In what he called “just another blowout”, Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock clearly struggled to explain why he and his troops had surrendered so meekly in the deciding T20 against Australia at Newlands on Wednesday night.
After going into the game with some hope, South Africa were thoroughly outclassed in losing by 97 runs, handing Aaron Finch’s men a 2-1 series win.
“It wasn’t good enough doing it twice in one series but we’ve got to have a good look at ourselves and ask some honest questions,” said De Kock.
“In this series we played one decent game and then obviously the other two are just a disappointment. It’s not really the way we want to go about things.”
While the dynamic left-hander himself was dismissed early by a peach of a delivery by Mitchell Starc, it would be difficult to shoulder much blame on him.
De Kock has consistently been the Proteas’ superstar during the domestic summer and played a major part in Port Elizbeth to actually keep his team in the series.
He simply can’t keep doing it on his own.
“When we chatted we had an honest conversation about fighting back,” he said.
“We know they are a really strong team. When they are on top, they are hard to stop. We spoke about not giving them a sniff. They got a sniff and rode the wave.”
One encouraging thing amidst the gloom and criticism is that De Kock is trying to keep a level head.
Was he culpable for choosing to field first when scoreboard pressure in a decider is important?
“I’m still taking it in my stride. I’m still learning. There’s a lot of things that I didn’t see when I was just a normal player. Now I am seeing things and learning about the game and the thinking behind decisions. I am asking a lot of advice from Faf. I hope I can get better and put the results on the board.”
Was it wise to leave a fit Dale Steyn out?
“After Anrich’s (fine) performance (in Port Elizabeth), we thought he deserved another chance. We all know what Dale can do.”
Those are both simple answers, but they’re definitely not wrong ones.