Cape Town - Proteas coach Russell Domingo has defended the decision to pick Vernon Philander in place of Kyle Abbott for their Cricket World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.
Abbott, who took an excellent one for 27 off a tight six overs during South Africa's quarter-final victory over Sri Lanka, was dropped to make way for Philander - who missed several matches including the last eight clash this World Cup with a hamstring injury.
Philander's first over was savaged for 14 runs by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum and he was taken out of the attack, with none of his eight overs on Tuesday producing a wicket as New Zealand beat South Africa by 4 wickets.
Philander was clearly not fit and was unable to field late in the game.
"Vernon is a hell of a good bowler and it's unfair to lay the blame on him, or any other bowler. He's done a lot of good for us over a long period and in all forms of the game. I don’t think he bowled too badly," Domingo told Netwerk24.
"You need a bit of luck to win a tournament like this, and you need to take your chances. There's a very small difference between winning and losing and I believe we showed character - especially the manner in which we batted against an excellent bowling line-up and in difficult conditions."