The eight-wicket victory over the outgoing champions only confirmed that the 2016 World T20 for the Proteas was very much a case of what might or could have been.
Left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso's Man of the Match performance certainly had the mind wandering about why South Africa did not embrace the dual spin role of Phangiso and Imran Tahir earlier in the competition.
Be that as it may though for the cold reality is that captain Faf du Plessis and coach Russell Domingo will be addressing the media in Johannesburg this afternoon, trying to explain why yet another Proteas major tournament campaign has been littered with disappointment.
Du Plessis had a dress rehearsal on Monday night here in Delhi already though, where he accepted responsibility that his team had let the nation down once more and offered up no excuses for the early exit.
“It is very bittersweet to be going back to South Africa after the World T20. It was not where we wanted to be. We've only got ourselves to blame,” Du Plessis told the media at FSK.
“We came here with a great squad wanting to win the World Cup. Obviously we didn’t play our best cricket. We had planned to play much better. It is a very disappointing. It is very sad. The fans feel the same way we do and they have every right to do. We had chances and we didn’t take them. That’s why we don’t deserve to be in the semis. You don’t win a World Cup on paper. You have to put the goods together and we didn’t.”
For all Du Plessis’s maturity in accepting the criticism that will surely come the way of his team upon arrival back home, the skipper has still not quite dealt with the opening defeat to England at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai when the Proteas failed to defend a tournament high 229/4.
"We've had signs of playing really good cricket through this tournament. The England game was as good a batting performance as you will see, but obviously not a great bowling performance. I'm very baffled. 230 in that first game, yes we were to blame, we didn't bowl well. It's almost like, what do we need to do? We should have won it. If you play that 230 game ten times in a row, you would've lost one," Du Plessis lamented.
With the format of the World T20 changing to being staged every four years going forward instead of its current biennial nature, there is time for South Africa to plot their road ahead of the next T20 jamboree in 2020. The majority of this Proteas squad are unlikely to be there though, specifically “box-office” stars like AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Hashim Amla, and Du Plessis too.
“I picked up a few grey hairs. I don’t know in four years where I would be. It’s everything for us (winning a World Cup). I’ll do all I can to play another,” Du Plessis said of his own future before continuing on the rest of the side.
“I am not the guy to ask (about Dale Steyn’s T20 future). You need to ask Dale that question. He looks hungry. He still wants to play cricket. He is not thinking about retiring. The sad thing is that it's now four years to the next World Cup - it's not just two. A few players here won't be there then.
“That's going to be the challenge now for the squad: to try and rest some of the senior players, to see if they want to go to the next World T20. With that you can breed some young players. There's not a lot of T20 cricket coming up this year, so it will probably take a backseat.”
Independent Media"We came here with a great squad wanting to win the World Cup. Obviously we didn't play our best cricket."
Original source: Faf: Only ourselves to blame