South Africa were let down by their skills in a team record 243-run loss to hosts India at the Cricket World Cup on Sunday, but with a semi-final place already booked there will be no panic in the camp, says coach Rob Walter.
India dominated the game from the first ball as they posted 326 for five on a tricky wicket, before skittling South Africa for 83 to inflict a heaviest ever defeat on the latter in One-Day Internationals.
Walter believes his side did not come close to putting their best foot forward on an off day.
“To be fair, it is just a day that we were out-skilled,” he told reporters. “I didn’t feel that was a 320 pitch, it was too much on that deck and then from a bowling point of view they put us under pressure right from the word go.
“They are a hell of a team, very well balanced and highly skilled. There’s no way around it. They’ve won every game and they’ve won them well.”
It is a result that laid bare an undeniable truth about this South African side — they struggle chasing targets.
The side have five dominant wins batting first, easily passing 300 on each occasion, but have lost to the Netherlands and India chasing, and scraped home by one wicket against Pakistan having been set 271 to win.
Walter says fielding first against India was also a hindrance for his bowlers.
“We have been able to swing the ball, the new ball, and most of the time we’ve been doing it at night (bowling second). Bowling first, there wasn’t as much swing as we’ve been used to,” he said.
South Africa play Afghanistan next on Friday, a chance to regain some confidence and form going into their semi-final.
Should his side meet India again in the tournament, Walter says there is no reason why they cannot win.
“This is a funny game and you get taught new lessons and surprised every single day,” he said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the tables turned next time around.
“The beauty of it is that there may well be another shot for us and we’ve been given an opportunity to learn.”
- World Cup 2023
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