DELHI: Proteas coach Mark Boucher was not overly concerned after their tour to India ended in disappointment on Tuesday when they lost the decisive third One-Day International (ODI) in Delhi.
The seven-wicket defeat at the Arun Jaitley Stadium meant that South Africa surrendered a 1-0 series lead to lose the three-match sequence 2-1. They were also beaten by the same margin in the T20 International (T20I) series against the hosts a few days earlier.
Boucher, who was leading the Proteas for the final time in a bilateral series before stepping down, explained that the there were many reasons for the results.
“I think it took us some time to get use to the conditions,” he said. “We didn't arrive early enough but there were reasons for that as well. The first game was pretty difficult to be judged by but I think we got better as we went on there. I think there were little moments in games, especially in the one-day format that we let ourselves down.
“In the last game we just didn't rock up. We had a few soft dismissals up front which put us under pressure, I think India bowled really well as well, they bowled with good aggression and intent, which lead to our downfall.
“Overall we do understand though, and I said it before we left, we need to try and play this series and obviously try and win. We haven't done that but I think we've taken some good lessons and we've had some good chats behind closed doors to speak about things we can get a lot better at and I think that will stand us in good stead going forward now to Australia where conditions are completely different.
“So I just think we're okay at the moment, certainly it's disappointing to lose but we have a massive competition around the corner and that's what we're really gearing up to.”
The Proteas leave for Australia on Thursday night. Upon arrival they will set up base in Brisbane before their opening match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup against a yet-to-be-determined qualifier in Group 2 on October 24.
Boucher felt that it had been a challenging few months for his team and getting the guys to Australia in the right frame of mind was important.
“We're coming off a long tour to England then on to India and a couple of the guys were in the Caribbean (Premier) League as well,” he continued. “We don't want to get into a situation where you're rocking up for every game and it sort of seems like a league game.
“So I think keeping the guys mentally and physically fresh is going to be vital for us management and myself to monitor. Then I think we'll get the best results for our guys being really up for the World Cup games.
“Also we're going to Australia now where I think it will suit our fast bowlers a lot better. We've got some good pace, we got some good bounce in our attack so we need to keep the pressure there. The last one-day game there wasn't enough aggression. What surprised me was India’s bowling attack in the one-dayers bowled with far more aggression than ours.
“But we did chat about it and the way that Anrich (Nortje) bowled in the last game is a positive sign for me especially going into conditions where he can be quite affective.”
South Africa’s failure to win the ODI series does mean that they now face an even tougher challenge in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League, the qualifying tournament for the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup. They are presently 11th on the table with 59 points, which is 29 points behind West Indies, who occupy the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot.
They have five matches still to play next year – two against the Netherlands and three against England – and should they fail to make the top eight, the South Africans will have to play in a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe next June and July.
Boucher added: “It's not ideal. The reason we are in this situation is because we haven't always had continuity with our one-day team. There's been various reasons for that, players leaving to go to IPL, Covid and that type of stuff has played its part. So there had been a bit of inconsistency with regards to our one-day team and we're sort of seeing that now.
“But we know what is required and the guys will know what is required come January against England and also playing against the Netherlands. We've got to win those games and if we don't, we just have to accept the fact that we'll have to go to the qualifiers for the next World Cup, so we understand the situation we're in and we'll just have to man up and face that when it comes our way.”
South Africa ODI squad against India
Temba Bavuma (captain, DP World Lions), Quinton de Kock (Momentum Multiply Titans), Bjorn Fortuin (DP World Lions), Reeza Hendricks (DP World Lions), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Janneman Malan (Gbets Rocks), Aiden Markram (Momentum Multiply Titans), David Miller (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Gbets Warriors), Wayne Parnell (Six Gun Grill Western Province), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Dwaine Pretorius (North West Dragons), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rilee Rossouw (ITEC Knights), Tabraiz Shamsi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Tristan Stubbs (Gbets Warriors).
Thursday, 6 October at 13:30
India lost to South Africa by nine runs – Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium, Lucknow
Sunday, 9 October at 13:30
India beat South Africa by seven wickets – JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi
Tuesday, 11 October at 13:30
India beat South Africa by seven wickets – Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi
[Submitted by Kevin Rademeyer]