T20 World Cup 2021: ​​​​​​​South Africa coach Mark Boucher calls group stage exit ‘a bitter pill to swallow’

South Africa | Getty

South Africa team ended their T20 World Cup 2021 run with a 10-run win over England and won 4 out of their 5 matches in the Group 1 Super 12s stage, but it wasn’t enough for a semi-finals qualification as England and Australia made it into the final four to join Pakistan.

The Proteas head coach Mark Boucher says missing out on the semifinals of the T20 World Cup due to an inferior net run rate was a bitter pill to swallow. Australia, who had the same points as South Africa, qualified on a better net run rate after beating West Indies earlier in the day.

It’s not successful because you’re knocked out of the World Cup. It’s a bitter pill to swallow. I think we played some very good cricket throughout the campaign, cricket was under a lot of pressure as well after having lost our first game. We put in a lot of hard work in training, our chats were good. I think we beat the in-form side in white-ball cricket for a while now,” Boucher said at the post-match conference.

Having lost the toss and asked to bat, South Africa needed to restrict England below 130 to qualify for the semis but weren’t able to do so.

It’s a tough one for the guys in the changing room. We knew what we had to do today, the equation was very difficult for us to have to get through. I just said to the guys just try control what we can control. Unfortunately, we can’t control what other results are out there. We did the job today but it’s quite bitter,” Boucher said.

SA coach Mark Boucher | Getty

Boucher looked back at a couple of missed opportunities against Australia and Bangladesh in their previous matches. Against Australia, Proteas almost defended the 118-run total and was the only match they lost.

Well, the first game. The first game was tight. We just didn’t bat well enough. It was tough. We lost the toss. We batted first and we weren’t 100 percent sure what a good total was because we were the first game to go out there and be played. We may be looked at getting 160 but probably needed about 130, 140 to be competitive. We could have maybe done better there,” Boucher said.

Then, against Bangladesh, South Africa had a golden chance to improve their NRR but taking 13.3 overs to chase down 85 runs ruined that equation for them. Had they chased it inside 8 overs, things would have been different.

Chasing a small total against Bangladesh, people can maybe look at that and said we should have gone a bit harder there, but that wasn’t the intention, and we lost three wickets on a wicket that is going all over the shop. Unfortunately ifs and buts, they didn’t count now,” the coach said.

Boucher, however, was happy with the side’s good show at the tournament, which he believes will stand them in good stead. He also said this young Proteas side is a work in progress and is headed in the right direction.

Yes, it’s a young side. We are still developing and hopefully, we can go from strength-to-strength from here, take this confidence through, as well. It’s not something we just arrived at a World Cup and all of a sudden start playing good cricket. We have won a lot of games in recent time.

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 sort of put something in the trophy cabinet soon,” he signed off.