Losing to India in the group stage of the World Cup was an eye-opener for South Africa who hope to rectify their mistakes for a possible battle in the final, feels spinner Keshav Maharaj.
India amassed 326/5 before the spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav shared seven wickets between them to bundle South Africa out for 83 in 27.1 overs.
”I think it was a good trial run. Hopefully, they do progress further in this tournament after the semi-final. We need to just identify areas where we can get better,” Maharaj told reporters at the mixed zone on Sunday.
India have already topped the pool and South Africa are set to finish in the top-three. The two teams can only face each other in the final.
”We’ve played exceptionally well past this point here. It’s just about going back to those performances that we did, and identifying the areas in which we can score against the turning ball.” The win halted South Africa’s four-match winning streak.
”It’s probably a good thing and a blessing in disguise for this team is just to make sure that we iron out our glitches. It’s just a good eye-opener for us to see , ”We played four good games on the bounce, so naturally there’s one game that would go wrong, not to make excuses for the performance today, but I think it’s a good idea and indication of what we need to do better going forward in this tournament, obviously building up towards that semifinal.
”It’s about making sure that we’re practicing in the next couple of games going forward into the semi-final and rectifying it sooner rather than later.
”It’s about going back to the drawing board and trusting the processes that we’ve done really well in this tournament so far,” he added.
Playing in front of a 70,000-strong packed Eden crowd was not intimidating, but India definitely had the home advantage, he said.
”I don’t think it was intimidating. You have to just embrace it as sportsmen. It’s something that we’re not used to, but there’s even more reason to soak it up and enjoy the opportunity.
”We know it’s a hometown advantage, but there’s no excuses in terms of soaking up the atmosphere outside.” Delving on what went wrong for them in the match against India, Maharaj said they probably bowled too many ”bad balls” and could not execute their plans.
South Africa leaked as many as 26 runs in extras which included 22 in wides.
”We bowled too many bad balls and gave them too many scoring opportunities. And that basically took the game away for a little period of time. ”Then from a batting front, we just couldn’t show the lack of intent out there from the start. There were a few soft dismissals, if we’re honest in our opinion.
”Jadeja bowled an exceptional spell to rip the game apart. But, you know, that’s no excuses. We get paid to play cricket, so we’ve got to find a way through it,” he said.