Australia, South Africa, ICC World Cup 2023, Kolkata

Australia's captain Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc after winning the second semi-final of the ICC Men's World Cup 2023 against South Africa on November 16, 2023 at Kolkata. Photo: PTI 

That was not remotely close to a choke: SA head coach after semifinal loss to Australia

Kolkata, Nov 17 (PTI) South Africa suffered yet another defeat in a knockout game of a global event but their performance against Australia in the second World Cup semifinal on Thursday was far from a choke, feels head coach Rob Walter.

From a precarious 24/4, South Africa rode on David Miller's counter-attacking century to post a respectable 212 before Australia survived some tense moments to chase down the target in 47.2 overs.

Walter provided his personal definition of a choke, stating, "for me, a choke is losing a game that you are in a position to win.

"In this instance, we were behind right from the word go, and we actually fought our way back into the competition and put up a score that gave us a chance," Walter said in the post-match media conference.

We're 30-40 runs short =============== Walter said his team was 30-40 runs short.

"And then, again, they (Australia) got us to a flier. We fought and we put ourselves back into the game," he said, adding 30 more runs would have made the difference.

"Of course, we were 30 runs or 40 runs short, but still having them seven down.

"So, for me, there's nothing even remotely close to a choke that happened out there today. It's a serious contest between two good teams of the tournament.

"It's gutting to lose semifinal. It was incredibly serious challenge in first 12 overs. To come back from 12/4 the with the way Klaasen and Miller put together, it showed 270 was the total.

"Even 250 would have proved to be a serious total. First 10 overs on either side separated the game. But there were a lot of positives to take home," Walter added.

Asked if they erred in batting first after winning the toss, he said: "To be honest, even the commentators that I've spoken to, no one could predict the pitch to play like that for the first five overs.

"And had it played as we expected it to, then we would have backed ourselves to get 270.

"And once we got 270, because it was turning so much in the evening, we knew that that was going to be our end into the game.

"And ultimately it was, really. We just didn't have enough runs to work with. It's easy to say in the back end of losing, but I think the contest would have been even a touch closer than it really was.

KG has bruised heel ============= The coach further revealed that their pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada had a bruised heel which proved to be a setback. Rabada could bowl only six overs returning with 1/41.

"KG had a bruised heel, that's why we didn't see as much of him in the contest as we would have expected to.

"If you're watching him on the park, you're seeing him limping around. So he bowled, he just wasn't able to deliver 100%.

"And obviously with that, it also led to bringing Aiden on, and Aiden was outstanding the whole way through the game.

"Obviously, a fit and able KG has shown throughout this competition that he was one of our leading bowlers and has been for some time.

"It was a pity, and it was a defining moment in the game to be dead honest." PTI

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)
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