Chennai, Oct 28 (PTI) South Africa were lucky to escape by the skin of their teeth and should have been more clinical in the runchase against Pakistan during the World cup match here, said skipper Temba Bavuma.
South Africa on Friday managed to walk away with a narrow one-wicket win in a tense finish. It was their first World Cup win against Pakistan since the 1999 edition.
Chasing 271, the Proteas had a comfortable start, aided by Aiden Markram's assertive 91 but it turned sour with Pakistan scalping a flurry of wickets in the closing stages.
"I think obviously at the end, we were all on the edge of our seat. You had everyone's opinions flying around as to how we should be going about that run chase," he said during the post-match press conference here.
"But at the end of the day, the guys who were in there, Keshav and Shamu, they did it for us. It's easier for us to have conversations now with regards to our run chase. (But) we've got the result on our side.
"I do think we could have shown up a lot more of a clinical display in going about that run chase. I think we did have luck on our side. We did give them opportunities to get into the game. But, fortunately for us, I think the gods were with us." While the Proteas were 206 for 5 in the 34th over, they lost four more wickets by 260. But the duo of Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi held their nerves to take South Africa home with 16 balls to spare.
However, Bavuma refused to blame the wicket and instead felt that the partnerships could have lasted a bit longer.
"I felt the wicket was a good one, especially when it stopped swinging. Quinton [de Kock] looked like he was seeing a beach ball, so he was going after his shots," he said.
"I started getting into gear. We lost those early wickets with Quinton and myself. Partnership started to form between Russi [van der Dussen] and Aiden [Markram].
"I guess those partnerships just weren't long enough for it to be a clinical performance. And then, obviously, at the end, that's where I guess the panic, I would say kind of set in." South Africa's batting has been their strength, especially batting first, where they have mostly posted a total of 350-plus in the tournament.
However, Bavuma said there are still discussions within the team as to how they can improve as a batting unit, especially while chasing.
"We're looking at how we can be better as a batting unit. So, we don't see it as a hurdle. It's more of a challenge and probably a nice challenge to have when you're close to the top of the log in the tournament.
"I think as much as we've played well, we recognise that there are areas that we can improve in within our batting, like we've spoken about in terms of the chasing, probably within the bowling as well.
"We haven't played our best game or cricket yet. I think that's a good sign really for a team that finds themselves close to the top of the log." Bavuma also gave special credit to pacer Marco Jansen, who has been successful in making the ball swing even in the tough conditions at Chepauk, clutching three for 43.
"The ball is swinging. I think Marco has recognised that. He's been working a lot on his wrist position, and he's exploiting whatever swing and seam that is there on offer. I think there's freedom for him to go about searching for those wickets, but still having that control.
"And, I think also being backed up with a guy like Lungi (Ngidi) on the other side who's also looking to exploit whatever swing, whatever seam that is on offer, I think they're working well together.
"He's really becoming a weapon of ours and we'll take that any day," he said. PTI AYG ATK ATK