Gibbs was speaking at Sun City on Friday, ahead of the Gary & Vivienne Player Invitational at the Lost City Golf Course starting on Saturday.
Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to bat in their knockout clash, but he would have been ruing that decision as his side were reduced to 24/4 in 11.5 overs. That meant they were always behind in the match, and despite a defiant David Miller century and an admirable comeback from the SA bowling attack it always looked like Australia were the better team.
It’s also no secret that the Proteas have been a far superior team batting first in the World Cup, and in the matches they chased in the competition they lost to minnows the Netherlands, scraped home against Pakistan and were not overly convincing in their victory over Afghanistan to close out the group stage.
‘Look at the conditions’
“[It was] Disappointing. Looking at the conditions - choosing to bat instead of bowling first … With the overcast conditions and moisture in the air, I thought we could have looked at that first,” Gibbs told IOL Sport.
“I’m not too sure what the thinking was behind batting first. It’s been quite puzzling for us seeing how the team bats first, the approach, the mindset, compared to when they have to chase a score.
“I think it’s quite clear to see that they preferred batting (first). You always play the conditions first and foremost. You could see how the ball behaved and how difficult it was. I think we got the conditions wrong. We should have bowled and it would have been a different story altogether.”
The fragility of South Africa chasing in a knockout match certainly influenced Bavuma’s decision, and the team would have at least believed they would be able to restrict Australia batting second. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but perhaps South Africa would take some lessons from yet another semi-final defeat in a Cricket World Cup, hoped Gibbs.
“ODI cricket is just about repetition and you just play what’s in front of you. I thought, had they maybe bowled first it would have been different. It’s ifs and buts, I can understand that they knew the wicket was going to turn.”