SA v SL, World T20 2016, Group 1, Delhi March 28, 2016

Mistakes cost South Africa - du Plessis

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'Bittersweet win for us' - du Plessis

It was on the back of "one or two mistakes" against England and West Indies that South Africa's campaign turned sour, said Faf du Plessis after his team had secured victory over Sri Lanka. South Africa failed to defend 229 against England, then scored only 122 for 8 against West Indies, despite having come to the World T20 as one of the favourites.

They were comfortable victors against Sri Lanka, however, restricting the opposition to 120 for 8, before running down that total with eight wickets and 14 balls to spare. As a result, South Africa finished third in Group 1, ahead of Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

"We played good cricket leading up to the tournament and we were consistent in the subcontinent, but a World T20 is a do-or-die tournament," du Plessis said. "If you make mistakes, it's not like a series where you can come back into the series. We made one or two mistakes against England and they punished us for it. Against West Indies, we made one or two mistakes as well. The teams in a T20 world cup are so close to each other, if you're not on top of your game, teams will punish you. Tonight was a good example. Sri Lanka made one or two mistakes in their batting, and we capitalised."

Sri Lanka had moved to 45 for no loss in the fifth over, before Aaron Phangiso claimed two quick wickets to slow them. South Africa continued to strike after the ninth over, taking the last eight Sri Lanka wickets for 45 runs. Hashim Amla then led the chase with an unbeaten 56 from 52 balls. Du Plessis said it was disappointing that his team only put on their most complete performance after they had already been knocked out.

"We've had signs of playing really good cricket through this tournament," he said. "The England game was as good a batting performance as you will see, but obviously not a great bowling performance. Same thing with West Indies - we didn't bat as well as we wanted to, although, on that wicket, 10 more runs would have been par. In both games we did one half of the game really well.

"Tonight, bowling first - as a team that's our strength - the bowlers did really well, and we chased down a small total, which is never easy on these wickets. It was really important for us to have a really good partnership to start off with. That was the only way the team will be in trouble - if they get wickets up front. So after the run-out, it was nice that we could make it a bit stable. It is very bittersweet to be going back to South Africa after the World T20. It was not where we wanted to be. We've only got ourselves to blame."

There is the possibility now that several of their older players may already have played their last World T20 match. Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers and Amla are all 32, and the next World T20 is scheduled for 2020.

"The sad thing is that it's now four years to the next World Cup - it's not just two," du Plessis said. "A few players here won't be there then. That's going to be the challenge now for the squad: to try and rest some of the senior players, to see if they want to go to the next World T20. With that you can breed some young players. There's not a lot of T20 cricket coming up this year, so it will probably take a backseat."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gforcebuster on March 30, 2016, 12:37 GMT

    Upul Tharanga is the only front line batter SL have with numerous match defining innings, 6,500+ international runs and 48 fifty plus scores including 14 tons. UT had 11 MOM awards (his last MOM award was just 3 weeks before laying off for 3 yrs in July 2013). It is high time to bring him back. He was absurdly overlooked for nearly 3 yrs with less than a handful of random chances allowed to him despite being a Test series winning highest contributor in the decider (93 & 45) Vs Pk Aug 2014 (during the SOLITARY stint of 4 consecutive matches given to him in any format since July 2013 ).

    On the other hand Thiri, Chandimal, Kusal Perera & the rest were given 50+ consecutive chances in every format, despite repeated failures. Kapugedara, Mubarak, Thiri, Chandi, Kusal Perera had never materialized match defining consistent performances to justify their constant failures or justify the freely granted 50+ consecutive chances over past few years.

    Recall Tharanga.!!!

  • harry.cansco on March 30, 2016, 10:00 GMT

    @DEVANSHU2005 : Rohit is just out of form, but will click, and when he does, you will be all praises for him. Rossouw is not even close to Rohit.

  •   Subhash Venugopalan on March 29, 2016, 19:56 GMT

    They continue to do the basics wrong - look at the amount of extras they conceded. They need to get their basics right first. And then the following need to change :

    1. Not sure what Domingo has bought to the table - isn't it high time he is given the boot ? 2. Selection - as always has been appalling. Why is Steyn playing limited overs games ? He should focus the remainder of the career on Tests. Why was Phangiso not played in the first 2 games ? Hard to explain !! As a back up for Duminy, they needed someone like Ontong who can bowl decent off-spin and not Rilee Rossouw who always seems to get out for 0! Unlike what many ppl think, QDk opening with Amla is fine and leaving AB as a floater at 3 or 4 is not a problem - do not think that contributed to any problems. 3. This team is the best batting line up in the whole competition without doubt.. and also have experience in Indian conditions.... if they cannot win the competition, then hard to imagine who can !!

  • Zole on March 29, 2016, 18:51 GMT

    when you cannot defend 229 , something is definitely wrong

  • diri on March 29, 2016, 16:51 GMT

    That's life ....One day SAF will win a cup. Wont be any time soon.

  •   Amaan Khan on March 29, 2016, 15:44 GMT

    the BIGGEST MISTAKE is Faf as Captain and batting ahead of ABD. No sane person in the world will let ABD bat so low in a T20I. ABD needs pitch time and promoting your own self ahead of ABD is not just selfish but mere foolish. All the bowlers fear ABD and if he is made to come after 12-14 overs, all he can do is slog... look at Virat; he comes at 3 and sets himself in. ABD also needs similar commitment from team management and NEW captain. Stop blaming others for mistakes and accept your own. You have made some of the worst decisions as captain and this has cost SAf early exit. This time it was not choking, but mere "self destruction".

  • bennkempster on March 29, 2016, 14:42 GMT

    You can claim all you want Faf, but the mistakes were incredibly basic and down you YOU as captain. How is it that a world class player doesn't come in until 5? AB DeVilliers is FEARED by opposition teams yet he is consigned to a 'floater' role when the captain bats at 3 and underperforms. Dale Steyn's experience in India and the T20 format was ignored off of the back of one poor spell yet other bowlers were backed whilst continually bowling badly and Rabada was bowled in to the ground leaving him scarred and now fearing failure.

  • docarw on March 29, 2016, 14:10 GMT

    I counted 20 mistakes against England - one wide in every over. Also a mistake not to bowl yorkers, a mistake to let the seamers bowl the last over on spin friendly pitches, a mistake to keep changing the batting order with DeVilliers constantly going up and down the order. He should be at 3 - end of discussion. The match situation and opposition are irrelevant. Its only 20 overs, why would you drop your best bat down the order? There is no time. De Kock has to decide whether to run, based on whether he and his partner are safe running, not on whether his partner is running. Also don't believe in having two mediocre all rounders in the side. Pick one all rounder max. Its 20 overs, the number 8 should never have to bat. If the number 8 is batting you deserve to lose.

  • devanshu2005 on March 29, 2016, 13:28 GMT

    @Harry Cansco - Then it should apply to India's talented "Rohit " or "Nohit" Sharma also ....

  • SL_Boy on March 29, 2016, 13:15 GMT

    As I said before I am so happy we won against Afganistan.

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