with fewer than five overs remaining?!

Questions also need to be asked why a clearly unfit Vernon Philander was preferred to the in-form Kyle Abbott. Philander was off the park for large parts and was smacked to all parts while bowling on Tuesday. Considering Philander's physical state, Abbott would have been the safe and better option.

But having said that, the balance of the SA team was not all right, and the lack of a proper all-rounder needs to be highlighted - here the inclusions of Farhaan Behardien and Aaron Phangiso as squad members need to be seriously questioned.

Lastly, and this may only have been the case in Tuesday's semi-final, but South Africa's fielding let them down badly. Two clear run-out chances were lost when, firstly skipper De Villiers and then wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, failed to grasp the ball when dislodging the bails.

The panic button was also pushed on the last ball of the penultimate over when New Zealand match-winner Grant Elliott was dropped in the deep after nasty collision between Behardien and Duminy.

Behardien seemingly had the catch covered, only for Duminy to run into him and butcher what would likely have been a ticket to the Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne, while South Africa's failure to hit the stumps directly on several occasions in the end also proved costly in their demise...

Read more on:    new zealand  |  proteas  |  cwc 2015  |  herman mostert  |  cricket

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