Auckland, March 24: South Africa captain AB de Villiers today said it was painful to make an exit from the World Cup after an heart-breaking loss to New Zealand in the semi-finals at Eden Park. (De Villiers in tears)
De Villiers, who was in tears following the four-wicket loss in the final over today to the co-hosts, said he badly wanted to take the trophy home but felt proud of his team. (SA-born Elliott does a Dhoni)
Here is the full text of De Villiers' press conference after World Cup exit
Question: Can you describe the emotions right now such as you went up on the losing side in such a manner?
AB de Villiers: Yeah, it's a tough one, you know. I felt that we left it out on the field tonight, and that's all I can ask of the guys. We had our chances especially in the second half of the game and we didn't take it. So, yeah, it's difficult to say what kind of emotions I'm feeling. It's obviously painful. Lots of people back home supporting us.
It hurts to think of all of them, you know, and we so badly wanted to take that trophy back home, but I guess life moves on. The sun will come up again tomorrow like our coach said numerous times in this tournament. And we had a lot of fun throughout this tournament, and I'm proud of the guys the way we fought in every single game right till the death and once again tonight. And give credit to New Zealand. They played a wonderful game of cricket and held their nerve to the end, so well done to them.
Q: Is it any consolation or will it be in the future to look back and think that you've participated in one of the most famous, one of the most memorable of all cricket matches?
De Villiers: Doesn't make me feel better at all, not at all, no. We play this game to win games of cricket, to glory home and make a difference in the nations, and we didn't do that. We didn't achieve that, and it hurts quite a bit. Gutted. We had our chances and we didn't take them.
Q. Any regrets about Vernon Philander's selection because he seemed off the pace today?
De Villiers: Absolutely no regrets in this entire tournament, not one.
Q: I'm sorry to ask you this, but this missed run out, do you probably feel like you've let go of the World Cup, like the missed run out of Corey Anderson?
De Villiers: That's one of the moments. We had a few chances to win the game tonight. It's not the only chance. Tried my best to catch and I didn't. Life moves on. I didn't take that, and unfortunately, we had our chance again after that. But, yes, if you want to see it that way, that I cost us, then I'll gladly take it.
Q. What was the message you were giving Dale Steyn ahead of that last over?
De Villiers: We were discussing every single ball, yorker, slow ball, hard length. We were trying everything and it left us walking across the wicket trying to use the pace. Normally when a player does that, he's trying for you to go for a yorker. He wants you to go for a yorker so he can use the pace down to the boundary. We decided to go length, hoping that he'll play and miss it, and he played one of the best shots of his life. Probably thee best.
Q. Does it hurt a little bit more that the loss came to South African (Grant Elliott, born in Johannesburg)?
De Villiers: No, not at all. We played against New Zealand today. He (Elliott) played a wonderful knock. He's a sportsman. He gives his best for his team. Like I said, you've got to give credit to all of them. They played a good game of cricket.
Q. The rain interruption, how much of an effect was that?
De Villiers: It's too long ago. We adapted off of that. We had our chance. We had opportunities to adjust and we did and I felt it was enough. The chances we had in the second inning showed that we - it was enough. It could have been enough. So I don't think it played a big role spot in the game. We always talk about expecting the unexpected, and the unexpected happened today, and we adjusted as well as we could, and it wasn't good enough at the end.
Q. Is that perhaps the worst you've felt on a cricket field, because a lot of you seemed really emotional?
De Villiers: Yes.
Q. Just to follow up from that, how will you look after each other over the next couple of weeks? I suspect you'll have a bit of time off and that kind of thing, but how would you make sure that the guys come away from this feeling okay?
De Villiers: I have absolutely no idea what to do from here on in. I don't even know when we're going home. It's going to take some time. As a captain, I'll be there for the guys as much as I can, and there is nothing you can do about it now.