Proteas captain Faf du Plesssis admitted that they have no answers to counter big-hitting Chris Gayle.
‘We tried everything, but when Chris is in that kind of form, there is not much you can do.
‘We knew we had to get him early, otherwise it was going to be very very difficult.’
Gayle hit 90 off 41 balls and in partnership with Marlon Samuels (60) put on 152 for the second wicket. That was enough to bring the record target of 232 into reach.
‘We said in the changeroom after our innings that they were going to get close to that score and we had to be ready for that, especially with the batting line-up they have. We expected a fight from them.
‘But Chris is something special. It’s very hard to contain him because he puts so much pressure on the bowlers. You just have no answers to it. We tried to slow the game up, to make him wait for the ball, but then we fell behind in our over-rates. I also tried to use the spinners as much as possible. But he waits for the left-arm spinners, or the ball turning into him, and he targets them.
‘The other guys in the team are also dangerous, but without Gayle, they are a normal team. But he makes them a super-human team.’
The captain admitted that they didn’t help matters with poor execution.
‘To be honest I don’t think we landed our execution in the beginning. We tried to get some yorkers in to them but there were quite a few full tosses. It’s difficult to control a yorker with a new ball and if you miss anything he is just going to punish you. You can have game plans against Chris, but he has done it to the best in the world. Our bowlers can’t take it too personally, he’s just a quality player.’
Du Plessis became the highest scoring South African with his innings of 119, but he said, ‘I am very proud of my efforts, but so disappointed we didn’t win the game off it.’
Darren Sammy, the West Indies captain said he had been relaxed, even when faced with such a total.
‘At halftime the boys were really confident. They said that if South Africa could get 230 then so can we. We just had to break it down. Two guys had to get 50, striking at 190, with the rest chipping in and that is what happened,’ he said.