Despite scoring a brilliant maiden ODI century, Rassie van der Dussen admits the Proteas let themselves down in the important moments of Friday’s defeat by Pakistan.
The visitors got over the line with the final ball of the match to edge the Proteas by three wickets in the first of three encounters.
It was, however, a memorable batting performance by Van der Dussen, who salvaged a disappointing start by the Proteas with an unbeaten 123.
His heroics helped the Proteas from 55-4 to 273-6, which provided the hosts with a decent fighting chance.
But, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam responded with a century of his own before a few costly moments from the Proteas towards the end provided Pakistan with the chance to secure victory.
Van der Dussen dropped a high one at deep mid-wicket in the penultimate over before Lungi Ngidi bowled a chest-heigh no ball, which cannoned into the stumps of Shadab Khan.
‘That catch was a half chance that could have gone our way had I got under it a little earlier,’ said Van der Dussen post-match.
‘But, in the twilight, I never got in a good position to catch it and I barely got a fingertip to it. A hundred overs can come down to one moment. That’s not cruel. It’s just sport; it’s just life. As a professional sportsman you’ve got to be ready for that moment every time.’
The right-hander called it a ‘game of fine margins’, during which momentum shifted on numerous occasions.
Ultimately, it proved to be a tough start with the bat for the South Africans, given the different conditions experienced at this time of year at SuperSport Park.
‘We all know the toss plays a big role in day games here. After losing the toss we were always under pressure. The pitch gets a lot better to bat on as Imam [ul-Haq] and Babar [Azam] showed. The pitch became more true and consistent,’ added Van der Dussen.
Still, he was relieved to get his first-ever ton in Proteas colours under the belt, having played more than 20 50-over matches so far in his career.
‘I’ve been playing for two-and-a-half-years and had a few chances and didn’t quite get there. I was relieved. As a player you want to perform under pressure and we were under pressure early,’ Van der Dussen explained.