South African skipper Faf Du Plessis said things could have been different had Dale Steyn skipped his short stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League. However, for his team, things have remained the same since the start of the tournament.
Fifth Consecutive Loss
It is indeed shocking that a team that was expected to make it to the Top 4 of the tournament had suffered its fifth loss in just the 7 games they had participated in. Against a demoralized Pakistan, the strong bowling unit of South Africa conceded more than 300 runs and in an effort to chase down the total, the Proteas were restricted 49 runs below the target.
The loss meant that South Africa had lost its opportunity to break their World Cup jinx in 2019. They were the second team after Afghanistan to get knocked out of the World Cup.
Fingers pointed towards the IPL
On asked about his thoughts after an early exit from the World Cup, skipper Faf Du Plessis said that the only thing he could have changed ahead of the tournament was the amount of rest his players had got. Playing in all the three formats of the game, Faf said it would have been better had his players restricted the amount of cricket they played before ICC’s mega-event.
Tried to stop Rabada from going to the IPL
A major reason for South Africa’s failure at this World Cup has been the lack of impact by star-bowler Kagiso Rabada. When he was asked if Rabada’s performance had anything to do with the fatigue factor, Faf said,
“I don’t think we’ll ever have a perfect answer for that because he’s probably biting on too much, but we did try and get him not to go to the IPL; to try and stay and get fresh. That wasn’t the case of — and then when he went there, we were like, let’s try and get him back halfway through the IPL because it’s important, not just for him, but a few other players.”
“I mean, I spoke about it before the IPL even started, that it’s important that we try and find space to rest our three-format players, because they play all the formats all the time, and then IPL.
“So I don’t think it’s not necessarily just the IPL, but it was important for a few guys to rest; and the fact that they didn’t mean that they — you know, they came into the tournament not fresh. That’s not an excuse; that’s just a fact. And KG is — you can see that his pace is probably a little bit down from where he normally is.”
Kagiso Rabada was the best bowler in the recently concluded IPL and with Faf himself having played throughout the season, it is a lame excuse that he gave for their disappointing performances on the field.