Hooper admits West Indies threw it away
Stabroek News
September 14, 2002

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Carl Hooper admitted his side should have defeated South Africa but refused to blame fast bowler Merv Dillon who conceded 16 runs from the last frantic over.

South Africa looked to have missed their chance of victory after Boeta Dippenaar (53) and man of the match Jonty Rhodes (61) were both dismissed in the space of three balls.

But a breezy cameo from Mark Boucher (23), a last over six from captain Shaun Pollock, plus a crucial wide from Dillon allowed them to squeeze home by two wickets off the last ball of the game.

"A game is never over until the end but with needing 13 to win off the final over we should have won," Hooper reflected afterwards. "But cricket is a funny game and South Africa scraped in."

"I thought Merv (Dillon) came back well in the final over after being hit for the six, but I was very disappointed that he conceded a wide - I prefer him to bowl a legitimate ball that was hot for four," he said. "But there was a lot of pressure out there and he has to learn from the experience."

Looking back on the key incidents of the game, he said: "If we had taken our chances things could have gone our way. There was Jonty (Rhodes) caught of a no ball, a very close lbw shout off another no ball and then Pedro Collins failing to break the stumps at towards the end."

And when they batted: "At one stage we were 100 odd for one and could have gone to get 20/30 more runs. We didn't show enough urgency."

Pollock was delighted that his side had scraped through despite having not played at their best throughout the tightly contested game.

"The big positive was that we didn't play to our potential but still managed to win," he said. "In the end we were pretty lucky to win but at one stage we were ahead."

"Boeta and Jonty batted superbly but the loss of two quick wickets made it really difficult for the incoming batsmen," he said.

And he was glad that the team had been tested early on in the tournament. "That was good preparation for the rest of the tournament," he said.

He identified several areas for improvement: "On the bowling side our length wasn't so good and when batting we are conscious of the need for good starts."

But he ruled out wholesale changes: "We're not really worried. There is no need to make changes - things will click soon."

Although a semi-final berth is virtually assured, he refused to look further than their next game: "We are focused on the Kenya game - they nearly sneaked a last over win against Australia at Nairobi."

Man of the match Rhodes was glad the side had won: "A win is a win and we wanted to get back into the winning habit - it was especially good to do so from that position."

But he was annoyed to have finished it off: "I was a bit frustrated. I felt that I had let the side down in Morocco and was disappointed to get out here when I did." (c) CricInfo