It was always in the LeftBacks’ plan for me to do a post-mortem of the Proteas’ semi-final. As the match came to an end and my lounge bizarrely filled with dust, causing my eyes to water, followed by an equally bizarre case of 10-minute glandular fever that created a giant lump in my throat, I grabbed my laptop to write a spitting rant.
I instinctively wanted to write about heads needing to roll for the selection of Philander over Abbott; about how we continuously get shafted by Duckworth/Lewis; or about how many runs we could have scored had we been given 50 overs. But I decided to hold off for a few hours to gain some perspective. So, as I sit here, it’s 8pm and I haven’t seen any form of daylight since 11:59am this morning.
Where did it go wrong?
Many people have said that we lost to a better team. I’m not totally convinced by that – I don’t think the two sides can be separated. What Miller did (49 from 18 – SR of 272) was cancelled out by McCullum (59 from 26- SR of 226), while Faf’s 82 was just bettered by Elliot’s 84. AB’s 65 was matched by Anderson’s 58. New Zealand won a thrilling game of cricket and unfortunately we were on the other end of it.
If we start going through “should have” “could have” and “would have” scenarios, we go back to long before the match even began. Why did the selectors go with Vern, who didn’t seem 100%, rather than our most in-form bowler, Kyle Abbott? Abbo has been superb in this tournament as our main death bowler.
We can speculate further: what if Behardien had held onto his catch? What if AB didn’t slip and break the stumps, but instead, made the run-out chance count? What if, with three ball to go, when New Zealand stole a Bye, Quinny’s throw had hit the stumps? The Kiwi’s would have had a new batsman that needed six from two balls. But we can’t think like this, guys – it will kill us.
All in all, our boys gave absolutely everything they had, and this showed post-match as they all sat on the ground crying. That’s all we could have asked for, and unfortunately it just wasn’t enough.
I can’t remember us ever having a better side and greater chance at winning a World Cup than we did this year. But who knows, maybe many of them will still be around in 2019. AB, Hash and Steyn will be 35, big Morne, JP and Faf 34, Abbo will be 31, Rilee 29 and young Quinny will be all of 26. Perhaps we’ll have a very similar side then, but with four more years of experience and playing together. All we can do is hope….. hope that one day, in our lifetime we will see the Cricket World Cup trophy on South African soil.
Well played boys, I’m super proud of you.