Fans still behind Proteas

Sunday, March 27, 2011
By: 
Kemantha Govender

Durban - Millions of fans in South Africa have been left with a broken heart after New Zealand defeated the Proteas at the ICC Cricket World Cup during a quarter-final match.

But distraught as they were, many still went to OR Tambo International Airport to welcome the team back home on Saturday.

Wayne Parnell and JP Duminy both thanked fans for their support on social networking site, Twitter.

South Africa exited the competition after a stunning run throughout the group stages when New Zealand beat them by 49 runs on Friday at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.

The Proteas looked set to win the encounter after restricting New Zealand to 221-8. But Jacob Oram and Nathan McCullum altered that course with some fine bowling. 

The Proteas batting innings was a disaster; they lost eight wickets for just 64 runs.
South Africa could only manage to reach 172 and Oram was named man of the match with his impressive four for 39 from nine overs.

Oram's victims included South African skipper, Graeme Smith, who captained the side for the last time. He also dismissed Johan Botha, Faf du Plessis and Robin Peterson. McCullum finished with 3 for 24.

"We just have to take it on the chin. It was a very disappointing evening. I thought we bowled pretty well and when we were 100 for 2, we were sitting well, and then we lost too many wickets," said Smith.

The skipper added that South Africa's record at the World Cup knockout stages is an issue that perplexes him.

"Your guess is as good as mine. It's been happening since 1992. We just weren't good enough tonight, but we have to take it forward and not get bogged down," said Smith.

"There will be a new coach and new captain. We are disappointed with tonight, and nothing I say is going to change that for fans back home."

Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa's (CSA) UbuntuNOW road show reached the Mooirivier Mall in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Despite the Proteas' departure from the tournament, fans came out and showed their support for their team.

"I won't lie, I was livid last night and bitterly disappointed," said one fan Isaac Meintjies. "How could we allow ourselves to collapse like that? But then I put myself in their shoes, these men must be out of their minds with distress." 

CSA Brand and Corporate Relations Manager Kass Naidoo said: "With the Proteas having exited the tournament, CSA is now using the UbuntuNOW road shows to thank fans for backing the team through thick and thin."

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