'We haven't hit our peak yet' - Ferguson
South Australia could have well been playing a game of darts while Guyana were cycling a road race. So different were the two teams' missions in this mismatch that they barely noticed each other as they each went about their business during their final group stage match. South Australia used it as a stepping stone to the semi-finals, aiming for targets and sub-targets along the way. Guyana were only playing to claim their participation certificate and cross the finish line with some self-respect.
"For us it was about pride. We had some pride coming into the tournament and we wanted to regain that and give our fans something to cheer about," Ramnaresh Sarwan said. For at least two-thirds of the match they did that. The bowlers managed a piercing start when they captured three early wickets, although that was the end of their success. The batting had far more to boast about. Even though, for most of the chase, it didn't look as though Guyana were really aiming for the target, they reached their highest total in four matches, 176 for 7.
Sarwan felt that his young side, who only arrived in South Africa four days before their first match may have been unsettled with the short preparation time. Despite that, he said they ended on a high and will go home with their heads held high. For this match at least, it was mission accomplished. "We found our best form towards the end of the tournament, which is the same thing we did in the Caribbean. Today, we showed what we are capable of; we were just not consistent in showing that."
By contrast, South Australia, who were already assured of a semi-final place before this match, wanted to "hit our straps and nail our game" according to Man of the Match Callum Ferguson. They found themselves on the back foot early on for the first time in the tournament when the top order was plucked cheaply. Was that a blessing in disguise, destined to give the middle order some time at the crease? "You can say that and it was fantastic to see Cameron [Borgas] notch up a good score and guys like Daniel [Christian] and Tom [Cooper] get a bit of a knock."
South Australia posted the second highest total of the tournament, which is made even more impressive because of their initial collapse. "We lost early wickets this time, which we hadn't done before but we knew if we hold some wickets in hand and create a good platform, we can capitalise in the last few overs."
Ferguson was equally pleased with the test the bowlers were given, after being called on to defend on a pitch that is better suited to batting. "Our bowling wasn't the best on the day but it was good to see that in a pressure situation we still got the win, especially after Sarwan took them really close."
Now that they have been put through their paces in a tense encounter, do South Australia feel ready for the semis? "We are happy with the way we are playing at the moment and they way we have played throughout the group stage. At first, we just really wanted to win the first game, so that we could have a real go at the two Indian sides. We've now got plenty momentum going into the semis."
But Ferguson was quick to issue a critique, and a warning. "We still feel as though we haven't quite hit our peak and we still have another 5-10% to go." The bulls-eye is where they are zoning in on as the tournament reaches its business end, which means whoever they meet cannot afford to be anything other than completely focused.
Firdose Moonda is a freelance writer based in Johannesburg