Gibson: Our experienced players let us down

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Ottis Gibson (AP)
Ottis Gibson (AP)

Birmingham - Proteas coach Ottis Gibson has pointed to the fact that his experienced players did not stand up at the Cricket World Cup, adding that they were "hampered" during their campaign.

Wednesday's final over loss to New Zealand means that the Proteas have lost four of their six games at the showpiece, and while there is still a miniscule mathematical chance of them making the semi-finals, they are all but out of the tournament. 

It was another bitter pill to swallow for South African cricket and the Proteas, who have once again bombed at a World Cup.

The reaction from back home has, understandably, been brutal and the Cricket South Africa (CSA) leadership will have a lot to answer for in the days and weeks that follow. 

Gibson is contracted until the end of September, and he acknowledged after Wednesday's match that he was uncertain of what would happen beyond then. 

"It's disappointing, of course. We didn't do what we left home to do. It's still a bit raw, but the initial feeling is one of disappointment, for sure," the coach said after the killer blow at Edgbaston. 

"I can't speak of past World Cups, but certainly in this World Cup it seems like guys have been sort of hampered.

"That's probably the only word that comes to mind at the moment."

The task, once again, will be for the brains trust at CSA to identify why it keeps going wrong for this team at World Cups. 

Semi-final appearances in 1992, 1999, 2007 and 2015 remain the Proteas' best efforts at a World Cup. 

Gibson says he needs to think long and hard about exactly why South African teams struggle to transfer their pedigree into World Cup performances, but he did expect more from his seasoned players. 

"When teams have won World Cups, their experienced players are the ones that have stood up. Our experienced players haven't stood up ... that's just the way it is," he said.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, with a match-winning 106* in trying conditions on Wednesday, showed the value of a senior player stepping up when it matters most. 

"He is a class player," Gibson said of Williamson.

"We've got class players in our team as well, but they haven't shown it on the grandest stage of all. That's difficult.

"There are guys here playing their last World Cups and I would have thought they would want to go out on a high note. The top and bottom of it is that 30s, 40s and the odd 50 are not going to win you a World Cup."

While the fast bowlers were identified as South Africa's major strength in the tournament, Gibson acknowledged that it was the inability to convert starts into big scores that cost South Africa.

"There have been a lot if things and, ultimately, what it comes down to is that we haven't been able to put enough runs on the board," he said.

"The bowling attack that we wanted to have, we don't have, so we needed more runs to work with."

Gibson must now find a way to get the Proteas up for what are effectively three dead rubbers to complete their campaign. 

Next up is a trip to Lord's to take on Pakistan on Sunday.

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...   

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