South Africa’s Mark Boucher
Matthew Lewis-ICC/Getty Images
Proteas coach Mark Boucher says it is a “bitter pill to swallow” after SA defeated England, but were knocked out of the T20 World Cup.Boucher admitted that restricting England to 131 was always going to be a difficult task, the target that would’ve ensured a superior net run rate to Australia .He added the Proteas are “growing from strength to strength” and will look to continue their form as they host the Netherlands and India this summer.Bittersweet.
That’s how Proteas coach Mark Boucher described the team being knocked out of the T20 World Cup on Saturday despite registering their fourth win at tournament with a 10-run triumph over England in Sharjah.
South Africa were superb with the bat as Rassie van der Dussen and Aiden Markram’s unbeaten half-centuries steered them to a commanding total of 189/2.
But an inferior net run rate meant they needed to restrict England to 131, a target that was always going to be unrealistic to defend and Australia duly reached the semi-finals ahead of them.
Boucher was disappointed with South Africa’s unfortunate exit, stating the NRR task was always going to be “difficult”.
“It’s a bitter pill to swallow. We played some really good cricket throughout this campaign, cricket under a lot of pressure, especially after losing our first game,” Boucher told reporters on Saturday evening.
“We beat the in-form white-ball side and it’s a tough one for the guys in the changeroom. The equation was really difficult for us to get through. I said to the guys to try and control what we can and unfortunately, we couldn’t control the other results.
“We did the job today, but it’s quite bitter.”
In the build-up to the World Cup, the Proteas were on seven consecutive wins with T20 series whitewashes against West Indies, Ireland and Sri Lanka.
Then an early campaign batting collapse stunted the campaign as South Africa suffered a five-wicket loss to Australia.
Temba Bavuma’s side then completed wins against West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and England, which weren’t enough to seal the side’s playoff hopes.
Their NRR of +0.739 to Australia’s +1.216 illustrated the eventual gulf.
Boucher nonetheless hailed his side’s incredible comeback and hopes the Proteas can take this form into a busy summer, which includes hosting India in all formats.
“It’s been tough for the team, I know we’ve been finding the headlines for the wrong reasons and although we’re out of the World Cup, there have been a lot of positives to take away,” said Boucher.
“The way the guys played, the passion and the energy as a team. I think Temba needs a pat on the back and led this team from the front. This team is strong and together and hopefully, people can come watch the guys when we come back home.”
Boucher said the Proteas are heading in the right direction as his side will continue to work their way up and become the best team in the world.
“We’re on a journey and it’s an upward curve, we’re by no means a finished product. These games will stand us in good stead, every game we were under pressure and that’s one thing we haven’t done in the past and we’ve done well in this competition,” he said.
“This is a young side and we’re still developing and hopefully, we go from strength to strength.
“The guys have been playing good cricket for some time right now and they’re upskilled and learned to play under different situations and have lots of confidence.
“Hopefully, we can get behind this group of players, who are working hard to get us back to where we should be at world cricket.
“It doesn’t happen overnight, but there’s a lot of effort going to where we should be and can be,” he continued.
“We are heading in the right direction and we just need a bit of luck and fortune to go our way and hopefully, we’ll put a trophy in the cabinet.”
The Proteas will return home and shortly prepare for a three-match ODI series against the Netherlands at Centurion later this month.
The first ODI for Friday, 26 November at SuperSport Park.