Hopes were high as the Assupol Tuks cricket team headed off to Sri Lanka to defend their Red Bull Campus Cricket title, a tournament they had won for two consecutive years. The team started strong, winning two of their three group matches which saw them qualify to face the home side in the semi-finals. Although UP-Tuks started well by posting a respectable 180 in their allotted overs, it proved ineffectual against a spirited Business Management School Sri Lanka (BMS-SL) team who eventually went on to claim the title. This meant that the South Africans lost the trophy for the first time. In light of this, Perdeby reflected on the disappointment with UP-Tuks Cricket captain, Murray Coetzee.
Having lost in the play-offs against BMS-SL by six wickets, where did things fall apart in the match?
Looking back at the game itself, I think we posted a good total. I think 180 in twenty-twenty is defendable. It’s not necessarily a winning score these days but I think batting first and getting 180 runs in a semi-final [is decent]. If we were given that at the toss, we would have taken it but we were then rocked early by a very aggressive batting display which we probably didn’t expect from the Sri Lankans. Being South Africans we are labelled as chokers, sometimes fairly, and sometimes unfairly. It seemed that there was more of a culture amongst the Sri Lankans of going out and trying to win the game rather than trying to defend. They were a lot more aggressive in their decision-making and they took a lot more risks [while having the skill] to pull it off. They [had] 45 runs after 3 overs, which was a lot. It was something we were not used to and didn’t know how to stem the tide […] before we wiped our eyes out they had already scored 100 in 10 overs, and they needed 80 with a super over (runs doubled) [to win] and by that stage it was too little too late. It was obviously massively disappointing.
What were some of the challenges you faced which may have led to the semi-final defeat?
Without making any excuses in terms of the challenges we faced, it’s always a big advantage playing on your home ground, and Sri Lanka had that advantage, but in saying that, it wasn’t really conditions which suited them out and out. The pitches didn’t spin ridiculously. I think we were outplayed on the day, but we couldn’t really have prepared better than we did. We covered [all] the bases we could have. They were a very talented bunch of players and they [outperformed] us on the day.
Based on the tournament, what areas do you feel still need to be polished in the team going forward?
In a situation like that, you can try and take as many lessons out of it as you want, but in future situations it will be a different game and different things are going to happen. It’s more about being able to assess what’s going on in the moment and reacting faster. That will definitely be something on the psychological side and the decision making side that we’ll have to work on. I think our skills were as good as theirs were. Going forward it was a very motivating experience (watching the Sri Lankans celebrate) [in that] we obviously don’t want to feel that again.
Every great sporting team has to experience some disappointment at some point. How do you look to bounce back as a team and regain confidence?
It is true that every great sporting team goes through disappointments at [some] stage. We have to find a way to keep playing our best winning cricket in the big games which [has] been what’s carried us through in the past. We need to win our belief back and we have an opportunity to do that with the intervarsity tournament coming up, which hopefully will take place and the boys have been training hard.
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