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Smith needs to find own form to lift South Africa higher

india Updated: Mar 17, 2011 14:35 IST
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Graeme Smith's bowlers have been an unstoppable force at the World Cup ensuring South Africa are the only team to have flattened every one of their opponents inside 50 overs.

Unfortunately for Smith, he has been unable to lead by example with the bat as the captain is the only top order player not to have scored at least a half-century during South Africa's sub-continent sojourn.

But luckily for him, his below par performance in five innings did not prevent South Africa from becoming the first team from Group B to make it to the quarter-finals with their 131-run drubbing of Ireland on Tuesday.

"It's fantastic to have qualified already. Our group is pretty tense this week and it's nice that we don't have to deal with that tension for a change," a beaming Smith said as the Africans booked their last-eight berth with a match to spare.

South Africa were spared the tension thanks to tournament contributions from AB de Villiers (318 runs), Hashim Amla (248), JP Duminy (204), spinner Imran Tahir (11 wickets), fast bowler Dale Steyn (10 wickets) and Robin Peterson (10 wickets).

Smith's input has been an average of 22 runs in five innings -- hardly the kind of form that will set the competition alight.

"In every game there's probably something you can say we haven't done well," explained the 30-year-old.

"The first 10-15 overs against India with the ball (when the co-hosts piled on 142 for the first wicket) and we didn't finish with the bat against England," said Smith, whose team's only blip here has been a six-run defeat by England. "We are trying to put up a complete performance."

But to get there, he has to find a solution to his poor show.

The well built South African, who will quit as captain after the World Cup, has got starts in most of the matches but has failed to continue.

His 45 against the West Indies in their World Cup opener is the highest he has managed so far and he wants to set it right.

In the next four matches, Smith scored 20, 22, 16 and seven.

South Africa play their last round-robin match against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday, where a win will put them at the top of Group B, and Smith is determined to prove he is no weak link in the team.

"I am batting well at the nets. I think a good performance is around the corner for me," he said.

"Hopefully in Bangladesh I will come up with an important contribution. I am looking forward to contribute."