South Africa v West Indies, Champions Trophy, Group B, Cardiff June 14, 2013

No blame on Pollard after 'sad end' - Bravo


West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo wished there had been an extra ball to prevent what he called a "sad end" to a thrilling match which led to his team being eliminated from the Champions Trophy on net run-rate.

Before Ryan McLaren started what turned out to be the final over, West Indies were four runs ahead of the par score, which was 186 for 5 after 26 overs. After just one ball, which witnessed Kieron Pollard caught brilliantly at wide third man by Dale Steyn, the equation had changed in South Africa's favour as the par scores were tied and West Indies had played their delivery of the tournament.

Bravo along with his predecessor Darren Sammy were left stranded in the wet as the South Africans vanished within a moment when the umpires decided the rain was too heavy.

When Steve Davis and Rod Tucker decided to call off the match it was roughly 20 minutes after the official closing time of 7.22 pm which accounted for the extra hour allocated in the playing conditions. In fact, it is understood that Andy Pycroft, the match referee, had thought hard about imposing a penalty on South Africa, who it turns out were slightly behind the over rate. But the match officials had been lenient to both teams while allowing as many allowances as they could to extend the game despite the late drizzle which was making things difficult for everyone.

In the end Bravo made it clear he was not blaming the umpires. "I must be honest that I am disappointed with the way the game ended," he said. "But I am not disappointed at what the umpires did - they had a job do and do to the best of their abilities. We as players have no control over any decision they make.

"I think it would have been fair to both teams and to the fans if that extra ball had been bowled or something like that. It was very difficult for both teams," Bravo said. "It was a sad end to what would have been a fantastic game. I know the fans would have loved to see the finish. But that is how it goes some time."

Bravo also gave his backing to Pollard despite the game-changing dismissal. "Why should we blame him? His innings along with Marlon Samuels allowed us to get where we were at that point of time. Kieron did his part. Unfortunately he got out. The game was still in our hands. Kieron did his part. Sammy was to bat, Myself was to bat. Narine was to bat. It was a great run chase."

Minutes before the media conference, Bravo had walked into the indoor school for the after match presentation with his laces untied. You could see him try hard not to let his emotions show too much and he tried even harder to put on a smile as the South African pair of AB de Villiers and Colin Ingram gave him man hugs while passing their commiserations.

The day before the match Bravo said the onus was on South Africa, who had succumbed to pressure previously in big matches, thereby earning the unwanted moniker of chokers. Now, 24 hours later, Bravo was trying hard not to choke himself.

As disconsolate as he was, Bravo said despite a rain-filled Friday, both teams had managed to stir up a lot of excitement. Despite a stiff target he always had the belief in his batsmen to surmount the challenge.

"South Africa batted very well, and my guys, the way how we went out there and the run chase, we always thought that 230-odd on a small ground with a fast outfield [was gettable] and we always backed ourselves actually to get right back into the game. Up until the last ‑‑ up to when Kieron got out, we were right there within striking range.

"So, I'm disappointed we didn't go all the way, but I must say I give credit to all my guys. They played very well. We should be proud of ourselves but we have struggled in this tournament, and we are just looking forward to building some momentum and trying to build a stronger one‑day team."

Although the Duckworth-Lewis par score was being displayed after every over on the big screen, teams have fumbled at times with working out exactly where they need to be. Considering the power hitters present in their lower order, West Indies would have remained confident of chasing down any target.

"It's always good to be ahead," Bravo said. "We were right within range, one run behind or something like that. Kieron got out at a crucial time, but as I said, it's a great opportunity for us to learn from this situation.

"There is no reason for us to actually blame or point fingers at anyone. We should be proud of the way how we went about the short chase, but unfortunately we did not make it to the next round, but these things can actually make us stronger as a team."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anne on June 17, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    I have to add my comments here. I attended both the WI v Pak and WI v India matches and the DL score was clearly indicated on the scoreboard BALL BY BALL and at the end of each over, so I see no reason or excuse as to why the WIndies lost this match, even with the rain. Their whole strategy of going about the run chase was wrong. THey should have kept their eyes on the DL score from ball 1 and made sure they were either par or just ahead after each over. Obviously I realise this is not always possible especially with the likes of Steyn bowling, but they let the run chase slip so far behind they then had to crash out the runs (and only after Sarwan ran on with a message!), lost wickets in the panic to get the runs back at par, and then eventually lost the match by effetively 1 run. Even Mikey Holding on commentary said that the didn't need to worry about DL at first as they would be able to catch up and that they should have faith in the weather! In summer in England!? Wrong Mikey!

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    As a past cricketer and a current keen obsever of cricket, I am very proud of criketerers like Bravo who represent the game with HONOUR and their country equally well have to say. Sad no doubt that WI are OUT, but they did not die in VAIN. Vijay Krishnan Los Angeles

  • C on June 16, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Bravo is a commendable captain - a true ambassador for cricket as the gentleman's sport.

  • Dummy4 on June 16, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    All these years RSA faced the wrath of d/l method. But finally its time to turn around the fortunes. People are blaming windies for being unlucky. Even RSA bowlers had no clue with the wet ball and those conditions. They bowled really well up until the 15th over. But once it was drizzling down consistently, the ball became wet and all of a sudden windies batsmen pounced on them like cheetahs. All in all a fair effort. having said all this, the rain and toss are gonne be a huge factor in semis and final because of the d/l method. This method is totally unfair for teams batting first and must be scrapped ASAP! #ICC you listening?

  • Android on June 15, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    Real dumb cricket by Pollard ....should've had the presence of mind to know where West Indies should've been on D/L....

  • Android on June 15, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    well played...bravo

  • buz on June 15, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    Very classy from Bravo. This was a very hard way for the game to end - such a good game. I have always supported SA but Windies are my #2 team and I feel for them. Playing tournaments like these in England in always problematic with the weather factor. The ICC should look at some way of incorporating spare days to allow for the impact of weather to be minimised. Obviously the all powerful media need to be involved. Can you imagine if this had been the final game?

  • Craig on June 15, 2013, 11:11 GMT

    can't blame John Dyson for this one ...

  • Carl on June 15, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    West Indian players hate playing in these conditions. The damp, cool English weather was never going to be a comfortable environment for them, so I didn't expect a memorable tournament. Still, some of the squad need to take a look at themselves - and not for the first time. Moving forward, it is time to forget about guys like Sarwan, Fidel Edwards and Rampaul. They never reached the heights expected of them in the earlier stages of their careers, and it is unlikely that Marlon Samuelsesque late blooming will be evident with these three. Time to blood some younger bowlers, namely Delorn Johnson, Jason Holder and Miguel Cummins. The cupboards are far from bare, so don't waste good stock selectors - lets see what these guys can do (Roach needs support).

  • KISH on June 15, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    As I said in another posting, D/L rule should only apply to the completed overs. You can't just change the target in retrospection. This is complete injustice. Pollard had to go for the target to win the match. Even if he knew that his team would be behind if he got out on that ball, he would have still gone for it. Because, he can't foresee the game getting abandoned after that ball. This is like two teams playing each other, thinking they are ahead and after the match, someone decides who won.

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