India in SA

Biff: 'Stupid' cricket cost us

2011-01-16 21:46
Eduan Roos

Johannesburg - Stupid, yes, but not chokers.

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This was how Graeme Smith responded after the Proteas, in the second of five skirmishes with India, suffered their most stunning limited overs cricket humiliation since that World Cup semi-final in Birmingham.

With the finish line in clear view, and a chance to win the series already on Tuesday in Cape Town, the South African cricket team fell over their own feet.

Smith and his team-mates were knocked over for only 189, after the visitors posted a humble 190 to win, despite the captain's fighting innings of 77 runs and Lonwabo Tsotsobe's career best bowling show of 4/22 a few hours earlier.

The home team had been firmly on course only a short while before, and going along nicely at 152/4.

Smith labelled the loss of six wickets for only 37 runs – which enabled Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his team-mates to successfully defend the second-lowest winning score yet on the Wanderers – as "unacceptable".

"We simply weren't nearly clever enough in our innings," said a disappointed Proteas captain.

"It was not the easiest pitch to bat on, and you have to dig yourself in and work hard to keep the scoreboard rolling over."

Smith admits that his team didn't do enough of that.

"We should've dug in and stood firm, rather than to try and finish the match with boundary shots."

"It was disappointing that I couldn't bat through the innings, but even after I was out we still should've won – rather than give away wickets so easily."

Although the SA captain didn't want to mention names, this statement probably referred to the batsmen JP Duminy (13) and David Miller (27) who both threw away their wickets with reckless shots.

Johan Botha (4) was then the victim of an awful umpiring call before the tail end of the batting order – with Wayne Parnell (12) at the head, tried in vain to save the Proteas' honour.

Especially Miller, who seemingly inexplicably has been preferred to the versatile Albie Morkel, must now find himself on shaky ground. He has access to every shot in the book, but seems to want to showcase it with every delivery – even when a more careful approach is required, like in Saturday's match.

The South Africans will have to play the rest of the series without the injured Jacques Kallis, which means that failure by any of the top six batsmen could have catastrophic results.

Yet Smith feels that the pruning shears don't need to come out yet.

"We will have to start again at the beginning, and establish where and why things went wrong for us," he says.

"One poor performance doesn't make us poor players, and we only have to lift our heads and put matters right at Newlands."

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