fast little loans
It was not quite Dhaka of 18 months ago, when a crestfallen Graeme Smith gathered all his inner resolve to just about hold back the tears when he needed to explain why South Africa had delivered yet another World Cup choke, but AB de Villiers has certainly had a self-examination of his own emotions after South Africa’s premature exit here at the ICC World Twenty20.
De Villiers is not like Smith – in so many ways – but being the Proteas captain comes with all the same pressures, especially at major ICC tournaments. It has a strange effect on usually jovial characters, like De Villiers, and plays out into strange actions. Smith despised the “choke” label, and reacted angrily to the mere mention of the word sometimes.
De Villiers has no issue with it, and instead even tosses it around without any provocation, like at the beginning and end of this tournament. Instead, he gets riled up by more strategic questions, especially in terms of where he is best utilised in the Proteas’ batting line-up.
Losing is also not something De Villiers is accustomed to. He is a natural-born winner, blessed with an unbelievable amount of skill at most things, not just cricket, so having been at the helm of a Proteas side who have just lost a hat trick of matches, culminating in the one-run defeat to India on Tuesday, has been a chastening experience for him personally.
“We tried hard, but just never clicked in this tournament. We did all the preparation, fought really hard. It’s hard to put my finger on any one thing, we just played poor cricket right throughout. It is very disappointing, especially with all the support we got,” a visibly-shattered De Villiers said.
“I will have to get back home and clear my mind before I start taking any learning out of this tournament. My head is spinning a little bit, not really knowing where exactly we went wrong. It’s a very emotional tournament, especially when you don’t play well as a team.”
When all the emotive reactions have been thoroughly processed, there’s no doubt a comprehensive dossier will be compiled by De Villiers and coach Gary Kirsten’s technical team to review yet another dismal Proteas performance at a World T20 series. South Africa have progressed just once to the knockout stages – in 2009 in England – since the maiden tournament on home soil in 2007.
One of the pertinent discussion points going forward should be the value of T20 specialists, especially if the tournament comes after such a lengthy tour to the United Kingdom that South Africa had just experienced.
Although Kirsten poured cold water on the assumption that fatigue may have been a factor due to their England exertions previously, the hard truth is that the majority of this side had been away from home for three months to the very day of their exit.
“It’s nice to have a few new players in our T20 side, which we have. We have a totally different look to our T20, ODI and even Test team.
“It was important, coming from a long trip. We had a lot of energy coming from the guys that came in like Farhaan Behardien and Francois (Faf) du Plessis.
“They brought lots of energy and it was required, especially after a long tour,” De Villiers said.
In South Africa’s defence, it was arguably the T20 specialists that the team had built their strategy on who failed to deliver at this tournament. Richard Levi’s half-century in the group opener against Zimbabwe has almost been forgotten, much like his whirlwind century against New Zealand back in February, which now seems light years away because of his almighty failures for the remainder of the tournament that ultimately cost him his place.
Likewise, patience with Albie Morkel’s persistent struggles may finally have drawn to a close. The final game against India may have been a dead-rubber, but with South Africa requiring 14 off the last six balls, and Morkel smashing the first for six, the Titans man simply had to take the Proteas home, and not leave the balance to his younger brother Morné, if he wanted an extension to his international career.
South Africa’s next international commitment is the tour of Australia in November, by which time De Villiers hopes that he and his team would have fully recovered from the disappointment.
“We felt very well supported in this tournament, and that’s the thing that hurts most. The South African media and people back home expect a lot more from us, and unfortunately this time, we couldn’t deliver. It’s not time to give up hope. The guys have performed in the past, and that’s showed me that I can’t lose my faith.”
The Cape Cobras star topped South Africa’s batting averages with 45, at the very brisk strike-rate of 145. He also claimed five wickets at 17.80, conceding just 6.84 per over.
Jacques Kallis may have taken more wickets, one more than Steyn’s six, but the Phalaborwa Express bowled his heart out in this tournament to give South Africa a fighting chance in all their games. He bled just 82 runs in his 17 overs, with the remarkable economy rate of 4.82.
Australia-bound Botha seemed to have one foot in Adelaide already during this tournament. He was nowhere near his usually miserly self, picking up just one wicket at 96, with an economy rate of 7.57.
The young left-armer played just one game, bowled two overs, conceded 24 runs, did not bat and dropped none other than Shane Watson when running in from long on. A tournament to forget for Parnell, especially in comparison to his break-out in England in 2009. – Cape Times