ICC World Twenty20
Last chance saloon for Proteas
Cape Town - South Africa’s fate in the ICC World Twenty20 may not be in their own hands alone, but they will be giving it one last heave in their final Super Eight match against India on Tuesday.
The Proteas need to win well against India, with the hope that Australia continues their form with a win against Pakistan to have any chance of advancing to the semi-finals via a favourable net run-rate.
Proteas coach Gary Kirsten admitted that important errors in judgement led to the team’s failure in the last two matches against Pakistan and Australia.
“We haven’t played well enough in the key moments in the games,” Kirsten said. “To have Pakistan 60-odd for seven, we should be winning that game. We have let ourselves down, it has been disappointing.
“I think we have made a lot of progress in a lot of different areas. We have batted really well out of tough batting situations where we have lost three wickets really early in both our games. We batted well to get the game deep and to have a competitive total.”
The Proteas’ top-order has struggled from the onset, with early wickets hampering the innings’ progress. Changes are expected in the Proteas’ starting XI for Tuesday’s match, but Kirsten still has belief in the 15 men at his disposal.
“There might be one or two (changes), we haven’t made a final decision,” Kirsten said. “We have nothing to lose in many ways, we can play freely knowing that the chances of us going through are up to us winning the match convincingly and Pakistan have to lose. It allows us to free up in terms of our combinations.
“We have some quality players,” he added. “When we announced the squad everyone said this was a perfectly well-rounded squad. It has good balance to it; we have some key accumulators and some hitters as well.
“When guys don’t fire there is not a whole lot you can do, you have to accept it. It’s not that you don’t back them because they are seriously capable batsmen, hopefully they can do something in the next game.”
Kirsten also shared his views on the proverbial chokers tag that has haunted South African teams over the years.
“There is every reason to question it,” Kirsten said about the Proteas’ failure at ICC events. “The thing is at some point we hopefully will turn it around. It might not be right now, it might not be at the World Cup in 2015, who knows when it will be it. It is going to come sometime, hopefully while we’re all still alive.
“I don’t think we hide around it anymore, there is nothing to hide, we have battled. There is a legacy that has been left behind in South African cricket that is really tough for young guys to come through and fill that legacy of being able to overcome those types of situations.”