South Africa did everything they could to beat the weather. Chasing a revised target of 64, they hurtled to 51 for 0 in just three overs. And from that standpoint Boucher did admit they were “frustrated,” to get “so close,” only to see it “get taken away”.
“You walk away from this game thinking we were hard done by, whether the game should have taken place or not,” he said.
“We are here to play a World Cup and obviously we wanted to play. It seemed like both captains wanted to play from the start,” he said.
South Africa vs Zimbabwe was delayed by a rain interruption in the earlier game between Bangladesh and Netherlands and took place 30 minutes after it was originally scheduled. Play would have started 15 minutes from then but persistent drizzle forced a two-and-a-half hour delay and reduced the contest to nine overs a side. Zimbabwe’s innings was uninterrupted, despite some spitting that turned into a light shower, and they set South Africa a target of 80.
Each team has to play a minimum of five overs for it to constitute a T20 game. This one ended 12 balls short of that cut-off.
Instead of dwelling on the what-ifs of the situation, Boucher was pragmatic. “There’s not much more we could do. We maximised what we could, so there’s no regrets in our dressing room,” he said. “We did what we could and unfortunately we just didn’t get another 10 balls to get the job done.”
Bavuma continues to receive the coach’s backing, even as he keeps the in-form Reeza Hendricks out of the side, with Boucher using the example of benching their highest-ranked bowler in the format – Tabraiz Shamsi – as a comparison.
“Temba was injured, he did own that spot and he is the captain. He hasn’t been in great form but he got sick in India and these conditions suit his game a lot better as well. He has been batting really well in the nets, is also what I can say,” Boucher said. “It’s tough, not only on him (Hendricks). We decided to go with the extra seamer today, which was a bit harsh on Shammo, but I think it was the right decision. We’ve got some good options going forward.”
South Africa will continue to adopt a horses-for-courses selection strategy as they move through the tournament and into must-win situations. “It’s a tough group and there’s probably one game that is going to be a game we are really going to have to win.”
Barring any major upsets in this group, South Africa’s match against Pakistan on Thursday November 3 could be the virtual quarter-final but there’s a lot that has to happen before then. South Africa play Bangladesh this Thursday and India on Sunday in results that could prove crucial later in the piece.
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