Faf du Plessis has stated that the win over Sri Lanka on Friday didn’t feel like it meant much and was a bitter sweet feeling after the Proteas failed to qualify for the knockouts of the World Cup. Man of the match Dwaine Pretorius was happy the team showed what they were capable of on the day.
Given the names on paper, South Africa should easily have been one of the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals of the World Cup. But, poor decision making and poorer performances meant they lost six of their first seven games and were one of the early teams to get eliminated.
With nothing to play for except pride, du Plessis and Co. put up a clinical show against Sri Lanka. After bowling out the Lankans for 203, a 175-run partnership between Hashim Amla and du Plessis helped South Africa chase the target down in 38 overs. Du Plessis felt the win was justice to the players the side had in the dressing room.
“It was a good game, we did ourselves justice with the talent we have in that dressing room. Set up by a good bowling performance. [This win] feels bittersweet. It doesn't feel like it means that much. It's a little bit too late. But the basics of batting were shown today,” said du Plessis in the post-match presentation, reported ESPNCricinfo.
“We haven't had guys batting through, and big partnerships, but that was the case today. One big partnership, and suddenly everything seems so much easier. Bangladesh was the one that really took the wind out of our sails. England were too good for us on that day. Bangladesh really sucker-punched us in the stomach, and then we took that into the next game, the first week really set us back, but we cant use that as an excuse," he further added.
The South African skipper was all praise for Dwaine Pretorius, who was the standout performer on the day with his bowling figures reading 3/25 in his 10 overs. This was his first World Cup match and the bowler managed to make a mark that would be staying for long.
“Dwaine was exceptional. We've been trying to get him into the XI, but it's a balance thing. The nature of the wicket told me it needed to be straight lines with the ball, and that's why I brought Dwaine and Andile on early. Line and length was harder to face than pace on that wicket,” said du Plessis.
Pretorius also threw light on their bowling strategy after the game and stated that although it was late, but his team showed what they were capable of in the World Cup.
"I'm just happy we got over the line today and I'm glad I could play a part in that. I try and work as hard as possible, and most guys give me a bit of flak for that, but at the end of the day, I'm glad I was ready to take the opportunity that came to me. Me and Faf spoke after my third over, and we realized hitting the top of off was the best option on this wicket, and I'm glad i could execute today. The guys are stoked, we showed what we are capable of, I'm just sad that it's too late," said Pretorius.