Mark Boucher at a CSA media briefing at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Picture: BERTRAM MALGAS/GALLO IMAGES
Mark Boucher at a CSA media briefing at Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town. Picture: BERTRAM MALGAS/GALLO IMAGES

Under-pressure Proteas coach Mark Boucher has taken positives from the 2-1 ODI series defeat to Sri Lanka in Colombo‚ even though the result cost SA 20 points in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.

There is still a long way to go before the 2023 World Cup qualification process is completed‚ but the Proteas are under more pressure as they are now ninth in the standings.

In the coming months‚ the Proteas have negotiable series against the Netherlands and Bangladesh but it gets tougher against India‚ Australia and England when the qualification programme intensifies.

Giving a review of the series‚ Boucher admitted to their disappointment at losing to Sri Lanka but said they played in difficult subcontinent conditions. They were also without key players Lungi Ngidi‚ Quinton de Kock and David Miller.

“You have to look at where we are playing ... in some tough conditions‚” said the coach, whose team have not won an ODI series since beating Australia at home last March.

“I am looking at the positives. We came here missing a couple of senior batters‚ but I thought in the first game we put up a good fight. If I look at the series as a whole‚ in the first game we were given the opportunity to win the series because we were in control of the run chase and slipped up in a period of five overs.

“We were unfortunate to lose Temba [Bavuma]‚ but to win a series on the subcontinent you have to cash in when the opportunity arises‚ and that is probably our biggest regret that we didn’t finish off that first game.

“In the second game‚ we played really well to win the match and in the last game we lost a couple of wickets up front and we were always going to be on the back foot. It is not nice losing‚ but there are a lot of positives to take out of the series.”

During the past two ODIs‚ there was a sharp focus on the Proteas’  balance, including suggestions the team was a batter short.

“The spinner that we needed to play sort of threw us a bit‚” said Boucher. “We were always going to go into the game with two spinners and in the second game we decided to go with three. Whether we got that decision right or not because of the rain is another story‚ but I think Anrich Nortjé could have been a handful on that wicket.

“We just thought that with the three spinners coming in‚ we wanted to have the option of three seamers as well‚ that is why we took a batter out and put Wiaan Mulder in. Also it was because there are guys who are in some good form as well‚ so looking at the last game it would have been nice to have another batter in hindsight.

“But I still think we could have been under a lot of pressure after losing four batters in the first 10 overs.”

The teams will now focus on the three-match T20 series, which starts on Friday. It is SA’s last outing before the T20 World Cup in October and November.

“We must focus on changing quickly to the T20s and obviously looking forward to the T20 World Cup as well.”

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