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We let ourselves down, says Smith

SA captain blames his own team's underperformance for the debacle in their encounter with Bangladesh.

cricket Updated: Apr 08, 2007 19:51 IST

After their shocking defeat at the hands of Bangladesh, South African captain Graeme Smith blamed his own team's underperformance for the debacle in the Super Eight encounter of the cricket World Cup.

"We put down a few chances upfront and didn't really set a great total. Our basics were bad with the ball and also in the field," said Smith, who suddenly found that the road to semi-finals was not a straight forward one at all.

"We had our game plan and all was set up upfront. But we didn't play any kind of cricket we are capable of. We cannot take any positive from any facet of the game today," he said at the post-match press conference on Saturday.

Smith said his team mucked up the plan not to allow Bangladesh any leeway in Saturday's game, but failed to do so.

"We discussed not to give them opportunity before the game but we did exactly the same. They grabbed it with both hands.

"We gave them a sniff and they have the capability of putting you under pressure. We let ourselves down very, very badly today," he said.

Smith refused to believe that the lack of any spinner in their ranks or the surface suiting Bangladesh had a bearing on the day's outcome.

"I think we have done very well on this surface. We managed to beat Sri Lanka in these very conditions.

"I also don't think we missed any spinner as it didn't turn in the first 45-50 overs.

"Their left-arm spinners bowled very well but I think we allowed them to bowl very well because we were under pressure," he said.

The Proteas skipper was reluctant in praising Bangladesh for their efforts and said the minnows banked on his team's shortcomings.

"Mohammad Ashraful played superbly today from the moment he came in he carried the team around him. I don't want to take anything away from him but we didn't bowl and field as well as we should have.

"Their spinners seem to compliment each other very well. Mohammad Rafique is their most experienced guy. He has bowled well for them for a number of years. The other two guys are coming on. They don't turn as much but they have got good control."

"They are a young team and certainly improving all the time. The more consistent they are the better it would be for them. They are young and talented and there is huge potential. And I certainly feel they would become very good team," he said.

"Our goal will be to win next three games. Our aim is not to rely on other people to help us go through," Smith said.

Smith, however, was not sure about fielding Herschelle Gibbs, a key member of the team, in their next game against the West Indies in Grenada on April 10. The South African skipper rated Gibbs chances of playing as 50-50 in that game.

First Published: Apr 08, 2007 19:33 IST