With their loss to Pakistan at Lords by 49 runs, South Africa were eliminated from the 2019 Cricket World Cup tournament, with them mathematically unable to make the semi finals. They joined Afghanistan, who were eliminated with their loss to India, with two games left to play.
It has been a disastrous campaign for the Proteas, who were under pressure from the start. An opening game loss to England no real disgrace, but their subsequent loss to Bangladesh was unexpected and somewhat embarrassing. A further loss to India meant that already South Africa were staring down the World Cup barrel. They picked up a point from a weather affected game against the West Indies – considered fortunate as they were struggling at 29/2 when the rain intervened. A win over the hapless Afghanistan gave a glimmer of hope to the Proteas – but losses to New Zealand and then Pakistan confirmed the inevitable.
The loss to Pakistan highlighted all the issues that the South African team have. Pakistan, under some pressure themselves, batted freely and, for the most part, under no real pressure from the South African bowling attack. Imran Tahir (above) the exception to this rule, who went for just over 4 runs an over and took two wickets, including a spectacular catch off his own delivery to remove the dangerous Imam-ul-Haq for 44. But scores of 44, 44, 69, 20 and 89 from Haris Sohail meant that Pakistan set a fine platform for a good total – and some lusty hitting at the end took Pakistan to 308/7 from their 50 overs.
South Africa have never chased down a 300+ total in World Cup games before – and there was a sense of inevitability about their innings. It seemed they didn’t truly believe they could knock these runs – and so it proved as they fell just shy of 50 runs short, and were always well behind the run rate. With 15 overs remaining, the Proteas were already needing 10 an over – though Pakistan did their best to keep their opponents in the game, dropping six catches as South Africa looked to blast their way out of trouble.
But it all proved in vain – the win keeping Pakistan well in the hunt considering their favourable remaining schedule – the loss meaning South Africa will look to restore some pride in their remaining fixtures, but knowing even with wins, it will have been a hugely disappointing tournament for this proud cricketing nation.
Kagiso Rabada, who has taken six wickets in the tournament to date, summed up the feeling in the Proteas dressing room after the Pakistan loss : “It’s not a great feeling, we are very disappointed. We tried so hard at practice and spoke about what we needed to do, but unfortunately we just couldn’t bring it out on to the field of play. We prepared and did our analysis but execution is the key. It is disappointing. Many lessons have to be learnt. At times we were unlucky, but at times we let ourselves down. ”
There will be an inquest into the failings of the South African team, who now have almost two full weeks to endure and remain in the UK, with their final match against Australia not taking place until July 6th. The decision not to accept the offer of A.B de Villiers to come out of retirement for the World Cup will be scrutinised, as will the selection but non appearance of fast bowler Dale Steyn. The batting line up looks very weak – no South African batsman has scored more than 70 in an innings so far, and only Rassie van der Dussan averages more than 40.
It will be a long and soul destroying wait in the UK for the South African team to get through, knowing they will face the wrath of their nation when they do return home.
SOUTH AFRICA – WORLD CUP RESULTS AND REMAINING FIXTURES
- 30/5/19 vs England – LOST by 104 runs
- 02/6/19 vs Bangladesh – LOST by 21 runs
- 05/6/19 vs India – LOST by 6 wickets
- 10/6/19 vs West Indies – NO RESULT due to rain
- 15/6/19 vs Afghanistan – WON by 9 wickets
- 19/6/19 vs New Zealand – LOST by 4 wickets
- 23/6/19 vs Pakistan – LOST by 49 runs
- 28/6/19 vs Sri Lanka
- 06/7/19 vs Australia