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Last Updated: Sunday, 8 April 2007, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Proteas take a bashing
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport in Guyana

South Africa crashed to defeat against Bangladesh on Saturday, raising massive doubts about whether they can recover to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Bangladesh v South Africa
Bangladesh celebrate the dismissal of Ashwell Prince

Team selection, particularly the absence of a spinner when Bangladesh used three, and the team's attitude to their fortnight-long stay in Guyana have come under the microscope.

BBC Sport asked six members of the South African media what they thought went wrong and how the team will react.

Telford Vice, Reuters

"What went wrong is that South Africa have hated spending the last two weeks in Guyana. They got off the plane, didn't see a McDonalds golden arch anywhere and decided it was a miserable place.

"They thought they had won before turning up. Graeme Smith made all the right noises about not allowing Bangladesh to get away with a good start but they allowed that.

"The confidence has taken a bash. South Africa haven't put in a convincing performance since they played Scotland in their second group match.

"They got out of jail against Sri Lanka in a game they should have won easily and it's come home to roost here.

Pommie Mbangwa, ex-Zimbabwe bowler now TV analyst

"Hindsight is a perfect science but after seeing how the wicket slowed up, if you gave South Africa the chance again they would probably choose to bat first.

Pommie Mbangwa
I think they will get into the semi-finals but their confidence has taken a knock

Pommie Mbangwa

"With their bowling it didn't go particularly well. Apart from Andre Nel and Shaun Pollock, they were hugely off colour and the skipper had nowhere to turn.

"But you would never have expected that batting performance. AB de Villiers was nervous, Jacques Kallis was out of character in attacking and when they were three down it was going to be difficult to get 250.

"I think they will get into the semi-finals but their confidence has taken a knock."

Christo Buchner, Beeld

"They can't play spin and they can't bowl spin - that's what it boils down to. Winning the toss and bowling on that track was a basic error.

Paul Harris
Spinner Paul Harris did not make the World Cup squad

"Paul Harris might have been a good option in the squad. There's a feeling his fielding isn't good enough but he is the best spinner in the country.

"Also, the back-up players aren't good enough. They need someone like Johannes van der Wath or Albie Morkel - all-rounders who can stand up to the rigours some of the others don't seem to be able to.

"It's going to be tough now. There will be a few teams sitting in Antigua, smiling about this result.

"Even if they do make the semi-finals, on the evidence so far in the tournament, I doubt very much if they can go all the way."

Stuart Hess, The Mercury (Durban)

"There was a complete and utter lack of variety in the attack and the middle order was under-cooked.

"There was a sameness about the bowling and Bangladesh's batsmen took advantage of it.

"Theoretically they can still reach the semi-finals but this is going to smash their confidence.

"Their problems in previous World Cups are going to start coming up again and it's going to be very difficult for them after this.

Adrian Ephraim, The Star (Johannesburg)

South Africa captain Graeme Smith
The pressure is on Graeme Smith to lift his team
"They got it wrong in team selection. I don't think Andre Nel should have played ahead of Andrew Hall or Robin Peterson.

"The spinner option would have been a great benefit, against Mohammad Ashraful in particular.

"The middle order was out of practice and short of time in the middle and they couldn't get it together.

"They had too many days off, rained out practices and it was difficult to get into the swing of things but Bangladesh hit the ground running so it's really no excuse.

"They are still alive and West Indies are definitely there for the taking but it's going to be tricky against New Zealand and England."

Colin Brydon, Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

"Graeme Smith made a big mistake by sending Bangladesh into bat.

They need to overturn history or start planning their trip home

Colin Brydon

"He said the middle order needed batting time but on a nice sunny day it would have been ideal to give everyone a bat, score 300 without too much pressure and win the game.

"But having spent too weeks in Guyana you could almost have predicted it.

"Smith was saying the intensity had been drained out of the guys and that they were looking forward to moving to Grenada and the meat of the tournament.

"The meat of the tournament came a bit early. Maybe they took this one for granted.

"Instead of being in a strong position and maybe only needing one more win to go forward, they probably have to win three in a row because the run rate has deteriorated so much.

"In the past they have been able to bounce back from bad defeats but they can't afford one bit of bad luck to go against them.

"They have lost their last four games in a row to West Indies in ICC events - two World Cups and two Champions Trophies - so they need to overturn history or start planning their trip home."



SEE ALSO
South Africa look for fresh start
08 Apr 07 |  South Africa
Falling victim to cabin fever
08 Apr 07 |  Cricket
South Africa World Cup squad
16 Feb 07 |  Cricket
BBC World Cup coverage
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket


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