Proteas’ Smith tips Australia

2010-05-11 12:34

South Africa captain Graeme Smith said Australia were the

favourites for the World Twenty20 title after his own side crashed out before

the semi-final stage.

An 11-run defeat by defending champions Pakistan in ­ St Lucia

yesterday sealed the Proteas’ fate after South Africa had lost by 39 runs to

England in the second round Super Eights phase in Barbados last weekend.

“I think Australia are playing the most dominant cricket, they have

beaten teams comprehensively throughout this tournament,” said Smith.

“England played positive cricket against us, if they can maintain

that level of play I think they are probably the one team left that can

challenge Australia’s pace attack,” the left-handed opening batsman added.

Turning to South Africa, Smith said a lack of preparation as a side

was behind their failure to match their unbeaten run to the semi-finals in the

2009 World Twenty 20 in England.

“Going into that tournament last year we had played a lot together

as a team, we were coming off one of our most successful seasons and the

confidence in the group was good, players were playing well, everyone knew their

role,” Smith said.

“Here we have come out of eight weeks of not being together and

haven’t really gelled in terms of performing our roles and the confidence

doesn’t seem to be there.

“We seem to string one discipline together every game, not all

three.

Maybe it needs to be looked at in terms of the player group and maybe we

need some fresh faces, some new energy ... that’s something the selectors need

to decide,” he added.

“The team is more important than any individual really and it is

about getting the right players involved to be successful.”

On paper, South Africa had a powerful batting line-up at this

tournament, including Smith himself, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, AB de

Villiers and Albie Morkel.

But only De Villiers (53) made much of an impression against

Pakistan as South Africa were stymied by spin.

“Ultimately we kept losing wickets throughout and never found any

flow or momentum to our innings, we never really changed the momentum at any

stage,” Smith said.

“I think it’s a bit of a confidence game, if you can get a good

score under your belt early on and get that confidence it allows you to play

with some freedom.

“There is no real pattern in some games. Australia get off to

flyers then on Sunday they were four or five down and they still posted 170

against Sri Lanka,” he said.

“It is the same with other teams, one day the top order comes off

and then the other game the middle order posts the total.

“It’s about having a group of players with confidence that really

believe and know the game very well and know their strengths, those teams that

have been successful are doing that.”

– Sapa-AFP


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