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“We played nearly the perfect game of cricket” – Rabada

21 Nov 2023
Simon Lewis 21 Nov 2023
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  • Kagiso Rabada knocked over the Aussie top-order in taking 3/33.
  • Australia were upset about two controversial wickets taken by Rabada.
  • South Africa scored 311/7 and bowled Australia out for 177.
Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of Australia's Josh Inglis. (credit: Pankaj Nangia/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Proteas knock over Australia with perfect performance

Kagiso Rabada labelled South Africa’s 134-run win over Australia in their Cricket World Cup group match as “nearly perfect” in the post-match press release, adding that they weren’t focussing on any mind games with the other teams in the competition.

“I think we played nearly the perfect game of cricket. We're just looking to play our best cricket whenever we play a game. We're not worried about what statements we're making. We're only worried about the plans that we want to execute,” said Rabada.

“We're still a long way away but there are plenty of positives to take from the match. We'll see how we feel we want to improve, look at our strengths, look at our weaknesses and look to brush up. It's about leaving this behind to focus on the next game,” added the Proteas speedster.

Controversial third umpire decisions

Rabada took 3/33 in the innings, knocking over three of the top seven Aussie batters. His first wicket was the key batter Steve Smith, who was dismissed leg-before with Australia on 50/2, after referring their appeal to the third umpire. Replays showed it to be an extremely close call, with many pundits arguing that the ball was going to miss the leg stump. 

“I felt as if it just skidded through, didn't really bounce much. Steve walks across his stumps and from my angle and from Quinny's it looked quite good and we decided to go upstairs. The technology favoured us today but I thought it was close. I don't think it was as obvious as ‘missing’.

Josh Inglis followed bowled through the gate, and later Rabada picked up the wicket of Marcus Stoinis, caught superbly down the legside by De Kock, although initially neither player went up for the appeal. It was referred to the TV umpire who adjudged Stoinis to have gloved the ball. The Australian argued that his hand was not touching the bat, but the TV umpire’s decision stood.

“I initially thought it hit his thigh pad and my teammates around me felt that they heard a woody sound. The controversy was around the fact that his hand was off the bat when the ball made contact with his glove. But we thought it was the bat handle. Again, that's not up to us. We reviewed it and the umpires made a decision,” added Rabada, who refused to get caught up in the drama. “It's just about focusing on the next ball. Really, that's what it is. We just go by what decisions the umpires make.”

Room for improvement

After a record-breaking batting performance in their opener against Sri Lanka, the South African bowlers we criticised for not closing the innings down.

“There's always areas to improve and we were cognisant of the fact that we did slack off in certain areas against Sri Lanka. It was a very true wicket and a small ground, but there will always be areas to improve in the game of cricket, but we'll do our analysis and see how we want to move forward,” he added.

“I thought Australia bowled really well but our batters absorbed the pressure and then transferred it when it was time to transfer the pressure. It was never going to be easy and it certainly wasn't easy for our batters. It's always a stiff, stiff challenge against Australia and we enjoy it.”

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