Mirpur, Mar 26 Despondent South Africa cricket captain Graeme Smith was grappling to explain just why his team "choked" yet again in the World Cup knockouts but hoped it would recover soon enough to mount a strong challenge the next time around.
The Proteas lost by 49 runs while chasing a modest 221 against underdogs New Zealand in the World Cup quarterfinal match here Friday night and Smith, who would no longer be the ODI skipper after this, said he was devastated.
"It is really hard to describe what happened," said Smith after the match.
"Your guess is as good as mine. It's been happening since 1992. We just weren''t good enough, but we have to take it forward and not get bogged down," said Smith.
He hoped the team would recover quickly from the shock.
"This is an exciting period for South African cricket. We have the players and the talent. Hopefully in future we will go all the way.
"South Africa deserves to win the World Cup.
"There will be a new coach and new captain. We are disappointed but nothing I say is going to change that for fans back home," he added.
Talking about yesterday's match, Smith said the Proteas let slip good chances.
"We had the opportunity to close out the game after we kept them down to 221 and can only blame ourselves. We let ourselves down, we let our fans down.
"(But) I can't fault the way we played in the tournament.
We trained hard and gave our best.
"We certainly bowled well in this game, but New Zealand squeezed us when the ball became soft. We needed to show composure at that stage. It is difficult to recover on wickets like this," he said.