South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris has reiterated that his team’s disastrous exit from the just-concluded Champions Trophy was a case of losing a wrong game at the wrong time.
The Proteas entered the tournament as the number one ranked ODI side and proved their credentials with a thumping 96-run win over Sri Lanka in their opening encounter. However, the AB de Villiers-led side failed to make it through to the semi-finals after losing their following two games against Pakistan and India, respectively.
In their second game of the tournament, they suffered an embarrassing 19-run defeat at the hands of the lowest ranked side and eventual winners, Pakistan. And instead of smarting from the unexpected loss, the inaugural Champions Trophy winners looked out of sorts in their final group game against India, as they lost the virtual quarterfinal by nine wickets.
The early exit from the tournament only elevated South Africa’s reputation of being the perennial underachievers of the game and enhance their reputation of being the ultimate chokers of the game. However, Morris feels the Proteas’ unexpected loss was a matter of poor timing.
“I still maintain in the Champions Trophy we lost the game at the wrong time,” Morris told reports in Taunton after inspiring South Africa to a stunning comeback win against England in the second T20 International.
“We’ve been so good over the last 18 months and we just lost the game at the wrong time. It’s been blown up in our faces that we never perform well in those tournaments,” he added.
South Africa’s first assignment after Champions Trophy did not start on expected lines, as England thrashed them by nine wickets in the first T20I but the Proteas returned to winning ways by winning the second match by only three runs.
The match, meanwhile, turned in South Africa’s favour, courtesy of Jason Roy’s disastrous run-out when he became the first player in a T20I to be given out obstructing the field. Chasing 171, England were 133 for two after the 15th over with Roy batting on 67. But Roy’s dismissal turned the match in South Africa’s favour, as England lost five wickets for just 46 runs in the last 6.3 overs to fall three runs short in a game they were looking destined to win.
Speaking about Roy’s dismissal, an apologetic Morris said:
“It’s part of the rules. It looks a lot worse than it actually is with us appealing like that, but you’ve got to appeal to get a decision from the umpires. We’ll take it and run, but the on-field umpire told me at the time that the right decision was made.”
South Africa will look to win the series by winning the final match on Sunday (June 25) in order to have something to cheer about in the ongoing tour which began with an ODI series loss prior to the Champions Trophy.
“It’s been a tough tour,” admitted Morris. “Southampton wasn’t good for us obviously. England outplayed us there (in the first T20). We weren’t good enough on the day, they absolutely destroyed us. We knew we needed to put up a good fight.
“It’s one hell of an honour to play for South Africa and I think the boys showed it. We proved out there we’ll scrap to win a game of cricket,” he added.