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Smith blames format after exit

South Africa skipper Graeme Smith insisted the unfair format of the Twenty20 World Cup rather than their reputation as "chokers" was behind their stunning exit.

The hosts went out on net run-rate after losing to India by 37 runs.

"Though we do find ways to get out of these tournaments there's a lot of disappointment knowing you've lost one game in the tournament and you're out.

"It does seem weird but we weren't as clinical with the ball and never really got a hold of the game," Smith said.

India were struggling on 61-4 before Rohit Sharma hit 50 and skipper Mahendra Dhoni 45 to turn the innings around with a stand of 85.

South Africa slumped to 31-5 and, despite a partnership of 69 between Mark Boucher and Albie Morkel, were well short of the 126 they needed to scrape through to the last four with the Indians.

"We knew batting second under lights with that bit of green tinge in the wicket was going to be difficult," the skipper admitted.

"It was disappointing to go five down as quickly as we did. Maybe a bit of experience was missing at times."

Despite his own team's failings the Proteas captain was quick to praise India and says they have the ingredients to surprise Australia in the semi-finals on Saturday.

"They bowled and fielded superbly, kept us under pressure all the way and finished the last six overs well with the bat," he added.

"Even at three down they still managed to be confident, play some shots and get themselves to a total.

"In this format of the game things can change so quickly and if they carry on playing the way they are they have a good chance.

"We knew they would come out with a lot of energy, they handled the more intense bigger moments better than us and finished well."

Dhoni was delighted with his team's efforts in difficult conditions.

"We knew this would be among the toughest matches we'd play in the whole tournament," said the wicket-keeper/batsman.

"It was their home ground and the conditions were favourable for them, so we were under pressure and we didn't get the start we were looking for.

"If we'd got a decent start we were expecting to score 160 or 170, but 153 was a decent score which we thought we could defend, and that's what the bowlers proved.

"You have to throw yourself around for each and every catch - Dinesh Karthik's catch (to remove Smith) was amazing.

"It was a brilliant performance by Rohit Sharma, he's been sat out for ages and didn't play (on the tour of) England, but I was really happy with the way we played. There was a bit of grass on the wicket so we knew it would do a bit."

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