South Africa’s batting unit, and especially the senior players, must take responsibility for the defeat to West Indies, says Faf du Plessis.
The Proteas lost by three wickets in Nagpur on Friday night and now have to rely on Sri Lanka to beat England on Satruday to keep their chances in the tournament alive. If that happens, South Africa will have to beat Sri Lanka on Monday and hope their net run-rate is good enough to get them in the semi-finals.
Du Plessis felt they lost Friday’s game in the first 10 overs which resulted in them falling around 15 runs short of a defendable total.
‘The batting was the difference between us winning and losing,’ Du Plessis said at his post-match press conference.
‘We needed to get to 130/135 to have a par score. I thought we were 10 runs short, and that’s the batting unit’s problem. I thought we were very frantic there up front. Obviously you never want to start your innings with a run-out, that puts you back and in a negative mode because you have gifted the opposition a wicket.
‘To lose three or four wickets so quickly, that broke our momentum and that was the difference between us getting to 140. The guys batted beautifully in the middle, David Wiese once again had a great game,’ he said.
‘I can’t fault the bowlers. There was a lot of pressure and stuff said about our bowling unit over the last two weeks or so, but they fought really hard and especially in a big game like that you want your big players to stand up and obviously myself, Hashim [Amla] and AB [De Villiers], one of us needed to anchor the innings and be there.’
Du Plessis praised Quinton de Kock for the innings he played and said he showed the other batsmen how to adapt to the slow wicket.
‘Quinton played a mature innings. That is something that he hasn’t done a lot,’ Du Plessis said. ‘Normally he plays his aggressive game and he’s very free. This time the shoe was on the other foot and he adapted brilliantly and showed the rest of the batting unit how to go about it on that wicket.’
There were questions afterwards about why Dale Steyn was left out for a second game in a row.
Du Plessis explained the thinking behind the selections: ‘It was between Dale and [David] Wiese. I think we got it spot on with the team. David Wiese had an amazing game. Obviously we saw that the wicket gripped a lot. KG [Kagiso Rabada] for us the last year has been amazing. He’s been picking wickets up regularly. For me it’s a guy that is on top of his game so that is why he played. And Chris Morris is an all-rounder so he’s not really competing with someone else.
‘It was close between Dale and Wiese, we were thinking about either the extra batsman or extra seamer, but I think we got it spot on. A wicket like that, everything about it was just pace off.’