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Ken Borland


Technique & mental strength meant to be safe ports in the storm, but weaknesses for Proteas

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

Technique and mental strength are meant to be two safe ports in the storm for batsmen reaching the end of a testing tour of India, but Proteas coach Mark Boucher admitted on Tuesday that those were two areas of weakness as South Africa were bundled out for a miserable 99 all out and thrashed by seven wickets with 30.5 overs to spare in the decisive third ODI in Delhi.

On the eve of their departure for Australia and the T20 World Cup, it is perhaps not too surprising that the batting line-up was not fully focused on the task at hand on Tuesday, which was unsurprisingly fatal against an Indian team full of second-stringers desperate to get into the first-choice XI.

“Coming off a long tour of England and some guys were at the Caribbean Premier League as well, with that sort of schedule you can’t expect the players to be up for every single game,” Boucher said after the series loss.

“That’s when you rely on your technique and mentality to pull you through, but unfortunately we were a bit weak in both of those today. There were soft dismissals up front and technical faults.

“Keeping the players mentally and physically fresh is crucial, we need to get that mental side up, along with the technical. But tonight we did not rock up and India bowled very well.

“They showed good aggression and intent. We need to make sure the guys are really up for the World Cup games, that will bring the best results. We are really gearing ourselves up for that big competition. It will be okay,” Boucher said.

The coach acknowledged that the team were looking forward to playing in Australian conditions that are much more like their own.

“Conditions will be very different in Australia and I think they will suit our batsmen, but especially our fast bowlers more. You need to keep your aggression up over there, and we have good pace and bounce.

“Although I thought we did not show that enough in these ODIs, India showed far more aggression. But the way Anrich Nortje ran in tonight was a positive sign for me, especially going into conditions where he will be more effective,” Boucher said.

Heinrich Klaasen showed that he is your banker when it comes to playing spin, top-scoring for the Proteas with his 34.

Opener Janneman Malan made 15 off 27 balls, but that included three fours, which means he scored just three runs off his other 24 deliveries. That failure to rotate the strike puts your batting line-up under pressure.

But credit must go to the Indian bowlers, especially Mohammed Siraj, who removed both Malan and Reeza Hendricks (3), and the spinners as South Africa were 26/3 in the powerplay.

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