Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

‘We were out-skilled’: Proteas coach admits they were crushed by India

South Africa were handed their second defeat of the opening round.

Competing in what could be a precursor to the Cricket World Cup final, South Africa were completely outplayed against India in their round-robin match in Kolkata on Sunday, head coach Rob Walter admitted.

The host nation racked up 326/5 from their 50 overs, led by veteran batter Virat Kohli who contributed an unbeaten 101.

Chasing 327 runs to win, the Proteas never got going, with the entire batting order falling apart as they were bowled out for just 83 runs.

“To be fair, it was just a day that we were out-skilled really,” Walter said.

While the hosts remained unbeaten in the latter stages of the opening round, South Africa were left reeling from their second crushing defeat of the tournament.

And while they had already qualified for next week’s semi-finals, questions resurfaced about their inconsistency, as well as their struggles to chase down big targets.

Turning the tables

Walter, however, backed his players, insisting it just wasn’t their day. He felt they had the ability to bounce back in an attempt to break the nation’s lengthy World Cup trophy drought.

If they turned out against India in the playoffs, he believed they could hit back with force.

“This game is a funny game and you get taught new lessons every single day and get surprised every single day, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the tables turned the next time around,” he said.

“The beauty of it is that there may well be another shot for us and we’ve been given an opportunity to learn from that.”

Recovering from defeat

Walter did admit that they would need to regroup and recover ahead of the semi-finals.

Though they had one more first-round match against in-form minnows Afghanistan on Friday, the Proteas were already looking ahead to the playoffs, and Walter said they would need to pick themselves up from their latest defeat before they turned out in the semi-finals.

“The guys have worked incredibly hard to this point and we have invested a huge amount of time into our preparation,” he said.

“So now it’s really about just mentally recovering, physically recovering and being ready to compete like we have the whole tournament.”

Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa confirmed that seam bowler Lizaad Williams had returned home on Monday for the birth of his child, but he was expected to re-join the Proteas squad ahead of the playoffs.

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