Dale Steyn © Getty Images
Dale Steyn © Getty Images

The 2015 Cricket World Cup had ended in a massive disappointment for South Africa. They had the best of players, the best of preparations, and a great momentum going into the tournament. The team even created history by winning its first-ever knockout game in an ICC tournament. But they fumbled in the semi-final. The ‘C’ word came back to reckoning, and with tears in eyes and broken spirits, South Africa bid goodbye. It was after this heartbreak that their ace pacer Dale Steyn vowed to win a World Cup for his country, giving a controversial statement of sorts that he does not want to waste deliveries left in him on Bangladesh. Full Cricket Scorecard: West Indies vs South Africa, T20 World Cup 2016 at Nagpur

On Friday, South Africa entered the stage in the ongoing T20 World Cup where they will now have to wait for the results of other teams to enter the semi-final. One cannot ignore the fact that Steyn was sorely missed during their match against West Indies, as it was a game that South Africa needed to win, but they shocked everyone with excluding their ace bowler from their side for the Group 1 match at Nagpur. West Indies beat South Africa by 3 wickets to qualify for semi-final of T20 World Cup 2016

The reason behind Steyn’s inclusion is not yet known, but as it turned out, South Africa needed more than his firepower, his experience in the middle to stop an inconsistent West Indian batting line-up form scoring a modest 123. The low-scoring games in cricket have time and again needed the best of the cricketing brains to come up with their ideas — the India versus Bangladesh match being a perfect example. India exhausted all their experience in the last few overs, with everyone, from MS Dhoni to Ashish Nehra and Ravichandran Ashwin putting their brains together in order to stop Bangladesh from scoring 11 runs in the last 6 balls.

South Africa were in similar situation on Friday when the West Indies needed 9 to win off the last 6. It is a fact that Kagiso Rabada has been a revelation of sorts in death overs, but in this crunch game, the young bowler needed an experienced man to help him out on the field. But all that Rabada had, was David Wiese and Chris Morris, who are excellent cricketers in their capacities, but not as wily as Steyn.

The result was not surprising given the fact that South African batsmen flopped miserably with the bat on a decent track. The wicket at Nagpur has attracted a lot of ire in the recent past for its inclination towards spinners, and the West Indies did struggle against the South African spinners. Had Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso been bolstered with four overs of Steyn, the game could have been different.

Nevertheless, the past few months have shown that South Africa have started to learn to live without Steyn, who missed a huge chunk of the India tour 2014-15 and home series against England. The separation was always on the cards, and along the way South Africa were bound to face a few defeats.

As far as this tournament is concerned, those in the South African camp will hope that things go in their favour in coming days, and they learn from the mistakes they made against West Indies.

(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)

South Africa sorely missed Dale Steyn in T20 World Cup 2016 defeat to West Indies