It's usually the captain's duty to perform the post mortem after even the most grisly of defeats, but Perth Scorchers' skipper Marcus North couldn't bring himself to face the (admittedly tiny) press corps after his team's three-wicket defeat to Delhi Daredevils sent them crashing out of the Champions League, Simon Katich appearing in his place.
Katich, a senior player even in a squad that includes the likes of Brad Hogg, Herschelle Gibbs and Paul Collingwood, didn't mince his words. "We got what we deserved," Katich said. "We didn't prepare as well as we should have, and we paid the price."
The match had been a close one, but both Katich and North had every reason to be a touch grumpy. Leading an undercooked side who hadn't played a competitive match together since their defeat to Sydney Sixers in the final of the Big Bash in January, North also had to do without the services of Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson, who both played for their IPL franchises. The result was a pair defeats to the Titans and the Delhi Daredevils, and a washout against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Katich refused to be drawn into an explanation as to what the preparation problems were, saying only: "I'm not going to go into details about that, but we got what we deserved, simple as that. We haven't shown what we're capable of in this tournament. We had a very good Big Bash last year, but in this tournament we've let ourselves down."
The Scorchers were, indeed, a dominant force in the Big Bash, their successful run ended only by the Sydney Sixers in the tournament final at the WACA. They had three of the top six run-scorers of the tournament in their side in Mitchell Marsh, Gibbs and North. Marsh managed a half-century against the Titans, but neither Gibbs nor North have contributed as much as was needed.
The story was the same at Newlands on Sunday. No batsman made a telling contribution, and as Katich summed it up: "The platform was there, the execution wasn't."
Such are the fine lines by which this tournament is drawn, the Scorchers might still have been in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals had they managed to beat the Daredevils. As it stands, they'll have to make do with a dead-rubber against the Auckland Aces on Tuesday before they fly home. There is little more than pride to play for, and Katich admitted as much.
"I'd like to think they'll have a lot of pride in their own performance and the team's performance," he said. "We certainly haven't played anywhere near what we did last summer, and hopefully that's going to bug quite a few of the guys to put in a good performance to finish well."
The taking of positives is a cricketing staple after every match, and Katich suggested that the silver lining in the Scorchers' campaign was the exposure it gave to some of the squad's less experienced members.
"There's a lot of guys in our squad that haven't played a lot of international cricket, and they're trying to press for higher honours," he said. "It's a great experience for them to come up, and for Beery [Michael Beer] to bowl at the likes of Pietersen, Sehwag and Ross Taylor and face Morne Morkel, because these guys are all very good international players. So from their development point of view it's been a positive, but from a team point of view we've let ourselves down."