South Africa head coach Mark Boucher praised India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar for his “special” performance in the drawn T20 series that concluded here on Sunday.
Bhuvneshwar picked up six wickets in four completed games and gave away only 85 runs in 14 overs at an economy rate of 6.07.
“Bhuvi was special in this whole series as we came up against some quality bowling. He put us under pressure in Powerplays and barring one game (Delhi), where we got off to a good start, they have dominated us with both ball and bat in Powerplays,” Boucher said as he reflected on the lessons for his team that it could take from the series.
Losing Markram due to COVID-19 at the start of the series had a huge impact on the team’s prospects in the series, felt Boucher. “It was tough losing Aiden Markram even before we started the first game. We wanted to play six batters with Aiden being our sixth option and we couldn’t do that,” he said.
The long IPL did make the players tired and that also had an effect on the final outcome.
“We didn’t play our best cricket and it was quite tough on our IPL players to stay throughout the whole IPL and then come to India back-to-back as well. Guys are little bit tired as well. So they will all enjoy the break and (having learnt a) lot of lessons in World Cup year. And see, if we can plug a few gaps going into Australia (for the T20 World Cup) albeit in different conditions.”
While Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah were rested for the series, Boucher acknowledged the depth of the Indian team. “I know there weren’t a lot of top [India] players over here but the depth that Indian cricket has at the moment largely due to the IPL, they can take lot of confidence as well. You just can’t walk up in India and expect to win a series as well. So, we played a couple of good games and two bad games and there are a couple of reasons for that, but you can’t get too much into it,” he said.
Boucher said South Africa will adopt a different game-plan in Australian conditions.
“Plans will change in Australia and we are aware of that. We tried a few options in these conditions and saw if they worked or not. And I think, we asked a few questions and we got some good answers.”
Boucher admitted South Africa needed to improve its batting during the Powerplay.
He said: “We struggled to get going in few of the games and we speak about it after every game and maybe see how we can change our mindset and intent, specially after third game, when we went after with the intent we needed. And our bowling at certain stages was very good and at certain stages, we looked rusty and sort of understand that couple of guys coming into the series after IPL and may be a bit tired.”