T2O World Cup 2024: Jonathan Trott slams the semifinal pitch after Afghanistan’s tough loss to South Africa

Afghanistan head coach Jonathan Trott did not hold back in criticizing the pitch at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad following his team’s nine-wicket defeat to South Africa in the T20 World Cup 2024 semi-final.

Afghanistan’s batting woes on an uneven wicket

Afghanistan’s decision to bat first after winning the toss backfired spectacularly. The Afghan batters struggled from the outset on a pitch that exhibited uneven bounce and lateral seam movement. These challenging conditions led to Afghanistan being bowled out for a mere 56 runs, marking the lowest total ever recorded in a T20 World Cup semi-final.

South Africa’s bowlers seized the opportunity presented by the tricky pitch conditions. Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen and Tabraiz Shamsi were particularly effective, with Rabada and Jansen each taking three wickets. The Proteas bowlers’ dominance was evident as they exploited the uneven bounce and seam movement to devastating effect, dismantling Afghanistan’s batting lineup in just 12 overs.

Also READ: ‘Whole event is geared towards India’: Michael Vaughan takes dig at ICC as South Africa crush Afghanistan in T20 WC 2024 semifinal

South Africa navigate challenges to secure victory

Despite facing the same pitch challenges in their innings, South Africa’s batter had the advantage of chasing a very low target. Without the pressure of a significant score to overcome, the Proteas comfortably reached the target in 8.5 overs, losing just one wicket. This victory secured their place in their first-ever T20 World Cup final.

Jonathan Trott’s post-match critique

In his post-match press conference, Trott did not mince words about the quality of the pitch. He acknowledged that he did not want his comments to be perceived as ‘sour grapes’ but emphasized the importance of a fair playing surface.

“I don’t want to get myself into trouble. But I also don’t want to sound a bit like ‘sour grapes’ but that’s not the pitch that you want to have a semi-final of a World Cup on. Plain and simple. It should be a fair contest,” Trott said.

Trott argued that T20 cricket should offer an even contest between bat and ball, rather than forcing batters into survival mode from the start. He called for better pitch standards to ensure a balanced and competitive game, reflecting on how his bowlers might have exploited the conditions had they bowled first.

“If the opposition bowled well and gets you into a position after bowling well and through skill, then it’s fine to them. Then it’s about adapting. If we had bowled the way South Africa had, you could have seen a different second half,” the 43-year-old added.

“I’m not saying it should be completely flat with no spin and seam movement, you shouldn’t have batters worrying about moving forward and having the ball fly over their head. You should be confident in getting through the line or use their skills. And T20 is all about attacking and scoring runs and taking wickets. Not looking to survive,” Trott concluded.

Also READ: Fans in shock as South Africa packs Afghanistan for the lowest-ever total in T20 World Cup semi-final

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