Former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith has slammed the performance of the South African team in their do or die match against India, where they were thrashed by eight wickets. In his column for the ICC website, Smith said that he was hurt by South Africa's 'unrecognisable' performance.
Riding on a brilliant all-round performance, India registered an eight-wicket win against South Africa and became the first team from Group B to enter the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy. And not surprisingly, former South African captain Smith was dismayed with the performance of the Proteas in the crucial match. "I still care deeply about the environment that I spent so much time building as a player, and it hurts to see such an unrecognisable South Africa performance," Smith wrote in his column for the ICC's official website.
"The side have been missing that spark, or that intensity to their play that characterises South Africa cricket...The positivity to our play and the energy that we've come to expect from this group of players just hasn't been there," he added.
The Indian bowlers dismissed South Africa for a paltry total of 191 runs in 44.3 overs at The Oval on Sunday. And the former opener had hoped that at least the South African top order would create some pressure on the Indian pacers. But it wasn't to be the case as the Proteas suffered a massive batting collapse.
"What I would have liked to have seen from the guys at the top of the order is, at least, an attempt to put Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar under pressure. Anything to put them off their game and bring their plans in to question," Smith bemoaned.
The former southpaw also blasted the defensive tactics employed by South Africa on the day, saying, "Our approach was far more conservative, and if you're going to play that way, you can't afford the calamities that unfolded in terms of the two mid-innings run outs. They will kill any momentum you have, and suck the energy from a dressing room," he stated.
In response to South Africa's total, India achieved the target with 8 wickets and 72 balls to spare. And the 36-year-old praised the India’s tactics in the game which helped them play positive cricket.
"Today, those key moments in the game where you look for someone to take the initiative just seemed to pass South Africa by. India played the game with more intensity, it took more risks and stuck to its method and game formula far better than the South Africa team. Mindset, and your approach to the game, are those one percent factors that make the difference at this level. When those factors are not there, you pay the price and it's the team's approach that has been the missing ingredient," he wrote.
Finally, after their comprehensive win against South Africa, India are now the favourites to be in the finals, according to Smith. "...and we've seen from its record at tournaments previously that it almost revel in the pressure of those occasions," he remarked.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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