Pakistan v South Africa, World T20 2012, Super Eights, Colombo September 28, 2012

South Africa upbeat despite defeat

  shares 31

South African captains' reactions to shock defeats have changed recently. With Graeme Smith, it was always fire and ire. He would spit out words defending his team but his eyes would remain cold and empty. With AB de Villiers it's giggle and grin.

So far, de Villiers has decided not to take things as seriously as his predecessor. That may change if South Africa crumble when it really matters. For now, they have only been beaten in a group match and if they perform well enough in their next two, de Villiers' response will look like a masterstroke.

Instead of focusing on his own range of misjudgements - not bowling the spinners out and batting too far down the order himself - de Villiers chose to focus on the half-full side of losing. He used the word "proud," to describe how he felt after South Africa's performance. It was an unusual choice given the ultimate result but not too odd when considered in the context of the defeat.

A South African side of old would likely not have come back into the game three times. They probably would not have been able to get to 133, because they may not have had the middle-order presence of JP Duminy. They probably would have been so spooked by not being able to pick Saeed Ajmal that they would have collapsed for less than 90. They would probably not have the spinners to make early breakthroughs or the gut and heart to take the match into the final few overs. For that, there is reason to be proud.

From a position where South Africa could have lost by an enormous margin, they ended up losing by only two wickets. It may be simply because their opposition was as unpredictable as only Pakistan can be but it may be because they have made small progress, both in the skills department and from a mental perspective.

Robin Peterson, who was one of the bowlers that shoved South Africa back into contention and has been part of the national squad for almost a decade, thinks so. South Africa fought from 28 for 3, to post 133 and that recovery gave them hope that they could win. "I think we had enough runs," he said bullishly, despite South Africa's below-par total. "We thought we had a good chance to defend it but it's not every day that someone scores a special innings like that."

Umar Gul's blitz put the contest back in Pakistan's hands and South Africa could do nothing but acknowledge that he changed the match. That is something they have been unable and perhaps even unwilling to do in the past.

What remains is to place similar importance on their own failings. The batting recovery was admirable but de Villiers may have made a difference if he came in higher up. That could speak to the concept of the floating line-up as a whole, which South Africa have stuck with under Gary Kirsten. Although it has worked for them so far, it adds a degree of unsettledness to the team and digressing from it, to a more traditional looking batting order today could have yielded a different total.

The same can be said for the use of bowlers. They came back exceptionally after Pakistan were off to a flier and pegged them back. To ask that they did it a second time, after Gul's onslaught may have been too much. But to ask that slower bowlers are used on surface that suits them would not be but it was a road South Africa weren't willing to go down.

"Hindsight is always a perfect thing," Peterson said. "AB made the calls and he brought on bowlers that he thought were going to make an impact. It's difficult to say who could have made an impact when but we stuck to our gameplans. Maybe we need to revisit one or two things."

An admission, at least, that some rethinking would not be wasted on them. That may be the third way of responding to defeat: with thought. Instead of anger or frivolity, genuine analysis.

Some will say South Africa choked even though they did not. De Villiers seems to be able to recognise that this defeat was not catastrophic and how he responds will be telling as South Africa aim to map a different course at this event.

It seems as though his players know that, too "We are at a different tournament and we've got another opportunity to get it right," Peterson said. "We are doing things slightly differently behind the scenes and so hopefully things will go better for us."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Good Lesson for SA, now they should trained how to play against Spin Bowling.

  • POSTED BY Gregg22 on | September 29, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    Upbeat? Why, because they've been carrying the dead weight of "golden boy" Albie Morkel? Because their best bowler might have sustained a serious injury which might render him unfit for important upcoming games? Upbeat? Really? That was the most horrible display of death bowling i've seen in a long time. Did they all suddenly lose their ability to bowl the yorker? Yes it was a high pressure situation, but as an international cricketer or any sportsman for that matter, you will seldom find situations that aren't. That was far below par, period. He (Albie) is a serious liability with the ball and his batting leaves much to be desired. Saying that he doesn't get enough time to play himself in is irrelevant because that is what his job is coming in so low down the order. Donald has his work cut out for him, because this could result in disaster.

  • POSTED BY PAKISTAN_2012 on | September 29, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    I want Abdul Razzaq in Next match.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Full credit to Umar Gul..

  • POSTED BY Narbavi on | September 29, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @Inducker: Totally wrong, he still is the greatest player ever, you should check his stats, even in t20 you should take a look at some of his performances, this man is colossus!!

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    Yes, it was disappointing, but if this is the only game in which the Proteas (we're not Bokke any more, BokkeForever, live with it) choke then at least we've got it out the way. Now all we have to do is beat Australia and India. Puddysticks. As for the team the next time we play, the first move should be to drop Richard Levi; he fails way more often than he succeeds. Move Jacques up to open - to score 50 off 50 balls and 80 off 70, the way he does so often in IPL cricket - and bring back Faf du Plessis, for his fielding if nothing else. The boy can do the job, and we should stick with him. And, yes, AB should bat higher. We've got Duminy to bolster the lower order

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    I second Uhuu......Luck favours BRAVES...... Everyone was sure ....SA is unable to exert pressure of BIG games....Good Luck fro the rest of the games specially to braves....

  • POSTED BY sherishahmir on | September 29, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Love to c the confidence of SA captain, they fully deserved to be the champs of this tournament otherwise the game has its limitations, no doubt v unlikely win of Pak, but credit must be given to Pak bowling to restrict SA to 133,hope Pak live to their expectation of T20 format which most suit to them as their past t20 performance spoken about, all the best to Pak against India & SA for rest of tournament, both r my favorites, both r really in poll of death.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Me as a cricket lover , I love cricket & Pakistani Cricket Then South Africans Cricket, SA playing cricket by profession but we Pakistanies playing cricket as a Passion, thats a difference between Pak & SA. AB doing good for his team and for his Country. no one capton never doing wrong things against his team. SA win all the match mean if total balls are 240. SA palys well 230 balls, But 10 balls which Gull plays thats the PASSION which i want to told you all. Critisizing someone is not good in Gentelman game. Permoting every player is great attitude towreds the great cricket game.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    So, When everyone in this world is afraid of Steyn, Morkel and co. Then Umar gul showed the way how to hit them out of ground. How many players in this world can paly same innings against S.A as gul did, I think no one can play in such a pressure that gul did. Kallis, Amla and co don't know how to play Pak bowlers. Pakistan has shut the mouth of their haters by exposing S.A batting and S.A bowling and also lazy amla fielding.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    Good Lesson for SA, now they should trained how to play against Spin Bowling.

  • POSTED BY Gregg22 on | September 29, 2012, 9:16 GMT

    Upbeat? Why, because they've been carrying the dead weight of "golden boy" Albie Morkel? Because their best bowler might have sustained a serious injury which might render him unfit for important upcoming games? Upbeat? Really? That was the most horrible display of death bowling i've seen in a long time. Did they all suddenly lose their ability to bowl the yorker? Yes it was a high pressure situation, but as an international cricketer or any sportsman for that matter, you will seldom find situations that aren't. That was far below par, period. He (Albie) is a serious liability with the ball and his batting leaves much to be desired. Saying that he doesn't get enough time to play himself in is irrelevant because that is what his job is coming in so low down the order. Donald has his work cut out for him, because this could result in disaster.

  • POSTED BY PAKISTAN_2012 on | September 29, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    I want Abdul Razzaq in Next match.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Full credit to Umar Gul..

  • POSTED BY Narbavi on | September 29, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    @Inducker: Totally wrong, he still is the greatest player ever, you should check his stats, even in t20 you should take a look at some of his performances, this man is colossus!!

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    Yes, it was disappointing, but if this is the only game in which the Proteas (we're not Bokke any more, BokkeForever, live with it) choke then at least we've got it out the way. Now all we have to do is beat Australia and India. Puddysticks. As for the team the next time we play, the first move should be to drop Richard Levi; he fails way more often than he succeeds. Move Jacques up to open - to score 50 off 50 balls and 80 off 70, the way he does so often in IPL cricket - and bring back Faf du Plessis, for his fielding if nothing else. The boy can do the job, and we should stick with him. And, yes, AB should bat higher. We've got Duminy to bolster the lower order

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    I second Uhuu......Luck favours BRAVES...... Everyone was sure ....SA is unable to exert pressure of BIG games....Good Luck fro the rest of the games specially to braves....

  • POSTED BY sherishahmir on | September 29, 2012, 6:04 GMT

    Love to c the confidence of SA captain, they fully deserved to be the champs of this tournament otherwise the game has its limitations, no doubt v unlikely win of Pak, but credit must be given to Pak bowling to restrict SA to 133,hope Pak live to their expectation of T20 format which most suit to them as their past t20 performance spoken about, all the best to Pak against India & SA for rest of tournament, both r my favorites, both r really in poll of death.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    Me as a cricket lover , I love cricket & Pakistani Cricket Then South Africans Cricket, SA playing cricket by profession but we Pakistanies playing cricket as a Passion, thats a difference between Pak & SA. AB doing good for his team and for his Country. no one capton never doing wrong things against his team. SA win all the match mean if total balls are 240. SA palys well 230 balls, But 10 balls which Gull plays thats the PASSION which i want to told you all. Critisizing someone is not good in Gentelman game. Permoting every player is great attitude towreds the great cricket game.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    So, When everyone in this world is afraid of Steyn, Morkel and co. Then Umar gul showed the way how to hit them out of ground. How many players in this world can paly same innings against S.A as gul did, I think no one can play in such a pressure that gul did. Kallis, Amla and co don't know how to play Pak bowlers. Pakistan has shut the mouth of their haters by exposing S.A batting and S.A bowling and also lazy amla fielding.

  • POSTED BY shovwar on | September 29, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    First of all I give it to Umar Gul for that brave innings. Congratulation Gul. He single handedly beat SA. As simple as that. Though Pakistan almost snatch defeat from the jaw of a victory. I predicted this game to be a low scoring game. But I was lil wrong on my prediction. I predicted SA to be bowled out by a strong Pak attack at around 150. But SA was below that. They did not bat to their full potential. I predicted a SA victory with 150 on the board cos i believe that they can defend 150 with Pakistan. But 133 would always be less and it was Pakistan's game to lose which they almost did. Gotta give credit to SA to pull the match all the way to the wire. Brilliant bowling and fielding. This is not a knock out match so SA shouldn b worried. But if i was the captain of the SA team maybe i could have done better than wat AB did at the depth bowling. And I am pretty sure about that.

  • POSTED BY mjrizvi on | September 29, 2012, 4:56 GMT

    When Shoaib Malik out Nobody even think that Uner Gul played a memorable inning of his life and i think AB also think that but Gul played some brave shots and fortune favour him......This is the turning point of the match that AB did'nt read. He did not take Umer Gul seriously and Umer Gul smashed the whole SA team with Umer Akmal. Also full points to the Pakistani Team management for give many surprises to SA team like Raza Hasan and start with Spin bowling attack. For the next Big match with India, Pakistan should include Abdul Razzak instead of Shoaib Malik or Yasir Arafat.

  • POSTED BY bensonandh on | September 29, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    It was a simple game for pakistan but they did a lot of mistakes and make it complicated on the other end AB also made some mistakes but in game which counts is final result.........Now everyone should admit that SA chokes on big occassions.........Good thing after this match for Pakistan team is that they are back on their course to win fightback games which went missing after Inzi, Wasim, Waqar,Imran retirements

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | September 29, 2012, 2:38 GMT

    AB De Villiers made a big mistake by not giving Botha or Duminy to bowl in the latter stage of the Pakistani innings. It was a spinner's pitch and persisting with fast bowlers in the dying overs meant Gul connected easily.

  • POSTED BY Shongololo on | September 29, 2012, 1:42 GMT

    Yes, poor AB captaincy certainly cost us this game...and potentially a semi final spot. I'm a big AB fan but he got it wrong bowling people like Kallis and A.Morkel when the spinners still had overs up their sleeves. The side also needs a few changes - Richard Levi is a pretender, perhaps good at provincial level but sadly exposed on the international stage; similarly Albie Morkel. He just cannot bowl at this level and does not deserve a spot on his batting alone. Behardien is another who must make way. Open with AB and Hash, our two best batsmen, who need as much time at the crease as possible, have Faf du Plessis and Justin Ontong in the middle order (both of whom also provide a spin option) and select Lopsy as a true bowler. I'm sure AB will learn from this, with support fram Gazza and AD.

  • POSTED BY ahmi43 on | September 29, 2012, 1:02 GMT

    shazia javed i love ur comments and u

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2012, 0:56 GMT

    I got the feeling Proteas take T20 very lightly. As they r No 1 in test they think t20 is a fun. ABD's comment showed how lightly they take t2os now. Their bowlers at the end showed how much fun they get frm short pich.

  • POSTED BY Aq84 on | September 28, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    This is actually funnier than many of articles in Page2

  • POSTED BY crashed on | September 28, 2012, 22:43 GMT

    I agree a bad day at office dies not imply a choking team. We can set the score right and take it further from here. Nicely played but use the spinners next time if they perform we may just pull it off :0)

  • POSTED BY Shazia_Javed on | September 28, 2012, 22:07 GMT

    Well done Umar and Gul. SA bowlers didn't bowl yorkers & that resulted in Gul to swing the ball well. While Pakistan won this match, most of us will forget the horrible mistakes that were made during the chase of relativly easy target. Nasir Jamshed showed that the so-called 'Miandad factor' is contributing not a 'BIT' in improving the batsmen's mindsets. The coaches and the staff are not helping the team to develop the mentality to read the game plan & execute accordingly. Kamran played a horrible shot... Afridi, I wonder how long it will take the management & the fans & Afridi to call it the 'Day'. Shoaib Malik-Mr.Experience, what worth he has in playing such innings? any first class batsman can perform better. He seriously has some good contacts to be in this team after all such performances. Razzaq is being wasted. The way Yasir/Tanvir are performing, Razzaq can easily beat them on the bowling form, not forgetting his much added value with the bat. Pakistan got lucky today!

  • POSTED BY hoopy1 on | September 28, 2012, 21:32 GMT

    What a game, AB having to learn the hard way . Massive 2 games coming up for SA now . The Aussies look unbeatable , cant wait till sunday . surely have to make AUS bat first cause looks like they can chase anything. Get the two Ws out for big fat 0s

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    now it is just a tale of errors for south Africa , still there are too many positives for south Africa but on the other end Pakistan have to solve its issue , they must sit down and rethink what they are upto

  • POSTED BY Inducker on | September 28, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    Much though I admire Jacques Kallis: today, I think he is too scarred by previous short form of the game failures to succeed in knock out games. His style of play simply requires a slow start which means he is a test player and will always be a test player. Though he might help pose a total, he is not the kind of player to turn these helter-skelter matches around particularly when under pressure. If he was, he would be greatest player of all time. Today if you analyse his performance, he was too determined to show he could hit the cover off the ball and an old batting fault surfaced. Great shots belted straight at fielders - something that we have often seen in the past. It was difficult for any batsmen to go off pop on that pitch against that bowling line up. As an experienced player, he would be expected to have summed up the situation, kept his powder dry, should have held back in those early overs, eased the ball into gaps and taken the

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | September 28, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    I don't think it's necessary to describe AB's reaction as 'giggle and grin', that's insulting. He made a lot of mistakes which he deserves to be criticised for but no need for comments like that.

  • POSTED BY Seether1 on | September 28, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Before people start saying SA choked, lets just make it clear that they did not. They were lucky to even make the game as close as they did after such a poor showing with the bat. In the end a few poor captaincy decisions also aided in the defeat. Besides there was no pressure in this game, so SA lost because Pakistan played better than them. End of story. N.B. Please drop Albie Morkel. He looks like a decent club cricketer, just not international class.

  • POSTED BY BokkeForever on | September 28, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    Very poor captaincy by AB. Could potentially turn out to be fatal to SA chances of progressing. As a SA fun I am really tired of the same old story every major tournament. Come on boys, pull it together. We once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. No more excuses, time to deliver. Next game is a must win or its another early goodbye.

  • POSTED BY uhuu on | September 28, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    I would say bad Captaincy by "AB and 100/100 for Hafeez. Pakistan was just lucky and luck favour braves.......

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | September 28, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    No South Africa you did not choke this time. You were befuddled. Pakistan's got many trickery for you in their bags. Can't wait to see Pakistan in South Africa. No-1 spot for Pakistan up for grabs.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    south africa played brilliantly after being reduced to 133.It was gul's onslaught that turned the match in pakistan's favour.otherwise being 77 for 7 I thought that the match for pakistan is over.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    im a pakistani....n was so relieved wen pak win...bt later i felt v sorry too 4 s.a.....they desrve to be in the final this time....hope they wil do better next time.....n i disagree wid the writer tht they didnt chocked.... well.ofcourse they panicked by not giving the ball to the right bowlers..... umar gul came in 18th over...they opened the bowling with raza hasssan,who almost got amla bt kamran missed the catch...it was a spinnerz paradise n s.a spinners did excepionay well.how on earth can u forget them....its like forgetting ur name in panic !!!!!!

  • POSTED BY Cricketfan08 on | September 28, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    Well South Africa should be proud that they played competitive cricket. But should also be seriously concerned they way they let Pakistan come back into the game and clinch victory. There is little doubt there were some poor decisions make by AB.

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  • POSTED BY Cricketfan08 on | September 28, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    Well South Africa should be proud that they played competitive cricket. But should also be seriously concerned they way they let Pakistan come back into the game and clinch victory. There is little doubt there were some poor decisions make by AB.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2012, 18:53 GMT

    im a pakistani....n was so relieved wen pak win...bt later i felt v sorry too 4 s.a.....they desrve to be in the final this time....hope they wil do better next time.....n i disagree wid the writer tht they didnt chocked.... well.ofcourse they panicked by not giving the ball to the right bowlers..... umar gul came in 18th over...they opened the bowling with raza hasssan,who almost got amla bt kamran missed the catch...it was a spinnerz paradise n s.a spinners did excepionay well.how on earth can u forget them....its like forgetting ur name in panic !!!!!!

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2012, 19:16 GMT

    south africa played brilliantly after being reduced to 133.It was gul's onslaught that turned the match in pakistan's favour.otherwise being 77 for 7 I thought that the match for pakistan is over.

  • POSTED BY Desihungama on | September 28, 2012, 19:24 GMT

    No South Africa you did not choke this time. You were befuddled. Pakistan's got many trickery for you in their bags. Can't wait to see Pakistan in South Africa. No-1 spot for Pakistan up for grabs.

  • POSTED BY uhuu on | September 28, 2012, 19:53 GMT

    I would say bad Captaincy by "AB and 100/100 for Hafeez. Pakistan was just lucky and luck favour braves.......

  • POSTED BY BokkeForever on | September 28, 2012, 20:06 GMT

    Very poor captaincy by AB. Could potentially turn out to be fatal to SA chances of progressing. As a SA fun I am really tired of the same old story every major tournament. Come on boys, pull it together. We once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. No more excuses, time to deliver. Next game is a must win or its another early goodbye.

  • POSTED BY Seether1 on | September 28, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Before people start saying SA choked, lets just make it clear that they did not. They were lucky to even make the game as close as they did after such a poor showing with the bat. In the end a few poor captaincy decisions also aided in the defeat. Besides there was no pressure in this game, so SA lost because Pakistan played better than them. End of story. N.B. Please drop Albie Morkel. He looks like a decent club cricketer, just not international class.

  • POSTED BY SurlyCynic on | September 28, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    I don't think it's necessary to describe AB's reaction as 'giggle and grin', that's insulting. He made a lot of mistakes which he deserves to be criticised for but no need for comments like that.

  • POSTED BY Inducker on | September 28, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    Much though I admire Jacques Kallis: today, I think he is too scarred by previous short form of the game failures to succeed in knock out games. His style of play simply requires a slow start which means he is a test player and will always be a test player. Though he might help pose a total, he is not the kind of player to turn these helter-skelter matches around particularly when under pressure. If he was, he would be greatest player of all time. Today if you analyse his performance, he was too determined to show he could hit the cover off the ball and an old batting fault surfaced. Great shots belted straight at fielders - something that we have often seen in the past. It was difficult for any batsmen to go off pop on that pitch against that bowling line up. As an experienced player, he would be expected to have summed up the situation, kept his powder dry, should have held back in those early overs, eased the ball into gaps and taken the

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2012, 21:24 GMT

    now it is just a tale of errors for south Africa , still there are too many positives for south Africa but on the other end Pakistan have to solve its issue , they must sit down and rethink what they are upto