CT 2017: Graeme Smith disappointed with South Africa's performance

  • CT 2017: Graeme Smith disappointed with South Africa's performance

CT 2017: Graeme Smith disappointed with South Africa's performance

Like Sri Lanka, Pakistan recovered from a discouraging defeat in their first match to then triumph over an out-of-sorts South Africa in Birmingham four days ago.

If India loses this game, then South Africa will reach semi-finals along with the victor of Pakistan vs Sri Lanka game from Group B.

Junaid Khan earlier struck in his second over to dismiss opener Gunathilaka cheaply, after Pakistan won the toss and made a decision to bowl first in the last Champions Trophy group match.

While everyone is asking the same questions about why this keeps happening, or what can be done, nobody within the team has any good answers.

Before becoming the captain of the cricket team, Virat Kohli had said that it won't be an easy task for him to replace Dhoni. It was a game in which the desire to win mattered a lot, and South Africa simply did not turn up.

India will nearly certainly face Bangladesh in the semi-final at Edgbaston on June 15.

While De Villiers conceded that South Africa put up a "very poor batting performance", he rejected the idea that they panicked when they went from 76/0 to being bowled out for 191.

Du Plessis does not think South Africa's collective disappearing act necessitates changes in personnel and expressed confidence in the squad that represented the country at this event. "Before going out in the middle, we had a chat in the huddle where I said I wanted to see everyone's intensity go up and that is conscious effort which I want to see from everyone in such a big game", said Kohli.

South Africa responded with back-to-back maiden overs but consecutive boundaries for Dhawan just about kept India on course.

It was Dhawan's third 50-plus score in the competition, while skipper Kohli made amends for a rare failure against Sri Lanka in style, notching up his 41st ODI half century. Indian opening bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah bowled immaculately and didn't give South African openers any freebies.

He also praised India's batting, rating it "a 10-on-10 performance".

He also backed his captain AB de Villiers despite increasing public opinion that a change in leadership could be the key to changing South Africa's major-tournament fortunes. But when Faf du Plessis guided a Ravindra Jadeja delivery to point, Hardik Pandya was fast on the ball and accurate on the throw and de Villiers was caught well short despite diving.

"I'm a good captain and I can take this team forward and win the World Cup I believe, I love doing it".

A brilliant performance against South Africa by Pakistan, an outstanding run chase against India by Sri Lanka, and the reward for those victories? South Africa looked fidgety, nervy and anxious.