London: Describing the loss against Pakistan as ‘borderline embarrassing’, a furious South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis said his team’s performance in the World Cup has been ‘mediocre’. South Africa were knocked out of the World Cup with a 49-run loss to Pakistan here on Sunday.
“The results we are dishing out at the moment, it’s tough. The way we played the game is borderline embarrassing,” Du Plessis said after the match. Du Plessis was left red-faced as South Africa struggled to 259 for 9, chasing 309 against Pakistan. He blasted both his bowlers and the batsmen for their disappointing campaign at the 50-over showpiece.
“It started with our bowling. There were a lot of bad balls on a wicket where if you just bowled line and length it was going to be hard for them. It was a five out of 10 performance with the ball, then the same batting. We started nicely, got a partnership going, then wickets fall,” he said.
“We are a mediocre team at the moment because we are making the same mistakes. One step forward and two steps back is not a good team,” an angry Du Plessis added. He termed Proteas humiliating exit from the ongoing World Cup as the ‘lowest point’ of his career. “I’m a very proud player and captain. Playing for South Africa means a lot to me. There are people rightly and fairly criticising the team because we are not playing the cricket we should. It’s important myself, the coach and the senior players front up to this challenge,” Du Plessis, who top-scored with 63 but did not get any support from the other end, said.
Five defeats from seven matches so far, having beaten only minnows Afghanistan in the tournament, Du Plessis demanded his players take more responsibility. “As much as I can say, or the coach can say, the responsibility lies with the player to sort it out yourself if you are low on confidence. Everyone has played the game long enough to understand you go through highs and lows.”
The captain felt his teammates were extremely low on confidence. “The guys are playing with low confidence and making the same mistakes. It just rolls on, it’s such a snowball effect. The real, honest answer is it chips away at you. You try really hard, then come back the next game and make the same mistakes. It chips away at your confidence and your ego as a player,” he explained.
With two more games to go, South Africa have failed to make the knockout stages for only the second time in the World Cup and Du Plessis felt it might be a case of burnout as they have been playing a lot of cricket. “It’s important we find space to rest our three-format players. They are playing a lot of cricket. That’s the one area I would have changed but it’s not in my hands,” he said.
Du Plessis insisted that he would not leave the captaincy. “I’ve always said the most enjoyment I get from the game is captaining the side. The fact we are playing way below our potential is not something that sits well with me. I’m trying as hard as I can, but unfortunately not everything is down to me. My character is I will try to fix as many problems as I can,” he said.