South Africa bowed out of the Twenty20 World up on Saturday but coach Mark Boucher said the young team is headed in the “right direction” and will soon be rewarded with a trophy.
The Proteas won their final Super 12 league match in Sharjah to hand England their first loss in the tournament but the effort was not enough top earn a place in the semi-finals.
They finished level with group toppers England and second-placed Australia on eight points but the Aussies went to the final four thanks to a better run-rate.
Rassie van der Dussen hit an unbeaten 94 to guide South Africa to 189-2 but they needed to limit England to fewer than 131 runs to edge out Australia.
England finished on 179-9 after a last-over hat-trick by pace bowler Kagiso Rabada.
“This team knows that we are on a journey, upward curve, that we are learning along the way. You know, we are by no means are a finished product,” said Boucher.
“These games will stand us in very good stead because as I said, every game we played was under pressure.”
He added: “It’s a young side. We are still developing and hopefully we can go from strength-to-strength, take this confidence through, as well.
“So we are heading in the right direction. We just need a bit of good luck and a bit of fortune to go our way and hopefully we can put something in the trophy cabinet soon.”
Temba Bavuma, who became South Africa’s first black African captain ahead of the T20 World Cup, led the team to four wins in five Super 12 matches.
They bounced back from their opening loss to Australia to beat holders West Indies in a game that witnessed Quinton de Kock pull out minutes before the toss for refusing to take the knee.
He later apologised to return for the next game against Sri Lanka and the team knelt down in unison for the first time to support the anti-racism gesture.
But the team kept winning with players including Aiden Markram, Tabraiz Shamsi, David Miller and Anrich Nortje contributing.
“It’s been tough on this team. I know that we are finding the headlines for the wrong reasons, and hopefully albeit we are out of World Cup, I think there were some great positives to take from this,” said Boucher.
“The way that the guys played, the passion that they showed, the energy as a team. The guys have been really close behind closed doors, and you can see it just the way they are playing.”
Boucher praised Bavuma and said, “I think Temba needs a pat on the back as well. He’s been fantastic in the team environment and has really led from the front as well.”