T20 World Cup 2024 – Final – Ind vs SA – Aiden Markram – ‘It hurts quite a bit’, but ‘incredibly proud’ – Viral News

Thirty runs from as many balls. This was the equation that separated South Africa from a first World Cup title, from the end of a journey of countless heartbreaks. ESPNcricinfo’s Forecaster gave them a 96.65% chance of winning and lifting the T20 World Cup at the Kensington Oval.
It wasn’t to be, as India staged one of the most dramatic bowling comebacks in the history of the T20 format, and South Africa were left nursing a feeling they’ve experienced so many times at so many global events. Their captain Aiden Markram, though, was proud of their efforts, and a campaign that brought them eight wins on the bounce before Saturday’s defeat.

“I think it’ll take some time for us to have a really good reflection on a really good campaign that we’ve had,” Markram said at the post-match presentation. “Obviously for the time being, it hurts quite a bit, but having said that, still incredibly proud of this group of players and everyone that’s involved in this team.”

Bowling first after losing the toss, South Africa kept India to 176 for 7, which Markram termed a chaseable total. Their batters couldn’t quite finish the job on the day, but Markram didn’t hold it against them.

“Yeah, I thought they [South Africa’s bowlers] bowled well,” he said. “Don’t think there was a hell of a lot to work with, with regards to the pitch, so thought they did well to restrict them to what we thought was a chaseable total, and I thought we batted really well as well, and [it] came down to the wire.

“A really good game of cricket, so on all fronts, really chuffed with the guys today. Not great to [not] get over the line, but incredibly proud of this group of people that we’ve got going here in our white-ball squad.”

Though South Africa came into the final with a perfect record, a number of their wins – even those against Associate teams Netherlands, Nepal and USA – came at the end of closely fought games. Markram suggested that this experience meant South Africa never felt relaxed even when they were in seeming control of the final.

“We’ve seen with a lot of our games in this campaign that it’s not really over until the last ball is bowled, so we never got comfortable. There’s always that element of scoreboard pressure, and especially at the back end, things happen quickly and can change quite quickly as well.

“But having said that, we got into a great position, which proves that we were worthy finalists and could have won the game today. Unfortunately didn’t, but still incredibly proud of the group.”

In the end South Africa the cricket team were left nursing a familiar sense of pain, which has always had the backdrop of the nation’s complicated history, as referenced in this ESPNcricinfo article by Firdose Mooda. Ian Bishop brought up a phrase used in this article – “They don’t know what we know” – and Markram hoped South Africa would be able to draw strength from that feeling.

“Yeah, hopefully [it sets us up] in a really good way,” Markram said. “One thing that’s guaranteed about a South African, wherever they are in the world is, they’re a really competitive person, a really respectful person, and a person that will go down with a fight. So that’s one thing that we as a group pride ourselves on. Hopefully moving forward we can draw a lot from those few things and can keep putting the skill side of the sport to good use. It’s still a proud moment for us.”

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