So the Proteas lost to the Netherlands, thereby knocking themselves out before the semi’s, and giving cause for rectal-prolapse-inducing-disappointment for die-hard supporters.
For me there are lots of lessons to be learnt.
First, you need a bit of luck. We got lucky against India (Kohli dropped catch, Sharma missed run-out). Every champion team needs a bit of luck.
Second, you mustn’t take victory for granted. I don’t think the Proteas weren’t prepared, but it’s possible they simply didn’t bring their A-game because they thought they were playing against a dirt-tracker team.
Third, you must choose your best players for every game. There’s lots of shouting-from-rooftops about selection decisions, and when you consider the Netherlands score, it’s possible we could have done better with bowler selection.
Fourth, someone must take responsibility for ensuring the players know exactly what is required. Our batsmen did not seem to realise they were running out of balls, and ultimately fell short of the chase. Two previous world cups were exited due to lack of communication: Alan Donald & Lance Klusener run-out, and Shaun Pollock miscalculating the Duckworth-Lewis target.
Having said all that, the Proteas got a bit unlucky. If things had gone their way we’d be facing NZ in the semi’s, from which point anything could happen, including the Proteas actually winning a World Cup.
If that had happened, no one would be wringing their hands.
In the end, the most important lesson is this:
If you win, no excuses are needed.
If you lose, excuses don’t matter
It’s just about winning.