PROTEAS FLOP no surprise

SOUTH Africa's early exit from the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbbean on Monday night follows an all too familiar pattern of previous tournaments.

SOUTH Africa's early exit from the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbbean on Monday night follows an all too familiar pattern of previous tournaments.

In fact, the last time the Proteas had to declare some silverware at customs at OR Tambo Airport was back in 1998, when they won the Champions Trophy played in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Twelve years later and the trophy cabinet isn't exactly bulging with prizes at Cricket South Africa.

The disappointing thing about Monday's game against Pakistan at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia is not so much the loss itself, but the way in which they lost.

Even against an unpredictable side like Pakistan, chasing a modest total of 149 for victory should have been achievable.

As the Proteas wickets tumbled and the run rate increased, they dug themselves into a hole that became too deep to climb out of. Why?

"It's a difficult one to answer. We have batted well at times but consistency has been an issue," coach Corrie van Zyl told Sowetan shortly after the game.

Captain Graeme Smith, who normally leads from the front, looked out of form during the tournament and it appeared to spread to those around him.

"It was always going to be difficult for Graeme after being out of cricket for six weeks. His injury, though, is completely healed," added Van Zyl.

If the Proteas can take any positives out of the game it is the fact that the bowlers performed well to restrict the ever-dangerous Pakistanis.

Charl Langeveldt was the pick of the bowlers with a personal best of four wickets and Dale Steyn was pretty tidy.

Johan Botha was another who stepped up to the mark with his spin but his partner Roelof van der Merwe took a hammering, conceding 33 runs in two overs.

Looking to the future, the Proteas now have a Test and one-day series against the West Indies starting next Wednesday so they have a few days to put Monday's disappointment behind them and knuckle down to what will be a tough series.

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