Pakistan v South Africa, ICC World Twenty20, St Lucia May 10, 2010

'We were just not good enough' - Smith

Cricinfo staff

Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, offered no excuses after his side crashed out of the World Twenty20 following defeat in a must-win match against Pakistan. Seamer Charl Langeveldt took a career-best 4 for 19 to restrict Pakistan to a moderate total but the powerful South African batting misfired to end up 11 runs short.

"I guess you run out of excuses," Smith said. "We were just not good enough again. It's very, very disappointing."

Only three boundaries were scored in the first ten overs of the chase, putting a lot of pressure on the batsmen who came in during the second half of the innings. AB de Villiers was the top-scorer with 53, but there was little support or big-hitting from the rest.

"Today we got strangled a bit with the bat," Smith said. "We bowled pretty well to restrict Pakistan, but we were tense with the bat and lacked fluency and positivity. AB was the only one who really played. That's been the story of our tournament. We've struggled to get all three disciplines together in one game."

Smith also hinted that South Africa might need to rethink their Twenty20 squad after the under-par performance in the Caribbean. "There is a new selection panel and they must look and make the best decisions for South African cricket - that's what it comes down to," he said. "The team is more important than any individual really and it is about getting the right players involved to be successful - it is up to that selection panel to make those decisions."

South Africa had been knocked out by Pakistan in the previous World Twenty20 as well, but that defeat came after a hugely impressive unbeaten run to the semi-finals. "Going into that tournament last year we had played a lot together as a team, we were coming off one of our most successful seasons," Smith said. "The confidence in the group was good, players were playing well, everyone knew their role really and here we have come out of eight weeks of not being together and haven't really gelled in terms of performing our roles and the confidence doesn't seem to be there."

The early exit follows the first-round elimination in the ICC Champions Trophy at home last year. "You always say you've got to learn your lessons. You have to say, with the talent in South Africa, it's not good enough to perform at this level."

Gerald Majola, the president of the South African board, also expressed his disappointment at the poor display from a team which was highly rated coming into the tournament. "The hardest pill to swallow now is that the squad was not marginally beaten on any of the finish lines, but faltered well short of their targets in the early stages," Majola said. "We now await an explanation for this from the team and management."

The Pakistan camp was much happier after the victory set them up for a semi-final spot. The star with the bat was the promising youngster, Umar Akmal, who smashed a counter-attacking half-century after Pakistan got off to a horror start. He had support in the form of quick cameos from brother Kamran and captain Shahid Afridi.

"The boys performed really well," Afridi said. "In the beginning it was not a good start, but then Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal and myself, those partnerships were good and 140-150 is a good total on this track."

After the match Afridi started praying for an England win in the second game of the day. It worked and Pakistan went through to the top four.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shahzad on May 12, 2010, 11:30 GMT

    South African are always are competitive but what was the reason they lost all important match badly. I think they need a good leader. It does't mean that Smith is not a good player, this is about leadership, the thing he fails to prove in every bid match. Pakistan also have the same problem but they are quite LUCKY.

  • Umair on May 12, 2010, 6:15 GMT

    I agree with Mark King....... South Africa have reinforced the CHOKERS brand given to them.

  • Kashif on May 12, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    I am 100% sure that, Smith's captancy always be a big question mark for all the major tournament. The south African batsman actually taking pressure in the big match, that actually need to be change. You cant imagine a team who loss their three quick wicket in their power play and making only 18 runs and then they won the match against the SA. First of all SA batsman giving the chance to Pakistani bowler to overcome on it. AB start the proceeding but it was too late. JP not performing well for a long long time, but he is still on the final eleven. Question is that why? Is it only Morkal who always come in the tight situation and won the match for SA? Why Smith not permoted him in the slot of JP. I am a paki but the way SA team played in this match, I am sorry to say that its below Bangladesh's effort. I hope now Pakistan become a dengerous unit. InshAllah victory against the Aussies giving them a real boost. Pakistan just try to survive their 2 quickees. Pakistan InshAllah win the semi

  • Vaidhyanarayanan on May 11, 2010, 19:36 GMT

    I can only remember these words from a commentator during a match at the Kensington Oval, Barbados "Australia and South Africa are the best suited to be in the finals of this tournament. But St.Lucia is on the way" Can't help having a chuckle...

  • prakash on May 11, 2010, 19:09 GMT

    The South African team needs to be restructured.....Smith shud pave way for Botha in both the ODI's and T20's and its high time that Boucher retires from ODI's and T20's...Its been 7 years since Smith has taken over from Polly and there is no major trophy in the basket....players like Rilee Roussouw, Dean Elgar,rusty Theron,Faf du Plessis, should be given a chance and I dont see the advantages in pickin Van der merwe....

  • Rahul on May 11, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    I feel the South African Cricket management needs to be changed, despite having world class batsmen in their side but still underperformed, except two players Ab De Villiers and Jacques Kallis we playing well throughout the tournament, it should be a team effort and not individual effort which can win the tournament, i am really disappointed with such a dismal performance in the world cup by South Africa, they will need to learn and put that learning into practice. I feel Ab De Villiers should keep instead of Mark Boucher in Twenty20 International, i do not see Mark Boucher having the calibre to play Twenty20 matches, and again they will also have an extra bowler, batsmen or all rounder to play in the squad.

  • LAWRENCE on May 11, 2010, 15:43 GMT

    Graeme Smith is not a good captain and should take the blame for his sides poor performance. Maybe he should be brought down to earth by being relieved of the captaincy.

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    Guys just chill, except south africa and england rest all teams playing equally good cricket. Pakistan making it into semis shows the way to other three teams in group F that cup is still open and everything is possible, you just have to win when it matters most. those who will choke will make a joke of themselves. its all about handling pressure and Pakistan is so good in doing it as you dont expect them to do it. also their unpredeictable nature makes them most dangerous team as all game plans fail. Hopefully Team India will get it right too and all da best for todays game.

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2010, 12:25 GMT

    Just one word........CHOKERS

  • Neo on May 11, 2010, 12:18 GMT

    Cricket is a funny game, T20 is funnier, and the World T20 format is the funniest. A team that has managed to beat just a minnow Bangladesh and regular chokers South Africa out of the 5 games played till now, sit happily in the semi final spot! Even before Australia, who are still unbeaten, can be assured of a semi final place, Pakistan are in. Needs a re-look.

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