After the 49-run loss to Pakistan at Lord’s, which has officially eliminated South Africa from the World Cup, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has accepted that this is the low point of his tenure. DANIEL GALLAN reports.
‘It’s becoming a little bit embarrassing,’ he told the media. ‘We’re trying but it’s just not good enough. Obviously I’m human, so it will keep chipping at me.’
Du Plessis has been rightly praised as one of South Africa’s best captains. He is the only captain in history to beat Australia on their home turf in all three formats and completed an iconic 5-0 whitewash against the same opposition in an ODI series.
Despite not possessing the same plethora of world beaters former captains had, Du Plessis has instilled a sense of grit and determination, transforming the Proteas into more than the sum of their parts. At least, he did so before this World Cup.
‘I’m a very proud player and captain and playing for South Africa means a lot to me,’ he said, visibly impacted by the realisation that this is officially the worst World Cup performance by any South African side. ‘The fact that we are way below our potential is not something that sits well with me. I’m trying as much as I can but unfortunately not everything is in my hands.’
He has been let down by batsmen failing to convert starts and by bowlers failing to live up to their potential with the ball, especially his two strike bowlers up front.
Kagiso Rabada has been especially culpable in that regard, putting in another toothless display against Pakistan with figures of 0-65 from his 10 overs as Pakistan bunted their way to 308-7.
Lungi Ngidi hasn’t been much better. Though he finished with 3-64 from nine overs, he too struggled to exert pressure with the new ball.
‘The two of them have been brilliant for us the last year,’ Du Plessis said. ‘Lungi’s fitness is perhaps the thing that is his biggest challenge. His pace is a little bit down, so that’s taking the effectiveness of him away.’
On Rabada, Du Plessis offered the following: ‘It’s the same with KG. His confidence has taken a bit of a hit. This is probably his first stumbling block as a great fast bowler.’
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