Following his side’s 229-run loss to South Africa in their ICC Cricket World Cup match, England skipper Jos Buttler said that batting first could have been a better decision and added that there is no “room for error” from now onwards. A fiery century by Heinrich Klaasen and then an all-out attack by pacers helped South Africa secure a 229-run win over defending champions England at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium here on Saturday. In the post-match press conference, Buttler said, “I think you always reflect after games and sort of question your decisions. Certainly, with hindsight, the sort of physicality of that innings, potentially batting first would have been a better decision, but I am not going to sort of sit here and question that and in that sense and sort of say, you should have done this or you should have done that. It is a decision I took at the time. I thought it was the right one and I still believe if we were chasing 340, 350, we would have done really well in those conditions.
“A few things didn’t go right. Obviously, Reece, picking up a knock and unsure if he was going to come back. So, I thought Joe Root did a fantastic job there filling in. And yeah, physically it was tough. You know, everyone’s efforts were, you can’t fold anyone’s efforts, but yeah, Klassen and Jansen put together a fantastic partnership there,” he added.
Buttler described the loss as “tough defeat to take”. He said that the loss leaves them in a tough position.
“Yeah, it certainly leaves us in a tough position. There is no room for error from here on in. That is going to be incredibly tough, but we will sit down and go again. That is all you can do in this situation,” he added.
The skipper said that had England broken the sixth wicket stand between Heinrich Klaasen and Marco Jansen, they could have restricted SA to 340-350 runs, which would have been a better chase.
“Yeah, I think that was the main bit of the game. We had them five down there, and if we could have found a way to break that partnership and take another wicket, you know, we could have looked like restricting them to 340 or 350, which probably would have been a really good chase on that pitch,” said Buttler.
“I think getting up to 400 was an excellent score, it sort of took the wind away from us and it was always going to be tough from there, we needed everything to go perfect to pull off a chase like that,” he added.
Buttler revealed that spinner Adil Rashid was suffering from some sickness before the game.
“Rash (Rashid) was struggling a little bit with the sickness before the game, but I felt like he could get out there and perform and performed really well. So, credit to him for that. Yeah, Reece obviously took a nasty blow on his finger, which we will see how that is tomorrow. But, you know, a character to come back and try. Physically it was a really demanding innings and like I said before, it makes you question maybe in those kind of conditions batting first may have been the right call at the toss,” said Buttler.
On being asked if this is the toughest spot that he has found himself as a cricketer, Buttler said that he has experienced plenty in his career.
“Been in a few. I have certainly experienced plenty I would say, in my career, which makes you feel like you are in the best possible place you could ever be to deal with something like this. I have gone through lots of ups and downs in my own career and in teams I have played in and there is certainly challenges but from challenges come opportunity and that is certainly the lens I will be looking through,” Buttler said.
Coming to the match, England elected to field first.
Half-centuries from Reeza Hendricks (85 in 75 balls, with nine fours and three sixes) and Rassie van der Dussen (60 in 61 balls, with eight fours) set a foundation for something big.
But it was the partnership between Heinrich Klaasen (109 in 67 balls, with 12 fours and four sixes) and Marco Jansen (75 in 42 balls, with three fours and six sixes) that really upped the run-rate, taking Proteas to 399/7 in their 50 overs.
Reece Topley (3/88) was the pick of the bowlers for England while Gus Atkinson and Adil Rashid took two wickets.
In the chase of 400, England was never a threat and was reduced to 100/8. But a partnership between Mark Wood (43 in 17 balls, with two fours and five sixes) and Gus Atkinson (35 in 21 balls, seven fours) offered some entertainment to fans, but England was bundled for 170 in 35 overs.
Gerald Coetzee (3/35) was the top bowler for SA. Lungi Ngidi (2/26) and Marco Jansen (2/35) took two wickets while Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada took one.
Klaasen was the ‘Player of the Match’ for his match-winning knock.
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