Proteas take lesson from Netherlands loss

Proteas bowler Keshav Maharaj has shrugged off criticism of the loss to lowly-ranked Netherlands at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.

South Africa lost to the minnows by 38 runs following convincing victories of 104 and 134 runs, respectively, over Sri Lanka and Australia. Despite being 11 places lower than the Proteas in world rankings, the spinner believes the teams in the World Cup are there to be respected.

 “You’ve got the strongest 10 teams in the world playing in this event. I can’t really deem a team a lower team but it does hurt a little bit. I think any loss in the World Cup does hurt significantly but I think that’s what we are professional athletes for, it’s to dust yourself off and realise that the next day the sun is gonna come up and we gonna stick to our processes and disciplines and be true to our team culture. Make sure we turn the ship around from one loss and hopefully get back to winning ways,” Maharaj said.

Having said that, Maharaj has emphasised how much this loss devastated the entire team. But they must turn their attention to old foes England over the weekend.

“If you looked at it after the game, the boys were hurting but it’s part and parcel of being a professional sportsman. I think we woke up the next day and the guys rejuvenated and ready to go again. Obviously, it’s a massive game for us against England on Saturday, so the boys are ready to hit the ground running and take off from where we left off against the Australian team the other night. So, ya, the boys are excited and ready to go,” he added.

This was the Dutch’s first win in the competition, and it came nearly a year after they booted the Proteas out of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

Fortunately for SA, this setback provides an opportunity for genuine introspection.

“Everyone has the opportunity individually to review and re-access and obviously when we do have our team reviewed today, we realign that with the team and see how we can get better as a unit. Like I said it did hurt a lot after the game but the last time we did lose to Netherlands, it did knock us out of the World Cup but this presents us with another opportunity to try and rectify that,” he explained.

It’s a big weekend for South Africa and England. The two nations will not only fight it out India, but the Springboks will also face England’s Lions in a Rugby World Cup semifinal in France on the same day. And the spinner offered his support to their rugby counterparts. “Just to wish the Springboks boys all the best. You guys have made us proud so far. We are backing you all the way. Hopefully, we’ll return the favour also with our results,” he said.

(story credit: SABC Sport)

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