Colombo: South African skipper Shaun Pollock on Wednesday lashed out at his team for losing the Champions Trophy semi-final against India from a winning position. "We have only ourselves to blame for the defeat. We should have finished it off. We just threw the game away," Pollock said after his team's 10-run defeat in the day- night match at the Premadasa Stadium.
South Africa, needing 262 to win, was comfortably placed at 192 for 1 in the 37th over before finishing at 251 for 6. "We have to sit and analyse and make sure such things do not happen again," said Pollock. "The target was gettable, but we just could not complete the job. We did not get it right when it mattered most." Opener Herschelle Gibbs had put South Africa in a comfortable position with an impressive 116 before retiring with cramps in the 37th over. He shared a 178-run stand for the second wicket with Jacques Kallis (97). "His departure at that stage was the turning point of the match, but that was not the only reason for defeat. He was not able to grip the bat with either hand (due to cramps), so we can't come down on him," said Pollock. The South Africa captain, however, denied that the team had choked in the same manner as it did against Steve Waugh's Australians in the semi-final of the 1999 World Cup in England. "I don't think it can be compared to the World Cup choking," said Pollock. "There we required one to win off the last ball, but here we were behind the run-rate in the last three overs. All credit to India, for they didn't give up." South Africa was involved in a tied match with Australia before bowing out of the World Cup on run-rate. India captain Saurav Ganguly said his team was down, but not out despite a big partnership between Gibbs and Kallis. "We knew we always had a chance once we (could) get the breakthrough," said Ganguly. "It was just unbelievable that we are in the final once again. We played fantastic cricket and fought till the end." India had beaten South Africa in the semi-final of the tournament's previous edition at Nairobi in 2000 before losing to New Zealand in the final. "We grabbed our chances," said Ganguly. "Yuvraj Singh held a couple of splendid catches and we bowled well under pressure. We knew we had a chance when they needed 40 runs to win in the last four overs." India will now meet the winners of Friday's match between Australia and Sri Lanka in the final.
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