ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

South Africa's early World Cup exit

Weak middle order cost South Africa - Kirsten

ESPNcricinfo staff

April 5, 2011

Comments: 35 | Text size: A | A

JP Duminy heads for the nets, Bangalore, February 14, 2011
JP Duminy formed part of South Africa's fragile middle order that Gary Kirsten believes ultimately cost them in key games © AFP
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Gary Kirsten, former South Africa opening batsman and India coach, believes that South Africa's early World Cup exit was caused by their fragile middle order. South Africa crashed out of the tournament in the quarter-finals after a 49-run defeat to New Zealand. They failed to chase 222, after losing eight wickets for 64 runs.

"The most important thing in those games is to have an experienced middle order," Kirsten said in Mumbai, where his stint as India coach ended with World Cup victory. "I just felt that they fell short in the middle order in this World Cup."

South Africa's middle and lower middle order regularly consisted of JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis and Robin Peterson who collectively scored 426 runs in 21 innings at the tournament. Together, they have played just 135 ODIs. Morne van Wyk and Johan Botha were also used, but neither were able to firm up what became known as a soft middle order.

Daniel Vettori admitted that New Zealand thought that if they could get South Africa's top four of Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers out, they could exert pressure on a frail middle order. Former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur also blamed the middle order for the team's exit and said that the chokers tag still affects them and will only leave them when they win an ICC event.

Kirsten also thinks the term "chokers" had a negative effect on the team, although like outgoing coach Corrie van Zyl, he blamed the media for perpetuating the word. "It's tough what they are going through. You guys [the media] really spin it big that they are chokers. It is not a nice word to be labelled. I understand opposition media using it to their advantage but the worry is when the South African media put it out there."

Having played in three World Cups for South Africa, including the 1999 event where the term chokers was coined, Kirsten feels a certain empathy for the what the current crop of players are going through. "I think [Graeme] Smith said after the game that they lost that ,'We do not know [what goes wrong], we are trying our best and we doing what we can. We want to get over this but we don't know how.' Please understand it's not easy. I feel sad for them."

Despite their recent troubles Kirsten has no doubt about the quality of the South African side. "They are a great cricket team and they will continue to be." Kirsten played 101 Tests and 185 ODIs for South Africa and is widely considered to be among the favourites for the position of head coach, which van Zyl vacated at the end of the tournament. South Africa are set to announce their shortlist of six names for the position in the next few days.

© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 35 
Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 18:11 GMT)

why whole media is talking about south africa .england qualify two time to final but didnt make it.newzealand qualify 6time but didnt qualify to the final. what word should be use for these teams?

Posted by Hindh on (April 7, 2011, 2:20 GMT)

When it comes to ICC events every team lifts their game. Look at india they didnt have a half decent bowling attack, but they lifted their game and won the cup. After all the hype and hoopla of the SA bowling they got knocked out in QF. Kirsten if he becomes coach must teach them how raise their game when it matters and not win useless bi-lateral series at home.....

Posted by   on (April 7, 2011, 1:41 GMT)

SA needed experienced Gibbs in middle order. .....................................Aus missed Gilly as opener.........................................................Keep building teams for future on & on and keep losing in present on & on.............great strategy....................They plant a tree.....when it is fully blossomed and begins to give fruit they cut it it is a pity................nonesense..........................................Dhoni didn't falter and kept Sachin....Sachin delivered and Dhoni succeded.

Posted by Spelele on (April 6, 2011, 11:04 GMT)

Again, I must say that I totally disagree with Kirsten. When the same team chased down a total close to 300 against his own team, nobody said anything about a "brittle" middle order. The truth is, the top order did not do their job and bat through. You can't blame the composition of the team that lost to NZ. It was actually great to see the movement away from the static composition where you had lower order "all-rounders" who could score a quick 30 or 40 runs and win the match, but who were also "neither here nor there" players. Such players might have done in that match, but to attribute the loss to their absence is skewed. What S.A adopted was an attacking mindset; the kind that tells the opposition "I will bowl you out cheaply, or restrict you to a below-par score (which they did); the onus is on you 2 try getting past my formidable top six and exposing my 'understrenght' lower order". What you can blame is the excecution of the plan by the classy top-order who didnt do their job.

Posted by Morpheus273 on (April 6, 2011, 8:42 GMT)

Gary himself played in tough situtations and knows how SA feel on being tagged CHOKERS. There has been a lot of talk about Kirsten taking up SA job and raising them to the heights that India has achieved under him. But, I am very sure that even if Gary does take up the job, the SAffers would not be able to reach the highs that India reached under him. Why? Indian team has been through so many ups and downs and by culture Indians have struggle in their veins. They struggle and then come up with flying colors. They respect the people who help them in crunch situation and is a major part of Indian culture. SAffers on the other hand don;'t have a culture like India. The WHITE-COLLAR people who make up the SA team don;t understand what respect is. Prime examples are two SA bullies Smith and Kallis. There is a term in hindi -"KANJAR", meaning shrewd, meaners and disrespectful. SAffers are are perfectly aligned with this term. Indians had respect for Gary and vice-versa, the bonding worked.

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

he himself was one of the chokers!!!

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 6:43 GMT)

Hi.. My favourite team other than India is South Africa. I think South Africa have won a ICC trophy. They won the ICC mini WORLD CUP IN 1998 the first edition which ws later renamed as ICC Champions trophy. But yes they have missed the big arena ICC world cup opportunity in 1992 ( rain hit matchand 1999( Klusener,donald mistake). Hope they win in 2015 in Aus/Newzealand.. 1998: S. Africa 2000: Newzealand 2002: India/Srilanka ( Joint Winners) 2004: West indies 2006: Australia 2009: Australia

Posted by BDHUNTER on (April 6, 2011, 5:52 GMT)

Request to Gary to Accept the challenge from his country.....He needs to workout the weakness in SA team,as their mental ability breakdown under pressure in knockout,Plz select the best players who can adjust 03 catagory of cricket,Those have no weakness to face any delivery and find the run in hardle stage in game. So far SA have produced good allrounder ,but no matchwinner like the other have such as Hussey,Morgan,Razzak,Raina,Yuvraj who alaways played in crucial part in middle n late order, but SA has no such typies of player(Though they had Lance previouly),so request to gary to bulid player according to the Batting order not with name,I suggest theose player Ingram,Du plesis,Miller,elgar,Van jaarsveld,Vandiar,Rossou and 1 player of U19 D.Hendrcik should need to work out to find out best from them. I hope he will bring the confidence among player and team will be mixed up with experience with seniors. Finally D. Jacobs shoul be included for T20 or LOI.

Posted by BDHUNTER on (April 6, 2011, 4:52 GMT)

I think there is no other alternative of gary in SA to remove "C".

Posted by   on (April 6, 2011, 3:45 GMT)

@justout.... who siad its a worthless INDIAN TEAM.. wen writin on a big media, u hav to mind ur words. this team only went to finals of 2003 WC, and nw the WC itself is theirs and wl remain forever. SA proved worthless by not even crossing the knock-out stage of any world cup.. only SA r the worthless test playin team. even NZ r worthy coz wen it cmes to big stage, they giv their full heart to win.tats wat happnd @the quarters. IT WAS NZ WHO WON. SA DIDNT LOSE. giv credit to NZ

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