Seniors let South Africa down

South Africa cricket team is on the verge of being knocked out of yet another marquee tournament after its recent loss to West Indies in the World T20.

South Africa's captain Faf du Plessis walks off the field after its loss against West Indies.   -  REUTERS

Barring the exception of the inaugural Champions Trophy in 1998 – then known as the ICC Knockouts – South Africa has managed to find innovative, at times unfortunate, ways to exit the marquee tournaments, since its readmission into cricket a quarter of a century ago.

Come Sunday and the trend could well continue as the Proteas find itself on the brink of elimination even before playing its last league game. If it happens, though, South Africa will have only itself to blame.

The Protean pace battery has failed to fire in all its three games so far. And when it came to the big game against the West Indies on Friday night, the star batsmen failed to fire. No doubt that the Jamtha wicket was slow but the pitch had little role to play in any of the top six dismissals. The quartet of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and David Miller tallied just 21 runs combined when it came to rising to the occasion, which resulted in the team putting on a mediocre total of 122 for eight against a strong Caribbean line-up.

Captain du Plessis admitted the failure of seniors to shoulder the responsibility was the primary factor for the Proteas staring at an early exit. “It’s not unexpected of them to do it well and for me, the difference in getting across the line in big games is when big players step up,” said du Plessis. “I’ve always enjoyed big moments and big games; I feel it brings the best out of me personally, so I’m very disappointed tonight that I couldn’t make the play for the team.”

South Africa will now be desperately hoping for Sri Lanka to beat England on Saturday night to give itself a chance to make it to the semis. Du Plessis was obviously hoping for it to happen.

“I’m a fighter and I know we’ve got a lot of fighters in our team. We’re playing for South Africa, and wearing the Protea badge. I’ll be very, very disappointed (if England win),” he said. “We came here as a team expecting to win this tournament, so for now I’m just hoping the results will go our way. I know Sri Lanka can beat England definitely and I know we can beat Sri Lanka, so hoping that someone looks after us.”