COLOMBO — AB de Villiers admitted that South Africa would have to “raise our game and improve a lot against India” in their final game today if they are to have a chance of sneaking into the World Twenty 20 (T20) semifinals after a second successive defeat in the Super Eight stage of the tournament.
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South Africa were handed an eight-wicket hiding by Australia at the Premadasa Stadium on Sunday after another mediocre batting display in which the top order again failed to make any impact.
South Africa owed their semi-competitive total of 146-5 to a last-gasp, brilliantly improvised 32 not out from just 19 balls from Robin Peterson but the bowlers had no answer to opener Shane Watson’s power as he blasted 70 from just 47 balls to all but confirm victory.
“We knew we had to get the two openers out early and we came close with Watson, but that was the game-breaker. We bowled well to him but couldn’t take our chances against him. We’re all very disappointed but we have another chance on Tuesday and we know we’ll have to lift our performance big time,” said the South African captain.
“It’s hard to put a finger on it. We started badly and finished badly. We didn’t bat well in the first six or seven overs and lost too many wickets. Robbie P batted very well and it was a good knock from Fudgey (Farhaan Behardien) so I was very happy with that. But we just couldn’t get any momentum going in the innings,” De Villiers said.
While the captain admitted there were shortcomings with the batting, he refused to accept that there were any problems with the bowling attack – apart from a lack of runs to defend.
“We have good variation in our attack. The bowlers have all the bases covered with bounce, pace, swing and spin. You have to take wickets in T20 cricket if you want to win games and we didn’t do that. They did, and they put us under pressure,” De Villiers said.
“We didn’t choke tonight. We were outplayed by a better team from ball one. We’ll have to try some different combinations and improve a lot against India who we have to beat convincingly to have a chance. But they’re still world-class players and I still back them, but they haven’t come off so far and we may have to try some different players. No excuses though, we just didn’t play well enough.”