South Africa put in an excellent effort to beat England in their final match of the group stage, but that was not enough as they crashed out of the T20 World Cup as they had an inferior net run-rate than England and Australia, all of whom had registered eight points from five matches.
South Africa put up 189 on the board against England thanks to Rassie van der Dussen's Unbeaten 94 and needed to restrict England to 131 to qualify for the semi-final. However, England went on to score 179 and the Proteas managed to win by just 10 runs in the end.
South Africa head coach Mark Boucher says that it was a bitter pill to follow as his side had played good cricket throughout the tournament.
"It is not successful because you're knocked out of a World Cup, so it is a better pill to swallow. I think we played some very good cricket throughout the campaign cricket under a lot of pressure as well after having lost our first game. We put in a lot of hard work in training, our chats were good. I think we beat the in-form side in white-ball cricket for a while now," stated Boucher in the post-match press conference.
"It's a tough one for the guys in the changing room. We knew what we had to do today, the equation was very difficult for us to have to get through. I just said to the guys just try control what we can control. Unfortunately, we can't control what other results are out there. We did the job today but it's quite bitter," he added.
South Africa nearly defended 118 against Australia in the first game of the Super 12s and also their 85-run chase over Bangladesh took them over 13 overs. Had South Africa defended the target or had they chased down the target inside eight overs, things could have been different.
Speaking of the Australia game, Boucher said, "The first game [against Australia] was tight. We just didn't bat well enough. It was tough, we lost the toss, we batted first and we weren't 100% sure what a good total was because that was the first game.
We looked at getting 160 but we probably needed 130 or 140 to be competitive so we could have maybe done better there."
Further reflecting on the Bangladesh match, the Proteas head coach added, "Chasing a small total against Bangladesh - people can maybe look at that and say we should have gone harder there. That was the intention. But, we lost three wickets on a wicket that was going all over the shop and unfortunately, ifs and buts don't count now."
However, Boucher is pleased with the improvement shown by the squad. They have not just won four out of the five World Cup matches, they have also won three successive T20I series since their loss to England last year.
"We are improving. We can look at the results. Since we were given a directive that it's not just about getting games of cricket out there, it's about results as well, before West Indies, guys have played really well and played good cricket," he said.
"Guys have upskilled. We've been learning how to play different situations as well and we've got a lot of confidence, but it's not the finished product," he added.