AFP & Cricket Network
AFP & Cricket Network
Allrounder Chris Morris maintains South Africa's early exit from the Champions Trophy was simply a matter of poor timing.
Having cemented their reputation as serial under-achievers at major events after failing to make the semi-finals of the showpiece one-day international tournament, the Proteas bounced back on Friday with a morale-boosting win in the second T20 International against England.
South Africa's disappointing Champions Trophy campaign saw them suffer group-stage defeats to finalists Pakistan, the eventual winners, and India despite sitting atop the ICC's ODI rankings.
"I still maintain in the Champions Trophy we lost the game at the wrong time," Morris told reports in Taunton, where he took 2-18 to help defeat England by three runs.
"We've been so good over the last 18 months and we just lost the game at the wrong time.
"It's been blown up in our faces that we never perform well in those tournaments."
Quick Single: Stunned Stokes slams 'embarrassing' decision
On what's been a difficult tour, which begun with a three-game ODI series defeat to England before the Champions Trophy, Morris conceded they were happy to "take it and run" after the extraordinary dismissal of Jason Roy on Friday.
The match swung South Africa's way when Durban-born Roy became the first player in a T20I to be given out obstructing the field.
The incident happened when the Durban-born right-hander veered off a straight course and was hit by a throw from Andile Phehlukwayo when short of his ground.
South Africa appealed and, after the decision was referred to the third umpire to check the obstruction had been "wilful" as required under cricket's Law 37, Roy, to his visible dismay, was given out.
The Proteas still had work to do, with England 3-133 in the 16th over chasing a victory target of 175.
Quick Single: Rare dismissal helps Proteas level series
But with the help of player-of-the-match Morris, South Africa held England to 6-171 for a three-run win that saw them level the series ahead of Sunday's finale in Cardiff.
An unapologetic Morris said of Roy's exit: "It's part of the rules.
"It looks a lot worse than it actually is with us appealing like that, but you've got to appeal to get a decision from the umpires.
"We'll take it and run, but the on-field umpire told me at the time that the right decision was made."
South Africa's victory was achieved despite the absence of coach Russell Domingo, who made an emergency return home after his mother was involved in a car crash.
"It's been a tough tour," admitted Morris.
"Southampton wasn't good for us obviously. England outplayed us there (in the first T20).
"We weren't good enough on the day, they absolutely destroyed us.
"We knew we needed to put up a good fight. It's one hell of a honour to play for South Africa and I think the boys showed it. We proved out there we'll scrap to win a game of cricket."
Quick Single: WWC17 Today: India, NZ begin in style
Meanwhile England captain Eoin Morgan was confident there would be no lingering bitterness between the teams at Cardiff as a result of Roy's unusual dismissal.
"Absolutely not, not at all," Morgan told reporters. "We'll take it for what it is.
"Everyone in the changing room thought it could go either way so it's not massively controversial."
England's cause was not helped by new batsmen walking out in real gloom on a ground with no floodlights.
"It wasn't easy in that light," said Morgan, who added he would have changed his decision to field first had he known how bad it would get.
Asked if those were the darkest conditions he had played in, Morgan replied: "By a country mile."
But Morgan insisted England had only themselves to blame, saying: "We didn't deserve to win because we didn't capitalise on the start we had."