Temba Bavuma admits the “wheels probably came off” for the Proteas in the field against Pakistan in Sydney on Thursday.
Pakistan were in trouble at 43-4 in the seventh over but scored 117 runs in the second half of their innings to post 185-9.
A rain delay when the Proteas were 66-4 saw their innings reduced to 14 overs and the target to 142, which required them to score another 73 runs in five overs. They finished on 108-9 to suffer a 33-run defeat (DLS Method).
The Proteas, though, will still qualify for the semi-finals if they beat the Netherlands in their last group match in Adelaide on Saturday.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a concern,” Bavuma said of his side’s first loss at the T20 World Cup. “Probably is a bit of a wake-up call. I thought the first 10 overs, we were superb. We were able to get them under pressure. Then after that, the wheels probably came off.
“Conditions changed a little bit with the ball going to skid on. I think in terms of our awareness, in terms of adapting to that, we were very slow. We allowed them to get momentum into their innings, and they were able to get a formidable score on the board.
“We’re going to use our pace. We’re going to use our bounce. Unfortunately for us today, it probably wasn’t the right plan considering the conditions out there.
“Like I said, I don’t think it’s a big concern. Yes, there are talking points for us, areas that we can learn from. Maybe it’s a performance that we needed to kind of bring us down back to earth.”
“Maybe the intensity lowered a bit for the guys. Individually, the guys know, but it’s definitely not the standard of fielding that we pride ourselves on,” he added. “I guess we had a bit of a lifeline probably because of the way we played up until this point, but I think from now on it’s about us playing our best cricket. If we come unstuck, we come unstuck. Today we didn’t play our best cricket.
“Maybe it’s a performance that we needed to kind of bring us down back to earth,” said Bavuma who made 36 off 19 balls – his highest T20I score of the year.
“It’s been a while since I hit the ball in the middle,” he said. “I felt a lot better today. I guess I just tried to enjoy it.”