Dhaka, March 26 (IANS) A shocked South African skipper Graeme Smith was at a loss for words after his side’s 49-run defeat to New Zealand in the World Cup quarterfinal Friday, but conceded that they were not “good enough” to make the victory charge.”There is a kind of disbelief. It is hard to describe. I can’t believe we lost. No words to describe how I feel. Just have to take it on the chin. A very disappointing evening,” said a crestfallen Smith, who earlier announced that he would stepdown from the ODI captaincy after the World Cup.
Smith said 221 was a good score, but the loss of six wickets in the space of 38 runs did the team in.
“It’s hard to give answers. We let ourselves down and we let our people down. And there is no excuse for that. We should have won today. But we were not good enough,”
he said, after South Africa were shot out for 172 in reply to New Zealand’s 221-8 at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium here.
Cruising at 108-2, South Africa slumped to 146-8 to lose the script at that stage.
Smith said the batsmen lost their composure after Jacques Kallis (47) got out and failed to score freely. “New Zealand squeezed us. We lost composure as the ball got soft.”
Smith who has announced that he would quit ODI captaincy after the tournament, said he wanted to take some time off.
“I have been captaining for eight years. I want to take some time off. I want to give my full support to whoever takes over,” said Smith, who has been captaining the side since 2003.
Asked about the causes for the defeat, Smith said he could not fault the team. “We trained hard and gave it our best shot.”
On South Africa repeatedly choking in the knock out stages of the World Cup, he said: “This jinx has been going on since 1992. Hopefully in the future the players will be able to go all the way and South Africa will win the World Cup.”
Smith, however, gave credit to New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder for lifting the team with a responsible 83 after they were in trouble at 16/2. The left-anded Ryder and Ross Taylor put on 114 for the third wicket which in the end proved vital in deciding the course of the match.
“The stand between Jesse and Taylor kept them in good stead, but we kept them to 220, which is very gettable. But we lost too many wickets,” he said.
South African coach Corrie Van Zyl has also announced that he would step down after the World Cup.
“Hopefully, we will do well under a new coach and new captain,” he said.